Thursday, November 20, 2014

Working Cats in Chicago Breweries!

Doing the job they've done for centuries, cats are mousing at breweries across America. Here in Chicago the tradition is continuing at Pipeworks in Logan Square!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Solutions for Indoor Cats who Don't Get Along!

I am veering off on a side note about indoor house cats who don't get along, or have aggression issues, because I had this problem in my house for 2 years! I just came across this link that really spells it out. I have never seen this laid out so simply, clearly and concisely. Get your cats up high! It solved a 2-year aggression problem in my house virtually overnight! Get rid of the baby gate, the separate rooms, don't worry so much about the Feliway, and put the jungle gym in an area all the cats like to be in. I've got one that is 6'+ and all 5 of our fuzzies hang out on it in comfort and confidence. They swish their tails while up there, they just love it. It wasn't my dream living room to have this massive structure in there, but if we want harmonious feline companions, we have to give a little!

There are only 3 cats pictured here, but I've seen 4 of my 5 up there all at one time, including the former aggressor. Height brings territory security, which is the cause of most aggression in cats. Shy ones are happier and out more, aggressive ones feel more relaxed and in charge without needing to charge around like maniacs. Our former aggressor, Cricket, is pictured on the lower right, happy as a clam and not bothering anyone. The painfully shy cat, Chewy, who was her former victim, is sitting calmly less than a foot away from her on the bottom left. They had NEVER been that close. 

I highly recommend the cat trees by ARMARKAT. You can look on their website, or look around on Amazon and eBay, where they are also sold. They are sturdy, well-designed and constructed and stylish. 

We have many assorted perches, hammocks, pedestals and beds throughout the house, and the cats use all of them interchangeably. It also helps cats keep off your furniture, and gives them something more fun and satisfying to scratch on. 

Jackson Galaxy also has a new book just out that should be a must-read about designing cat-friendly environments. I've met Jackson a few times and he is the real deal - he is exactly like how he is on TV; warm, friendly, funny and totally unpretentious. He has a fantastic website, blog and various books. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fantastic New Book About Community Cats!!!

A Chicago author and professional market researcher has written a fantastic book about feral cats: colony caretaking, hosting working cat colonies, trap-neuter-return, and all things community cats. It's part memoir, part interviews and case studies and part meticulous research about American attitudes toward feral cats. There is no other book like it! Get yours here

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Historic Cats at Work! Click here to read about cats at war. The kittens climbing ladders to get into their bunks is adorable

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Meet Millie, the Adventure Cat!

She is a rock-climber and hiker who goes on outdoor adventures with her human and even has her own set of safety and camping gear!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cats are Stealth Rat-Killers CATS AT WORK

I was the Community Cats Coordinator at Tree House Humane Society in Chicago for 2 years, and I still volunteer with this program: Tree House specializes in feral cat relocations for outdoor cats who are at risk from poisonings, BB gun shootings, abandoned house demolitions (where the cats tend to live), indoor and outdoor cat hoarding situations, and feeders who have to move and can't take the outdoor cats they feed with them. We trap the cats and place them in x-large acclimation crates in their new environment for 3-4 weeks to get them accustomed to their new home. Dumping them somewhere without acclimation is inhumane as it causes the cats to become confused and they will attempt to find their way back to their original home and food source and that is dangerous. 

To secure their new homes we have a program called Cats at Work, where people actually request feral cats for their community gardens, personal yards, factories, stables, farms, barns and businesses, and in the case of the 47th Ward of Chicago, alleys! (see my previous posts about Cats at Work). Folks requesting feral cats for their yards and businesses must fill out applications, sign contracts, follow the protocol of the acclimation, and pay for the relocation of the cats.

In talking with these educated folks who understand that cats are the "green" and humane solution to their rat, mouse, chipmunk, rabbit and insect problems, they often ask, "if I feed the cats twice a day will they still hunt?" And the answer is OH YES THEY WILL. I also often have this conversation when I run into skeptical neighbors while I am trapping cats in alleys who are initially angry that I am planning returning the cats to the alley. 

My colony cats have lived with me for years in the yard, They are well-fed, spoiled cats who live in a heated, insulated, bi-level outdoor condo, but this is what we see all year:

And here are 2 of the 3 cats in my colony, lounging around like lazy-butts after their night of rat-killing. 

Outdoor cats kill neighborhood rats even if they are stuffed with store-bought cat food. It's their nature, their instinct, and their main hobby in life. They find the rat nests, stand over the hole, and eat the babies, thereby reducing the rat population.