When we first started TNR for the KFC Colony in their junkyard home, we didn’t know what to expect. Little did we expect that almost ALL of the cats were going to end up in indoor homes because almost all of the adult cats were friendly, and the kittens were young enough to be socialized.
It was a good thing for the cats, because they lost their home in the middle of this project.
Joann saw cats and kittens through the fence on her first visit to the junkyard. There were tons of construction materials and garbage for them to hide in.
People were also leaving food.
But we couldn’t figure out a way to get in. Everything was locked. She tried trapping in the neighbor’s yard and started leaving food as well.
One night a woman showed up to feed. We learned that her name is Corinne, and she has been feeding at this junkyard since last November. She drove almost every day from her home in Rogers Park to feed the cats. Another friend told her about it. Corinne fed all the time, and so did other people that randomly showed up with food, so when she tried to trap cats obviously it was pretty hard. They were not hungry enough to go in the traps. But she managed to trap about five or six cats, and almost all of them were friendly. She found homes for all of them within her network of friends, except for one cat that was feral, so he was TNReturned.
Corinne showed us how she got into the junkyard. There was a small gap in the chain link fence. She would trap a cat and then hoist it over the barbed wire. I have no idea how she did this by herself.
Corinne knew about the kittens, and knew who the mama cat was. She showed us photos of the cats she was still trying to trap. She said she had potential homes for all of them. She really was trying to do the best for the cats, but she was just overwhelmed at this point.
That first day Joann and Corinne set traps together in the junkyard all five kittens were trapped. They went into foster care with my friend Robin and will be admitted to PAWS Chicago tomorrow. Throughout their foster care their cost of vet care was $187.78 for eye meds and antibiotics.
The mama cat, Poppy, was also trapped that day. She was skin and bones and ravenous before and after her TNR. Her TNR clinic package cost $26, and testing cost $15. She tested negative for FIV and FeLV. She was also friendly, and Corinne had very specific plans for her. She was adopted into an indoor home that had adopted her sister that Corinne trapped months before. Here she is being acclimated.
In the midst of this trapping, we met one of the contractors at the junkyard. He said we could do whatever we want. The junkyard was supposed to be cleared for a condo building, but it would be months before that happened.
Rusty was trapped next. His TNR clinic package and testing total was also $41, and he tested negative.
Corinne also had a specific home for him in mind as he was friendly and she had bonded to him outside and had lots of photos.
We trapped Diamond Jim next. Joann called me to help hoist him over the gap in the fence.
Diamond Jim’s TNR package was covered by this clinic so we just paid $20 for testing. Unfortunately he tested FIV+.
His paperwork also said he had a “superficial skin wound on his right rear leg (hock region).” The clinic gave him back to us and said he was acting “lazy” in the trap. DJ was definitely pretty lethargic, and also acting friendly, so we transferred him into the feral cat recovery lounge to test his temperament. After a few days we decided to bring him to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital to take a look.
It turns out that his leg wound was infected and DJ had a temperature. He was weighed in at 11.2 pounds, which made a lot more sense than the weight listed as 7.5 pounds at the clinic. He was pretty heavy when we hoisted him over the fence! We treated him for everything at Roscoe Village. His total vet bill was $280.
After a week in the recovery lounge, Corinne was also able to place DJ into an indoor home!
That same week Joann showed up to trap and the junkyard was being cleared out. This was just days after we started, so obviously we did not have months to trap as had been explained to us. Trucks barreled into the yard and took away all of the materials. The kittens definitely would have been killed in the chaos. The workers agreed to watch the traps that Joann and Corinne had left, but when they came back that same night, the traps were also gone. We have no idea who took them.
This is what the junkyard looks like now.
There were still a few cats that needed to be trapped here, but they dissipated now that the junkyard was cleared out.
We still don’t know what hapoened to the black cat in this photo,
or this siamese cat that was also a regular.
People stopped feeding. This all happened within the last few weeks. Total vetting costs from this colony was $569.78 and we lost $170 worth of equipment. Your donations make this possible! Thank you!
In the meantime, we found another feeding station a few blocks away where some of the missing cats, including the siamese, from this colony have been sighted. I call that colony the Kitchen Colony and I’ll be writing about that next.