I am constantly amazed at the way life works and how small the city of Chicago really can be. Early this week I was contacted by a fellow TNR/ kitty advocate from CatVanDo, a non-profit rescue/TNR group. Ellen had received a call from a lady named Veronica, about several cats living in a garage. Ellen forwarded the call to me, because she thought they might be in my area, she gives me the address where the cats are located and it turns out to be my Garage kitties! The lady who contacted her turns out to be the person who feeds the cats in the morning, whom I have been meaning to try to contact for several months. Veronica had talked with the owners of the garage who told her they plan to board it up this summer, so she finally called CatVanDo.
I called Veronica, explained who I was and how I had gotten her number. When she called me back the next day we talked for a while about these cats, and where we lived in relation to them. She lives much further from them than I do, probably a block and a half, but on the main street, so I am not entirely sure how she found them. For the most part Veronica just told me how relieved she was that they were already fixed, because she had been meaning to call for some time. She said she has been feeding them since they were little kittens. When she told me this, a little piece of me cried, because the kittens could have been socialized, they could have stood a chance at a life as pet cats; but she seems new to all this and I didn’t want to rebuke her for not knowing any better (on a side note, she mentioned she has four cats, all fixed and declawed, said as if it was what is done. I need to enlighten her on the horrors of declawing too). There are a few other things I need to educate her about, such as leaving uneaten food out and unattended, not cleaning up after the cats, and how this attracts raccoons, and skunks (who later charge down the alley in attempts to attack when other caregivers are feeding). Her heart is in the right place though, and she obviously cares about the cats as much as I do, so I will bring these topics up in the right context and at the right time.
When I asked her about the garage being boarded up she didn’t have many details, but said one of the owners of the garage told her they have plans to board the very dilapidated garage up this summer. I find this extremely frustrating for several reasons, one being that the owners of the garage know there are cats there, and they know two people are feeding them. Second, I gave them my name and phone number, and have talked to the gentleman of the house at length about the cats and told him to contact me if there were ever any concerns. I realize that the owners of the garage probably aren’t overly concerned about the cats. Even though they have a dog, they probably don’t see the cats as anything to be super worried about. I wouldn’t say they see them as pests, but certainly nothing to be emotionally invested in, not a problem that needs to be addressed.
And why would they when Veronica and I are caring for them? But these people are also not the most organized people in the world. I have serious doubts that they will actually board up their garage. Nonetheless, I am going to start perusing barns and other options for relocating the garage kitties. Veronica said she is willing to introduce them to her yard, which might work. I have to take a look at her yard first. Relocating them to a barn might be the smartest thing for them though. David, Bana, Adi and Mom are all rather bold cats. They like to sit in front of their garage during the day, even when people walk past. If they are out waiting for me to show for dinner and someone else walks past they move closer to their garage but don’t actually hide. They aren’t very good at being feral. They aren’t good at being super friendly adoptable cats either though. David and Mommy let Veronica and I touch them, I can also touch Bana and Adi, but not in a way that suggests they want to be picked up or even taken inside. (Though I wonder…but I will save that for another post). The four of them make good “barn cats” aquainted with people but not to the point of being pets. Poosh and Shadow are both very good at being feral and would probably enjoy a nice large barn to hide in, as opposed to a tiny little yard. The problem is there are so many people looking to relocate cats, and only so many barns they can be relocated to.
The kittens are too old to be truly socialized, they might become friendly enough to be “semi-feral” or to allow themselves to be taken inside, where they would promptly hide from whomever adopted them. I could see them allowing themselves to be adopted by one of their caregivers, as it appears they trust both Veronica and I enough to feel comfortable around us. I am not going to worry too much though, as it will not make the process any easier. I am going to start spreading my need to various other TNR groups, and hopefully, come spring, there will an easy resolution to this. If not, well I am already committed to the cats, so if it has to get more complicated and, for lack of a better word, dirty, then I am ready for it. I just hope it has an easy end, for the cats as well as for myself.