Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fostering Your Inner Rescue



The following post was written for us by long time volunteer and foster parent Karen.  Karen has also adopted from us and last year was one of the minds behind our annual Sexy Black fundraiser. Recently Karen discovered a cat in her neighbor's yard and turned to Chicago Cat Rescue for assistance, we asked her to share her story with fellow Chicago Cat Rescue supporters. Karen's story is just one of the many examples of how Chicago Cat Rescue helps individuals make a change in the life of cats across the city.

I could not for the life of me figure out where the sound was coming from.  I swore I could hear a kitty crying, and it sounded like it was coming from outside.  But every time I went out on my porch, I couldn't hear it, and I never saw anything in my neighbor's yard where the sound seemed to be coming from.  This went on for weeks!  I almost had myself convinced that it was a weird trick of sound, and that I was hearing one of my neighbor's cats somehow being channeled through the floor or walls.  Then one day a few weeks ago, I was at my desk early in the morning with the windows open, and I heard it again - clear as day.  I went outside into the gangway along my neighbor's yard, calling the standard 'here kitty kitty', and suddenly there he was.  A gorgeous, young, green-eyed, smoky gray tabby sitting near the foundation of my neighbor's house in the tall weeds, returning my call with his little meows.  No wonder I hadn't seen him before - he almost totally blended in with the house!  He reminded me of a little Lynx, so I named him that right then and there.

I immediately went inside to get food, and got him to come close to me on our first encounter.  I left the food out and when I checked back a short time later, it was completely gone - so I put out more.  That was snarfed up just as quickly.  Poor little boy was obviously very hungry!  By the next day, he came close enough to sniff my outstretched finger through the fence.  I checked lost pet ads and posted a picture of him on a neighborhood Facebook page, but no posts or replies.  I contacted Chicago Cat Rescue  to see what I should do.  They told me he was almost surely not feral - as feral cats don't cry, and usually don't come so close. While he wasn’t feral, he would most likely run if I tried to pick him up. Cindy at Chicago Cat Rescue suggested I try catching him in a humane trap.  Chicago Cat Rescue provided me with a humane trap to catch him, and offered to admit Lynx into Chicago Cat Rescue if I was able to foster him or find another foster placement for him.   So my plan of action was to try to catch him and then try to find a foster home for him, as mine is full up with 3 prior rescues of my own and a foster to boot! 

I picked up the trap that night, but as luck would have it, it rained the next couple of days, so no chance of seeing Lynx around.  Days went by without seeing or hearing him.  I was convinced I was too late and that he had met a sad and untimely end, as so many strays do.  Then finally early one morning, I heard him again!  Yay!  I wasn't too late!  He was still ok!  And even better, he was getting braver, following me into our yard and even up onto my back porch.  So I decided to set the trap.  I waited and waited but heard nothing outside.  When I had time to go check, the food was gone but the trap wasn’t sprung!  Clever little guy!  We did this dance for a while - I was only able to set the trap when I knew I would be around for a while, and since mornings were the time he was usually around, that limited the time I was able to spend trying to catch him.  Lynx continued coming up to my back porch where I was now leaving food for him - and he would come up to my screen door and 'visit' with my cats, but I was no closer still to trapping him.  I called Chicago Cat Rescue again to see if they had any tips, and Cindy suggested covering the bottom of the trap with grass.  So I did that and left the trap on my back porch while I took an early trip to the gym one morning.  When I got home about 40 minutes later, I heard rattling on the porch - sure enough, my little gray Lynx was in the trap, and not very happy!  But as a testament to how good this little guy is, when I put the carrier up to the trap door and opened it, he went right into the carrier, and let me quickly close the door.  I had him!  That was the good news.  The bad news was that I didn't have a great place to put him.  My spare room was full with a house guest for the next few weeks, and I couldn't have him near my other kitties until he'd been checked out - which was going to take a little time.

So I decided to clear out an unused storage room in the basement - not ideal, but cool and dry - and most important of all - SAFE!  I got him set up with rugs, blankets, a litter box and some toys and food, and waited to see how he'd adjust.  Well - again, as a testament to this little guy's demeanor, by day 2 he was letting me pet him and was purring away.  By day 3, he let me pick him up and settled into my lap, soaking up the attention and purring up a storm.  He was happy to sit in my lap for as long as I could stay with him.  Chicago Cat Rescue arranged for his vet care at Mid North Animal Hospital.  A few days later, I took Lynx to Mid North to be checked out and neutered.  He came through with flying colors and came back home to recover from his little surgery.  Though I still don't have a spare room for him, I made the decision to move him into my spare bathroom (after what I now call "the centipede incident" in his basement room that caused me to leap out of my chair, which in turn, scared the heck out of Lynx!).  I'm really hoping that a foster or forever home is available very soon to properly take care of this sweet, green-eyed, handsome boy.

Lynx is still learning how to be a kitty.  I'm guessing he never had a chance to learn with his mom or other kitties.  He's just learning how to play, doesn't know about jumping into my lap to get the attention that he loves once he's there, and has yet to meet my other kitties.  Hard to believe someone would abandon this good little boy, but lucky for him that he trusted the right person, and lucky for me that I found him when I did. Lynx is one of many cats available for adoption from Chicago Cat Rescue.  If you are interested in adopting or fostering Lynx or one of the many other cats available, please contact Cindy, cindy@chicagocatrescue.org

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