We didn’t set out to break records at the beginning of March, but that is certainly what we have done!

In February, I counted up all the “outstanding” cats that we had on our books. Some new colonies, some from last year, many that had not been TNR’d due to weather, etc. When that number came out to be over 100 cats, we approached PAWS for more slots. They were extremely accommodating and offered us several dates where we could bring in 20+ cats at a time.

Well, in March I had a vacation from my “real” job. That meant that we could do even more cats than normal, without those hours missing from every day!

Usually you say thank you at the end of a piece, but I would like to thank everyone now – please forgive me if I miss anyone!


  • to all the caretakers who trapped their own cats, who transported their cats to us, who care for these cats every day, day in and day out, and have taken responsibility for limiting future litters!
  • to all our donors who make it possible to TNR those cats whose caretakers can only afford food but want to do the responsible thing by getting them neutered and vaccinated!
  • to everyone who transported for us, to PAWS and to and from the caretakers: Ted, Jennifer, Amy, Mary, Mary, Becky, Kim, Diane, Chloe. Your help is priceless!
  • to those who trapped when the caretakers could not – Mary, Diane and MJ. So many cats, so little time!
  • to Sue, who loans us her van when we have a big load of cats – this saves us so much time and effort!
  • a special mention for someone who has started a crusade to get us enough newspaper – Laura!
  • to Leo, who helps me transfer cats, repairs our traps and puts up with all of the traffic that this process requires!

March was mad, mad, mad, mad!

Here’s the basics:

  • 123 cats TNR’d from 3/3/09 to 3/26/09
  • Averaging over 5 cats a day
  • 11 trips into PAWS in that time, average 10 cats per trip
  • 50 were males
  • 73 females
  • Microchipped 4 previously TNR’d cats for identification

Assuming approximately 4 kittens per litter, an estimated 300 kittens were prevented just in March!!!

During the same month of March, the PAWS-Chicago Spay / Neuter clinic, where we take the cats to be fixed, set their own record with 1,548 spay/neuter surgeries, of which 443 were ferals!

Our favorite stories include:

  • The caretaker that bought a farm – complete with a colony of cats. So far, we have TNR’d ten, of which nine were females. NINE!
  • There were the 20 cats from Colony A, that took a whole week and was a learning experience for the people involved in trapping – the cats just kept coming and other colonies B and C were discovered one and three blocks away – so far! As Colony C was being worked on, a cat that had already been TNR’d from Colony A was trapped – proving that these cats do roam to other caretakers for snacks.
  • A trucking company thought they had 10 cats, no, maybe only 8, then we proceeded to do 15 in all! Very lucky cats!
  • A situation that has been on my books for three years, things just kept happening to keep us from getting all the cats, has now been resolved! The cats had all come down with URI (upper respiratory infection), so the caretaker supplemented their diets with Vitamin C and L-Lysine to improve their health and then we started TNR. We did 11 cats in all there. There is one trap-wise male left there, we are still holding out hope to get him, too, but, unless he brings in a new girlfriend, this location is stable! We also took in an injured kitten from this neighborhood, Gordy. Each of his paws had been chomped on by something and were abscessing. He also had frostbite on one ear and was dehydrated and malnourished. So far, in two weeks he has gained weight and his wounds are healing slowly, he is on his second round of antibiotics and at the suggestion of the vet, we are trying an old-fashioned cure on his wounds – regular old granular sugar – a little less messy than using honey (honey + cat fur!) but the same premise to draw out the infection. We are extremely happy with Wheaton Animal Hospital in Glen Ellyn. They really seem to care about the cats and to be reasonable in trying alternative treatments. Can’t say enough good things about them!
  • Linda is someone who has been trying to get that last female for two years while she kept producing litters, has now gotten all of the remaining females, just has that one wily, very strong male. Linda was using a drop trap (a wonderful invention for getting cats that are leary of box traps), and this cat managed to bust thru the mesh of the trap in mere seconds! But, again, we are going to consider this location stable!

This is a video showing what a drop-trap is and how it should be used.

There are some individual cats that we encounter who we wish could tell their own story:

  • Sharmin, front declaw, neutered, bad teeth, emaciated, dehydrated, knots 2 inches high on his back. Within 28 hours of being brought in, he started eating. He went to the vet for vaccinations, testing, and deworming, and was placed in a foster home to get healthy. This cat was so lonely and starved for affection, he groaned as he was held.
  • Morrie, completely tame and loveable orange tabby who was living in an abandoned car. He is going for adoption soon.
  • Buddy, who while he was sick with URI acted completely tame. As soon as he was healthy – he donned his feral suit again!
  • Mooch, who hung out at a gas station, but wandered the neighborhood to sow his wild oats. After he was neutered, we received a call from his caretakers, concerned at his complete lack of interest in going out the door these days! I told them he was thinking with his higher brain now and knew that being inside where it was dry and warm was a much better deal!

March has been an incredibly hectic and exhausting month. It may take some time, but we hope to see the results of our hard work by the end of the summer with fewer kittens born all over DuPage County because of our efforts. It would be extremely difficult to keep up this pace, but with your help we have certainly made a huge dent!

(Both picture thumbnails are of Gordy - click on them for a larger version of the picture)

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