Friday, January 9, 2009

Trapping Through the Snow

Trapping can be easy when you have a dedicated caretaker feeding multiple times a day. In this case, the cats just line up on the banister for their food. All we needed to do was withhold their meals for 24 hours, and it took just 20 minutes to trap four cats. All four were recovered an extra day or two due to cold temperatures and have safely returned to the group. These cats obviously stick together and now they also have three feral shelters to cozy up in under a porch. We'll be back to round up the rest.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heated Water Bowls

It's important to provide the outdoor cats with water year-round. The winter cold makes that tricky as temperatures drop below freezing. There are lots of good tips out there to keep the water from freezing, such as using bowls that are wide and deep, or insulated. Adding a pinch of sugar to the water slows the freezing as well, or you can add more water to wet food. We set up an electric heated water bowl and it's been working really well - the water is not frozen yet still cool to the touch. The cat tracks around it show that the cats seem to enjoy having such an easy source of hydration for them to use.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feral Cat Shelters

Tree House's Uptown location has its own feral cat colony. With the cold weather already here, we've gotten a lot more calls on how to provide shelters for outdoor cats. We took photos to show you how we try to keep our outdoor kitties warm. The first photo shows Culpepper, our resident feral cat, impatiently waiting for the photo session to be over so she can go back inside and stay warm among the scratching posts shown in the second photo. The third photo shows the feeding stations and a smaller shelter at the top of the stairs. The fourth photo is of the straw insulating the little room under the stairs, with small shelters that the cats can curl up in. The door is normally closed and we cut small holes for the cats to have access to the area.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Josephine & the Pussycats

The cats we are socializing have come along at different paces. They certainly are enjoying the warmth and steady supply of food. This week was Josephine's week to take charge (she's the long-haired black kitty). She went into one of the boxes first, which made Pablo and Scarlet so curious that they immediately followed and completed this ensemble group.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheers for Eartipping

This morning I got an email from a local rescuer who was visiting a foster dog in Ukrainian Village. She fed two cats she just happened to see when she was leaving, who were already eartipped! Then, I went outside to feed my feral colony in Humboldt Park, and found a newcomer, who was also already eartipped. He's the tabby in the back, sitting behind Sugar, who spends almost all day in my yard now. The new tabby was actually a pretty healthy size with a shiny coat, let me pet him, and did not even finish the wet food I gave him. If he continues to come around I'll have to see how friendly he really is. I would love to find out about more people who are trapping out here, and I'm so happy to see progress being made.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

When TNR turns into TNA

Feral cat colony caretakers will often try to pull kittens from a colony to be socialized and adopted into forever homes. The window of time to easily socialize a kitten is brief, and sometimes the job is not fully done in time. Then socialization becomes a bit more time-consuming, but the results can be enormously gratifying and worth the effort in the long run. Our Feral Friends TNR Program is currently fostering a few of those cases. Isadora, Josephine, Scarlet and Pablo were brought into a foster home to be fully socialized after being TNR'ed as kittens by a caretaker, who along with her neighbor, would let them in and out of their apartments as their living situation outside was not safe. They are now almost 8 months old. As you can see from the photos below, they are rapidly getting used to the food, comfort and toys that a forever home would bring them. Their progress would be even faster if they could be separated more from each other, and exposed to more people. If you are interested in helping to socialize these cats and others like them, whether it would be to bring them temporarily into your home, or to visit them at another foster home, please contact us through this blog, email us at, or call us at 773-784-5488, ext. 234.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful for TNR

We hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday weekend! We are so thankful for all of the colony caretakers out there taking the time to feed and care for the outdoor cats. Here is a photo of Sugar Ray, a cat from one of our colonies, thankful for his holiday feast of leftover turkey and wet cat food next to his winter shelter filled with straw. Sugar Ray, initially named because of his fighting moves towards other colony cats, is slowly turning into Sugar as he has calmed down considerably since his TNR surgery in late summer. He has stopped fighting, and started to enjoy petting instead. He may turn out to be a TNA (trap, neuter, adopt) candidate, but only time will tell.