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!