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. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Interesting Facts About Cats

I Found a Litter of Kittens! What Do I Do?

HERE is a great article from Animal Alliance NYC about what to do if you find a litter of kittens. Below are pictures of a very young litter I rescued last week:

You CANNOT feed kittens cow's milk and do not try to give them water!! It will give them diarrhea and dehydrate them. You need kitten replacement milk and a bottle set from PetSmart. They eat tiny amounts of food so do not squeeze too much food in their little mouths. You also have to take a cotton ball and gently swirl it over their little behinds to stimulate them to pee and poo, something their mother usually does for them. They need to be on a heating pad and kept very warm. As soon as you can, call your local vet offices and animal rescue groups to see if an experienced bottle feeder is available to foster the kittens. In the meantime, please click the link above to see how it's done. 

You also must bathe them in warm water, as they are too young to groom themselves. Here is my husband bathing them in our bathroom sink:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

55 Cats Trapped for World Spay Day!

Holy Hairballs! Tree House Humane Society volunteers and staff trapped 55 feral cats for World Spay Day! Here are some of them in the Bucktown clinic waiting to be snipped, tipped, chipped and returned to their respective colonies. But we did find some "friendlies" (cats who live outside but who are super friendly to humans) and those will be admitted onto the Tree House adoption floor! This always makes everyone's day when we get those.  

The covers on the traps keep the kitties calm and feeling safe. Please contact me if you'd like to know more about Trap-Neuter-Return, it's easier than you think! And you can make such a difference in your neighborhood. These "community cats" need YOUR help!!! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

How is the Trap-Neuter-Return Program Working in Chicago?

I'd like to share this link from another trap-neuter-return "Catactivist" I know who posted some incredible news yesterday on her blog, along with some pictures of "TNR" in action and a one-minute video explaining why we TNR: