Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's raining news stories in the Forest Park Review!

Special thanks to the Forest Park Review for their great coverage of CATS for Forest Park this past week - don't know if you saw the front page, and the editorial section and the article about us! We're hometown famous!
Front page
Editorial page

This is great momentum for our call out for volunteers - are you interested in helping to take cats to the ACL to have them spayed and neutered, and return them to their colony? Will you help us feed and water stray cats? We're preparing a volunteer training and are looking for interested people who have a little bit of time and a lot of love for strays in our community.

Please e-mail us if you can help and would like to attend a volunteer training.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We raised $365 today!

Thanks to everyone who came out today to support Sundaes for Strays. We made a lot of new friends and encouraged a lot of new volunteers to support C.A.T.S. for Forest Park, and made $365 for our Colony Care Fund in the process. We appreciate your support!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's time for ICE CREAM! Support our strays!

Sunday's the day, will you be there?

Forest Park Park District Building - 2:00pm, a fundraiser to beat all fundraisers (this weekend is gonna be hot!)

Sundaes for Strays is the time to find out about volunteer opportunities with C.A.T.S. for Forest Park - and to enjoy a fantastic Brown Cow ice cream sundae in the process.

Join us and bring a friend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

10 Days until Sundaes for Strays!

Please spread the word, bring a friend and share some summer fun as we enjoy Brown Cow Ice Cream and raise funds for C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and the Animal Care League. We have a lot of momentum and we need your support and volunteer efforts to continue - come find out more on August 29 at 2:00pm at the Park District Building of Forest Park. For all the details, click here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

ACL Receives Pet Smart Grant to Support TNR Services for Forest Park!

This is AMAZING news! The Animal Care League has received a large grant ($10,000) solely to support the trap-neuter-return services provided by C.A.T.S. for Forest Park! PetSmart supports spay/neuter surgeries and the purchase of traps to serve and return 300 cats in Forest Park!

What tremendous momentum for our efforts! With the enthusiasm and work that we have established, the ACL was able to show that C.A.T.S. for Forest Park is making a difference for strays in our community. Now we can build and grow our efforts, with increased volunteer support, and additional fundraising to provide the ancillary services to cats that we know are so valuable (FeLV testing, FIV testing, food, blankets/shelter, kitten fostering supplies, etc.).

Join us on August 29 at Sundaes for Strays to find out more, and how you can get involved!

Thank you Animal Care League!

Great News!

Just wanted you to know that we raised $310 from our Blackhawks Jersey Fundraiser last month! Thanks to everyone who purchased raffle tickets - we did really well!

We still need your help, because the need is great, with the cost of FIV and FeLV testing, food, and kitten care supplies. See you on August 29 at Sundaes for Strays!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sundaes for Strays - Sunday August 29 at 2pm!

It's a benefit that keeps on giving!

Brown Cow Ice Cream Sundaes!

Funds to raise money for CATS for Forest Park and the ACL!

How can you possibly miss it?

Sundaes for Strays
August 29, 2010
2pm - 3:30 pm
Park District of Forest Park main building

$20/ per adult
$5 for children under 16
One adult can bring one child under 10 for free!

Find out about CATS for Forest Park, how you can help, and how we're making a difference in Forest Park!

See you there!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Congratulations to Colleen Walsh, our Blackhawks Jersey Winner! As advertised, we said we'd draw the winner today, and we notified Colleen, a volunteer for the Animal Care League that she'd won the Keith Blackhawks Jersey raffle. As a proud Blackhawks fan, she plans to wear it proudly!

Pictured here are ACL Second Chance Shop Manager Stephanie Mandolesi drawing our winner, and C.A.T.S. volunteer Mark Rogovin holding up the prize jersey.

Many thanks goes to the Animal Care League, the ACL Second Chance Shop and the C.A.T.S volunteers who sold 107 tickets for the raffle (we are still determining how much was raised). As you know, the funds raised benefits C.A.T.S for Forest Park and the Animal Care League and directly goes towards spaying and neutering feral/stray cats.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We're Back!

Hello Everyone!
Sorry for the long and unplanned absence from the blog and C.A.T.S. activities. I had an emergency surgery on July 8 and several hospitalizations afterward. Just got out of the hospital for the third time on July 22nd and am getting my sea legs back! Thanks for your patience. (I'm fine, but getting caught up on a lot of stuff).

Just to remind you, we're coming up on a lot of stuff!

1. Our Blackhawks Jersey Raffle ends July 31! You can purchase your tickets from the Animal Care League Second Chance Shop at 808 Harrison Street, or from a C.A.T.S. volunteer, just e-mail us and let me know you're interested. You have an excellent chance of winning! Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10.

2. Our next fundraiser, Sundaes for Strays is coming up on August 29 at the Forest Park Park District Building on Harrison Street! It's from 2-3:30pm, and features a Sundae bar from the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor! Adults, $20, and an adult can bring one child under 10 for free! Each additional child (up to 16) is $5.

Help us help the strays!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Can you foster kittens?

We're looking for people who can foster kittens...we've been getting calls and the Animal Care League is absolutely full, there are so many litters out there! Are you able to take in a litter? Do you have experience fostering kittens/mammas? Please let us know, as soon as you can, by e-mailing

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Announcing the Cat-Tee Contest!

Have you rescued a cat or kitten in Forest Park and welcomed it into your home? Do you have a fabulous photo of this beautiful feline when you first met? E-mail us with your story and your photo! We'll collect stories and photos and post them (Forest Park cats and kittens only) on our blog. Then we'll ask our Facebook friends and blog followers to vote for their favorite photo and we'll create a design in our new t-shirt shop!

The winning owner will receive one t-shirt featuring their prize feline!

Here are the rules:
1. You need to submit a nice clear photo of your cat that will print well on a t-shirt. We'll let you know if you need to submit another photo. Indicate your cat's name on the entry, as well as your name, address and telephone number. (Your contact information will not be posted on the blog.)
2. All entries need to be submitted to by September 15, 2010.
3. A poll will be posted on September 15 and close on September 30 to solicit votes for the winner. You can vote as many times as you want, but the goal here is to get more visitors to the blog, folks, so ask your friends to visit too, ok?
4. The t-shirt design will be created by C.A.T.S. for Forest Park. The winner is not permitted to review or approve the t-shirt design, but we promise you'll like it, and it will be cat and family friendly!
5. We can have a tie, but C.A.T.S. reserves the right to select the winner!
6. This is all in fun, and to help raise funds for our mission and the mission of the Animal Care League - so thanks for participating and keeping that in mind!

So here's an example of what we're looking for (and no, I can't win!)

The photo above is of my cat Annie!

Annie came to us seven years ago, and this picture was taken of Annie on the back porch of my Forest Park home on Dunlop Street. Annie is pictured here under a table that looks into my kitchen window. She used to climb up on the table and watch our cat Fluffy eat his dinner and meow for food. We didn't know it at first, but Annie was asking to feed a family - she was pregnant! She was very scared of people and she would run away when we came near. She would just look in at Fluffy.

One day she came to our door and gave out a big yowl. She started to give birth! Wow, we had no idea what to do, but our neighbor Terri helped us out. We helped Annie with her kittens and moved her into our upstairs bathroom so that her kittens wouldn't be eaten. We fed Annie and her kittens, and watched the kitties grow. We took them all to the vet, and had Annie spayed. We decided to keep Annie, as she grew to feel more comfortable in our home and had clearly been abandoned because of her pregnancy. We found homes for her kittens (and we know they continue to do to well and are living happy healthy lives).

So now it's your turn! E-mail us with your cute tail! And let's add some great tees to our shop and raise funds to help homeless cats.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

We need send people to the ACL Second Chance Shop!

Are you a Blackhawks fan? Do you know Blackhawks fans? The genuine Keith Blackhawks jersey that we're raffling off to benefit C.A.T.S. for Forest Park is now at the ACL Second Chance Shop at 808 Harrison Street in Oak Park (you can buy your raffle tickets on the spot). Stop by, send your friends, go see the jersey and buy some tickets to win a special piece of Blackhawks memorabilia!

Find out about the raffle here.

Duncan Keith gave seven of his teeth in game 2 for the Blackhawks to bring home the Stanley Cup to Chicago. What will you do to help us reach our goal of raising $500 for CATS for Forest Park and the Animal Care League? (Hint - we're at $175 now!)

The raffle ends July 31, and we'll announce the winner on this blog!

Nickel has found a good home!

Our TEAM WHISKERS colony caregiver, Terri, has welcomed Nickel into her home. We're so pleased that Nickel has a loving cat-friendly home!

If you are interested in fostering kittens, or are ready to welcome a kitten into your home, contact us or the Animal Care League. The ACL currently has dozens of beautiful kittens and cats ready to go home, and we will have more to come.

Two More Cats!

This is Ghost (with green eyes) and Grey Guy (behind the door of the cage), both trapped by Team Whiskers in late June. Ghost was taken to the Animal Care League and found to be FIV+, so Ghost was euthanized. Grey Guy was trapped on a day that the ACL was not open, so he was taken to another shelter to receive an assessment. He was found to be FeLV+, and the shelter neutered him. Grey Guy has a broken and fused front paw, frequently fights with other cats, and is not healthy. He was returned to us, and we had no choice but to re-release him. (It was not humane to keep him in the trap.) We need to find him again (this is harder because he is a bit more savvy about traps) in order to take him to the Animal Care League and protect the colony, which is FIV and FeLV free. If you see this cat, please let us know.

Next week the Animal Care League will be making more days available to C.A.T.S. for Forest Park to spay/neuter ferals (just for our program, for authorized colony caregivers only) so we will not have this problem in the future.

So, unfortunately, this post does not have a happy ending, but this work is difficult too, and we continue to learn and grow and find the best ways to approach our colony caregiving.

Friday, July 2, 2010

T-Shirts, Mugs, and Totebags to Support C.A.T.S and ACL!

This is just one of several examples of t-shirts, mugs, totebags and water bottles that you can order on CafePress to support C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and the Animal Care League.

Take a look at the site - we'll add new designs as we capture and release more cats, but here's what we're starting with. There's lots to choose from. A portion of the proceeds goes directly to TNR for C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and the ACL, and you help spread the word about our efforts!

Service is speedy and the products are first rate!
Thanks for your support!

We have a second colony! Welcome TEAM CATNIP!

Welcome Team Catnip! The Catnip Colony is up and running, but now that C.A.T.S. for Forest Park has 2 colonies, we need volunteers now more than ever. If you can help trap, deliver cats to the ACL, pick them up and release them, we need you to contact us.

We're working to bring on a third colony but we won't be able to take on any more cats without increased volunteer support (volunteers directly involved in trapping and transporting cats, fostering kittens and feeding and monitoring colonies).

Please visit our volunteer page for more information and e-mail us with questions!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

See you tonight!

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at the Forest Park Library for our Community Meeting!

See you at 7pm sharp in the Lower Level meeting room!

If you bring a towel, dry cat food, or a food bowl, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 Border's card, a pet grooming mitten, a children's book (Mimi's Dada Catifesto), cat themed playing cards, a Kangaroo pajama pal, and AMC movie passes! Your name will be entered once (we want as many people as possible to win) and the kittens and cats we care for will benefit!

Lots of people will be there! Looking forward to meeting you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Introduction

You may be wondering who is working behind the scenes to post and moderate the blog for C.A.T.S. for Forest Park. When I set the blog up, it wouldn't let me use my name, just the name of the organization - so it seems secretive - but it's not!

My name is Michelle Melin-Rogovin, and I've been a Forest Park resident since 1994. I live on the south side of the Eisenhower expressway near the Ferrara Pan candy factory, and my husband Mark and I have two socialized feral cats that we love and adore and share our home with. Fluffy and Annie have shared our lives for a decade - Fluffy was born in our backyard 10 years ago, and Annie came to our backdoor looking for food 7 years ago, and we've taken care of them ever since (spayed and neutered them, their siblings and their kittens and found good homes for all of them). I think we've taken care of at least 12 cats and kittens along the way, with good intentions.

Any cats and kittens we've encountered over the years we've done the same - and it's through our neighbors and our association with the Animal Care League that we've wanted to do more. That's why we're working to develop a coordinated program to care for homeless cats in Forest Park and encouraging our neighbors to become involved.

I'm new to the official trap-neuter-return program world and am learning a lot from dedicated animal lovers and the Animal Care League, all who have been working on this for a long time. We're dedicated to doing this correctly, and with the best of intentions for all involved. Thanks for understanding that we're all growing and learning through this process, especially me.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting ready for our meeting on June 30!

We're going door to door letting everyone in Forest Park know (well, maybe not EVERYONE, we're not that big!) about our meeting on Wednesday June 30 at 7pm at the Forest Park Library, lower level.

Please join us to find out more about C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and how you can help!

Update on Sugar

Here is a video of Sugar, who we have now named Nickel! You may be wondering - why? We discovered she has a white "5" on her back, no kidding, so the name seemed perfect.

When she came to us, she had a terrible respiratory infection, a problem with her eyes and she was terribly underweight. She is blossoming, has started her vaccines and is putting on weight. She is socialized and enjoys her toys, playing with humans and loves to show everyone her belly!

Several families are interested in Nickel and we hope to send her to a good home very soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Raffle Update

For all you Blackhawks fans out there - tickets for the Duncan Keith Jersey are selling briskly! We haven't really publicized it widely yet and already $100 in tickets have been sold!

Check out the info on the Jersey here. Tickets are $5/each or 3 for $10.

C.A.T.S. For Forest Park volunteers will be selling tickets, and you can stop by the Animal Care League Second Chance Shop at 808 Harrison St in Oak Park in July to purchase them there (and view the jersey itself). The winner will be drawn on July 31.

Proceeds benefit C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and the Animal Care League.

Number 19 and 20!

Here's Lil Toot (orange) and Spirit (mixed) both young females trapped, spayed and returned to the WHISKERS colony this week on 6/22/10. They were in good health, and oh boy, did Spirit want to get out of her carrier and back outside! Now she can roam and we'll know she's not able to contribute to the cat population in her area.

Lil Toot and Spirit bring the total trapped cats for TEAM WHISKERS to 20!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Neighborly Thing to Do

Observant and caring neighbors can help us a lot. On a daily basis, you see cats in and around your property and can tell us where there are hiding places, kittens, and injured cats. You may know the times that cats come and go. This is all great information that we don't always have. You may be able to tell us about cat colonies that we are unaware of, and need to care for. We need your information.

You may not have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but this information would be tremendously helpful for our volunteers!

Here's how you can help:

1. Join us at our next meeting at the Forest Park Library on June 30 at 7pm, lower level. We're cat people, friendly, welcoming, and we won't suck you in to a commitment you're not ready for!

2. E-mail us. We'll e-mail you a sign to put in your window that says Friend of CATS for Forest Park! If you print out and display this sign in your window, one of our volunteers knows they can knock on your door and ask you about the cats in your area.

3. Join us at our next fundraiser on August 29 at the Park District Building. C'mon, everyone likes Brown Cow Ice Cream!

Thanks for being neighborly and helping us make a difference in Forest Park!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

E-mail us anytime! We have an e-mail address at!

What It's All About

Sugar is currently learning about human contact while residing in my upstairs bathroom. She is recovering quite quickly from a respiratory infection - the first night she came to our house, her breathing sounded like my husband snoring at night and an asthmatic wheezing during an attack. What a terrible time for a tiny kitten only 1 1/2 pounds and 6 weeks of age. She curled up in my hand and cuddled up to my chest breathing quite hard, and then, suddenly fell fast asleep.

The next day, it was as if we had a new kitten. Several doses of antibiotics later, she was romping around and more interested in her environment - hiding, playing with toys and very interested in sneaking out the door! We continue to play with her, and let her know that humans are her source of food, entertainment and safety.

Today she looks even better, her eyes are cleared up, her breathing is even better and she is so much more playful. We will take her back to the vet soon for a check up, and will start to look for a special someone who will take Sugar home.

There are many Sugars out there. At the Animal Care League, there are so many kittens, they are filled to capacity. Do you have room in your heart and your home for some Sugar? Think about it? There is Sugar waiting for you. So many people have worked so hard to make sure they are ready to go home with just the right person. You may be the person Sugar is waiting for!

Great Reasons to Support the Animal Care League!

There are a lot of terrific reasons to support the dedicated staff and volunteers, and the wonderful mission of the Animal Care League. We wanted to mention some of them so you'd know just how closely we work together to accomplish the same mission in our communities.

1. We couldn't exist without the Animal Care League. In order to establish a volunteer-based trap-neuter and return program, an established, licensed shelter in Cook County has to supervise the program. The ACL is our sponsor. They make our work possible. They don't have the time to do everything they already do, let alone to stretch their efforts further, yet they are encouraging our efforts. We deeply appreciate their support.

2. We share the same purpose. To humanely care for strays in our community by providing care, spay and neuter services and loving homes to those animals able to be adopted out. In the case of the Animal Care League, their shelter is frequently at capacity, so when you are thinking of bringing a new animal in your home, please go to the ACL to find a beautiful cat or dog that has been lovingly cared for by ACL staff and volunteers.

3. ACL operates on a shoestring budget to care for animals and to provide services to pet owners like training classes, low cost spay/neuter services, etc to benefit the community. They depend on memberships, volunteers and people who understand their mission to support their ongoing efforts.

4. They have a dedicated group of staff and volunteers that love the animals and are dedicated to the cause. We learn so much from them and appreciate all they have taught us.


1. Visit their website, Facebook page, and Second Chance Shop in Oak Park. Keep up with their activities.

2. Become a member of the ACL, and let them know that C.A.T.S. for Forest Park encouraged you to do so!

3. Attend an ACL fundraiser, adopt from ACL, or purchase a bargain from the Second Chance Shop.

4. Tell your neighbors and friends about the Animal Care League and C.A.T.S. for Forest Park. We're working together to improve the lives of our neighbors and the cats that share our lives each day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good things come in threes! Three more cats!

Meet Princess, Boots and Sugar!
Princess is a 2 year old longhaired tabby who was camera-shy in this photo. We hope you can see that Boots, a 1-2 year old female with black fur has all white paws, making Boots a fitting name for her! Boots and Princess were spayed at the Animal Care League and released.
Sugar, the gorgeous gray and white female kitten was found at 6 weeks old with an upper respiratory infection and is currently being fostered by C.A.T.S. for Forest Park volunteers. She is doing fine with antibiotics and a lot of love and socialization...she will make a gorgeous pet!

Congratulations to TEAM WHISKERS - this team has now trapped 18 cats since May 25.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blackhawks Jersey Raffle to benefit C.A.T.S. for Forest Park!

Join us on June 30 at 7pm at the Forest Park Library to learn more about C.A.T.S. for Forest Park and our activities, and to participate in our second fundraiser - to win a Blackhawks Jersey!

An Authentic "A" Reebok Away Jersey for Duncan Keith, the jersey features his name and number on the back, and an embroidered team logo on the front. The jersey is valued at $249!

Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10. The winner will be drawn on July 31 and announced on this website!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cat photos to share!

Introducing Scruffy (blurry photo, sorry!) Rusty (our orange cat) and Midnight (pure black), all trapped last week by TEAM WHISKERS, at the same time as our five kittens. We wanted you to see these sweet faces, just as we did.

Told Ya the Blackhawks Would Win!

Here are the five kitties rescued by TEAM WHISKERS last week - named by the Animal Care League volunteers after the Chicago Blackhawks players. We said at that time they were soooo cute that the Chicago Blackhawks were sure to win the Stanley Cup. (We were right!)

Our kittens are currently being fostered by the Animal Care League. When we find kittens they must remain with their mother until they are weaned and then brought to a shelter, where they are socialized and adopted out to good homes.

We are grateful for the Animal Care League's assistance, and encourage you to visit the Animal Care League when you are interested in pet adoption. There are so many loving pets that need good homes, and by visiting the Animal Care League, you are bringing home a lovingly cared for animal and supporting an agency that cares for homeless animals!

Special thanks to Marcie for all her help with these beautiful kittens!

Our newest cat spayed at ACL!

TEAM WHISKERS has trapped its 14th cat! This is Baby. She was named by our feeder volunteer for TEAM WHISKERS, and Baby is a two year old female who was spayed at the Animal Care League this week and then released.

Have You Posted A Question?

Please know that we are moderating an responding to questions on the blog. We have received many thoughtful and helpful questions from readers and appreciate the feedback we are receiving on the blog. Please visit your question to see our response, we hope that our thoughtful replies are helpful in clarifying our purpose and aims in working with you, our neighbors and the cats in the community.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Watch this video from the Humane Society

View this four minute YouTube video from the Humane Society of the United States on Trap-Neuter-Return programs to learn more about what C.A.T.S. for Forest Park is working to accomplish in our village.

Join us on June 30 at 7pm at the Forest Park Library to find out how you can help us make a difference in Forest Park!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Raffle on June 30!

Bring a gently used towel, pet food or a pet food dish to our meeting on June 30 and you'll be entered to win in our raffle - great here for more information!

Do you have an outdoor cat?

The Cook County Ordinance regarding the care of Feral Cat Colonies also discusses the responsibilities of pet owners. This is important because cats that are not properly supervised by their owners can become strays and join a feral cat colony.

A stray cat, according to the ordinance, is a cat that is regularly off the property of the owner, is not under the physical control or restraint of the owner, and is not regularly provided with food by its owner.

The ordinance states that owners of "domesticated cats" (pets) shall provide adequate food, water and shelter for their cats, exercise reasonable care that their cat does not create a nuisance, shall not permit their cats to roam unsupervised off their property and shall not abandon a cat.

Our volunteers take great care to assess cat behavior and can tell if a cat appears to be a pet, versus a stray or a feral cat. However, there is always a possibility that we could trap a cat that is an outdoor pet. If your cat is not wearing proper identification (as required) and is regularly roaming off of your property and we don't know its owner, we could reasonably determine that it needs to be assessed at the Animal Care League. If we accidentally trap a pet with identification, we will release it on the spot.

Please ensure that your outdoor cat can be identified as your pet, and keep a close watch on Fluffy when he goes outdoors. We'll watch out for him too.

Cook County Ordinance Regarding Managed Care of Feral Cats

Our friends at the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago have created a web resource to help communities create TNR programs, which is a great resource. One of the items on it is the Cook County Ordinance relating to the management of feral cat colonies.

We operate under this ordinance, and we'll be highlighting some of the ways that this ordinance impacts the work we do, and our work with animals in the community.

First, here are the items in the ordinance that we are responsible for implementing when we care for a colony of cats:

1. Registering the colony with the Sponsor. (In our case, the Animal Care League.)

2. Taking all appropriate and available steps to vaccinate the colony population for rabies, preferably with a three-year vaccine and to update the vaccinations as warranted and mandated by law.

3. Taking all appropriate and available steps to have the colony population spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian.

4. Eartipping the left ear of a colony cat that has been vaccinated and spayed or neutered so that colony cats can be readily identified.

5. Having an microchip inserted into each colony cat by a veterinarian in accordance with professional medical standards. The Sponsor and the Feral Cat Colony Caretaker shall be the named contacts for purposes of the microchip.

6. Providing the Sponsor with descriptions of each cat in the colony and copies of documents demonstrating that the cats have been vaccinated, micro-chipped, and spayed or neutered.

7. Providing food, water and, if feasible, shelter for colony cats.

8. Obtaining proper medical attention for any colony cat that appears to require it.

9. Observing the colony cats at least twice per week and keeping a record of any illness or unusual behavior noticed in any colony cat.

10. Obtaining the written approval of the owner of any property, or any authorized representative of the owner, to which the Caretaker requires access to provide colony care.

11. Taking all reasonable steps to (1) remove kittens from the colony after they have been weaned, (2) place the kittens in homes or foster homes for the purpose of subsequent permanent placement, and (3) capture and spay the mother cat.

12. Reporting semi-annually in writing to the Sponsor on (1) the location of the colony, (2) the number and gender of all cats in the colony, (3) the number of cats that died or otherwise ceased being a part of the colony; (4) the number of kittens born to colony cats and their disposition, (5) the number of cats placed in animal shelters or in permanent homes as companion cats, (6) the number of cats vaccinated, (7) the number of cats micro-chipped, and (8) the number of cats spayed or neutered.

In our case, we have elected to have cats tested for FeLV (feline leukemia) and FIV as well, which is not mandated by the ordinance but is beneficial for the strays and household pets who are outside. We have assigned monitor positions for each colony but our feeders and trappers also monitor each colony as well.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Update on our newest cats! There's not three, there's EIGHT!

Our latest foray by TEAM WHISKERS brought eight felines to the Animal Care League on Tuesday June 1! Three adult male cats, and five kittens!

First, an update on our male cats, Rusty, Midnight and Scruffy:

Rusty is an orange tabby who is 1-2 years old, and was neutered, tested and vaccinated by the ACL. He has been returned to the colony.

Midnight is also 1-2 years old and is pure black. He was neutered, tested and vaccinated by the ACL. He has been returned to the colony.

Scruffy was another story - a 4-5 year old black and white male cat, he was very injured and ill when we brought him into the Animal Care League. The veterinarian assessed his injuries and the state of his health and determined that he was FIV+, which means Scruffy had feline immunodeficiency virus. FIV is communicated to other animals most often by biting, and is very infectious. Cats with FIV that become sick with other infections can make other cats and household pets very sick.

What does FIV do to a cat?
Infected cats may appear normal for years. However, infection eventually leads to a state of immune deficiency that hinders the cat's ability to protect itself against other infections. The same bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that may be found in the everyday environment--where they usually do not affect healthy animals--can cause severe illness in those with weakened immune systems. These secondary infections are responsible for many of the diseases associated with FIV. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

House cats with FIV can be isolated and treated, but strays that cannot be brought indoors to be treated will suffer with FIV and the infections that it brings, so Scruffy was euthanized. So sad to make this decision, but we did not want Scruffy to suffer or affect other healthy cats.

Our five black and white tuxedo kittens were found at 1 month old - their eyes were open, but their ears were barely unfolded! There were four males and one female, CUTE as a button all of them, now we have to bring in momma too! Our friends at the Animal Care League have checked them out and they are healthy and doing fine. They are being fostered at ACL because the colony caretaker ordinance of Cook County does not allow us (nor would we want to) release kittens back outside. They are able to be socialized and welcomed into good homes! ACL volunteers have named them after the Chicago Blackhawks, and we're sure that the Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup now, paws down!

Read all about us!

The Forest Park Review article is out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Watch the Forest Park Review on Wednesday!

Guess what? We're going to be featured in an article in the Forest Park Review on Wednesday June 2nd! Forest Park Review columnist John Rice will highlight our new C.A.T.S. for Forest Park organization, our activities, and our upcoming meeting on June 30.

The article will feature photos of cats we have successfully served, highlight our sponsorship relationship with the Animal Care League and call for volunteers and village residents to attend our next meeting.

We're appreciative of John's help in getting the word out - please pick up a copy and read the article!

Three More Cats Trapped Today!

TEAM WHISKERS is at it again! Three more cats have been trapped today and brought to the Animal Care League for TNR assessment. We'll have an update on their names and their status soon. TEAM WHISKERS has now trapped 8 cats in their colony, since May 25!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Facts about Trap-Neuter and Return Programs

  • TNR is a humane and effective method for reducing stray cat populations in urban and suburban areas.
  • Males that are neutered do not fight other animals or spray to mark territory.
  • TNR services include a rabies vaccine and other treatments that prevent diseases in animals and humans.
  • Removing a cat colony entirely creates a "vacuum effect" which encourages new, untreated cats to move in and take their place. TNR and maintaining a current cat colony prevents this from occurring.
  • Cat colonies provide effective and free pest control to neighborhoods.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Our next meeting date - June 30 at 7pm!

C.A.T.S. will be meeting at the Forest Park Library
June 30, 2010
Lower Level meeting Room

Please join us to learn more about C.A.T.S. and how you can support our efforts!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The three amigos!

This is Annie (top left) an eight month old female, Feisty (above) an eight month old male and Whiskers (bottom), a year old female who had just had kittens eight weeks ago. We captured these cats on 5/26/10 and took them to PetVets in Oak Park Illinois for TNR. They were treated and released!

Our first cat!

This is Uno! Uno is a female who was the first cat trapped, spayed and released through the C.A.T.S. Program on 5/25/10. She was treated at the Animal Care League.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three more cats spayed/neutered and released!

TEAM WHISKERS has captured three cats - two females and one male. The male was neutered and the females spayed at PetVets Animal Hospital in Oak Park, a local veterinary practice that supports caring for stray animals. (We love Pet Vets!) These cats were treated and released back to the WHISKERS colony in Forest Park. (Team Captain Terri paid for these services from her own funds, with a discount from Pet Vets.)

Congratulations TEAM WHISKERS!

Can you help?

Now that we're up and running, we're looking for Pet Taxis, towels, food containers and cat food. If you can help, let us know! Thanks for thinking of us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We've started to care for cats!

TEAM WHISKERS has begun caring for a colony in Forest Park and has brought 2 cats to the Animal Care League for evaluation and care. One cat was spayed, tested for viruses (found negative) and received rabies and FVRCP vaccines. All services were paid for from funds raised by C.A.T.S. and this cat was re-released.

The second cat was found to have an advanced cancer (extremely large cancer protruding from the eye and into the brain) and lymph nodes were involved. Neighbors reported that this cat had been living with this condition for more than a year. This cat was put to sleep at the recommendation of the veterinarian. It is heartbreaking to find cats with such terrible medical conditions which require euthanasia and we hope this doesn't happen too often. However, in a few such cases, it may be a merciful option for the cat involved. Medical care was paid for by C.A.T.S.

The goal of C.A.T.S. is to provide trap-neuter-release services to cats in Forest Park, a humane response to stray cat colonies. Our aim is to maintain the health and well being of cats, while reducing the populations of cats in Forest Park through a spay and neuter program.

Check out our volunteer page!

We've added a new page to our blog - which lists volunteer opportunities for C.A.T.S. We are planning to have a volunteer training soon! Check it out, and see how you can help. We will also have volunteer brochures to distribute in the community to highlight our need for volunteers - if you'd like to help distribute volunteer brochures, let us know!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Did you know?

The Village of Oak Park and the Village of River Forest both have a paid staff of animal control officers, as well as a paid contract with the Animal Care League to provide services to animals found outside on village streets. Forest Park has no paid animal control officers and no established contract with the Animal Care League, so it's up to volunteers to get involved to help care for stray animals.

We're very pleased that the Village of Forest Park has passed an ordinance to support our volunteer-based trap-neuter-release program, and has been very positive in its response to residents concerns about how we can proactively work with the Animal Care League to establish this service. But there's a lot of work to do, and we need lots of caring animal lovers who would like to help. We also thank the Animal Care League for partnering with us in this effort.

Our goal is to develop teams of people that can work together to make the program a success, so that one person can accept a role that is manageable and successful for them - and it feels good to participate! Watch this blog for more info soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You can find us on Facebook!

If you prefer, visit us on Facebook for frequent updates and the latest information on our activities. We'll send you invitations to meetings and e-mail you about news and information if you "like" our page. If you're a member of Facebook, you'll find us online!

15,000 Homeless Cats

Do you know that according to the National Humane Society, there could be as many as 15,000 stray cats in Forest Park? These are cats that are dumped on the streets, because an owner who thought a kitten was cute no longer wants a large house cat. Or a new litter of kittens from a cat that has 2 litters a year.

Help us manage the cats that live in the alleys of Forest Park, to keep them healthy and safe. E-mail us to find out more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Join Us!

C.A.T.S. for Forest Park is a new volunteer-driven organization which aims to care for stray cats in Forest Park. We are working in collaboration with the Animal Care League to care for and monitor cat colonies in order to trap, neuter and release cats in Forest Park. We believe this is a humane way to care for stray cats, help reduce the cat population and manage cats with medical problems.

If you are concerned about stray cats and would like to help, there are many ways you can join us. We need volunteers who are interested in fund raising, providing or soliciting donations for food, participating in regular feedings of cat colonies, monitoring cat colonies, serving as cat colony managers, and helping to communicate our goals to your neighbors and friends.

Managing a trap-neuter and release program on a volunteer basis requires a great deal of support and passion from community members and animal lovers. To become a volunteer, please contact us and let us know how you'd like to help!