Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adopt Me of the Week: Junebug, Pippi & Pepper

Meet Junebug, Pippi & Pepper, three of the sweetest cats you will ever meet. All three adore people, each other and playtime! You may have heard of this trio earlier this summer; they recently lost their foster home when their foster mom moved to a smaller apartment and could no longer care for them. Despite a desperate search for a new foster home, we were unable to find someone willing to adopt or foster any of these babies. They are currently boarding at our vet, where they are very nervous.



Junebug, Pippi & Pepper are a bonded trio, however we understand how hard it can be to take on three new cats, so we are willing to separate the girls. All three girls would do best in a home with another cat, even if that other cat is not one of her sisters.

Junebug is a curious, interactive cat. She loves to interact with people and whatever it is those people are doing. She was always trying to find a way to help her former foster mom get her tasks done quicker, and we all know just how useful kitty help can be. If she is not helping you complete whatever task is at hand Junebug will most likely be curled up in your lap, she simply LOVES laps. How can anyone say no to those big golden eyes of her's? Junebug is not picky though, if you are too busy she will just go find someone else to play with. She spends lots of time trying to get the attention of her sisters so she can play with them. Even if Junebug is not adopted with one of her sisters, she would do best in a home with a feline companion, she adores other cats as much as she adores people. How

Pippi stands out amongst her sisters. As a brown tabby/tortie mix that is not hard to do, especially when your sisters are both black cats. Don't let Pippi's multitude of colors let her overshadow her sisters though. She loves them both, she loves people too. If anything is going to make Pippi overshadow her sisters it will be with all the love and eagerness she has! Pippi has a love of life and everything that comes with it: laps, playtime, getting pets, her sisters, high spaces! It's all so wonderful to Pippi. If she is not demanding you give her your lap or wrestling with her sisters Pippi can be found looking out a window. Windows are wonderful, she will even give you a play by play of everything she sees outside!

At first glance Pepper may seem to be a quiet girl. She loves to stare out of the windows, and is a bit nervous when first meeting people. Don't let appearances deceive you! Pepper is a ferocious hunter just waiting for the right moment to strike! If you want to get Pepper's attention, all you have to do is pull out a toy. She loves to play! Anything she can chase or chew on is sure to be a hit, including her sisters; she loves to wrestle with her sisters. Pepper loves people, she just needs some time to warm up to you. Not everyone can be outgoing! Once Pepper has warmed up to you she will expect you to admire her by rubbing her back. She is an expert at stretching out to get the maximum amount of back rubs possible! Pepper simply adores her sisters.

Junebug, Pippi & Pepper are all a little on the shy side in new situations and when meeting new people. Their former foster mom says they warm up very quickly though. These girls are the type of cats whom Chicago Cat Rescue was created for. Black cats, such as Pepper and Junebug, have a much harder time getting adopted. Also difficult to adopt out are quiet cats like these sisters. Not the first to approach people, Junebug, Pippi & Pepper would be overlooked in most shelter environments. That's one of the many benefits of foster homes, we get to know our cats and adopters can see the true personalities of cats in "natural environment"--a comfy home. 

Even if you cannot adopt any of these little girls, please consider fostering them. They are desperate to get out of a cage, and we are desperate to get them into a good home! Contact us if you are at all interested in adopting or fostering any of these sweet, lovable girls.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adopt Me of the Week: Lulu's Gang!


If you have been following Chicago Cat Rescue's Facebook page you will be familiar with these cute little faces. (And if you haven't been following us on Facebook, j­­­oin us now!)  Lulu's Gang are ready for adoption!   If you haven’t, been following us meet Duncan, Hattie, Peter, Peanut, Patrick, Goose, and Georgie. With seven kittens though, it’s just easier to refer to them in the collective as Lulu’s Gang.  This litter of six boys and one girl are your typical kittens. Full of energy and trouble, they love to run around and will keep you entertained for hours!

Whether they are chasing toys or each other, pouncing on balls or tails, these high energy babies love to run, jump and explore. Eager to live every moment of life, these babies hardly ever stop moving. When they do stop playing, it’s like someone pulled the batteries out of them, everyone just collapses all at once. Running and playing are fun, naptime and snuggles are great too. When they are not playing or exploring, you will most likely find them sprawled out in kitten piles together, building up their energy reserves for the next lap around the room.  Can you imagine what that nursery room sounds like? Seven kittens running, jumping, climbing and wrestling-Yikes! What must Lulu be thinking while she watches her little ones play?

Oliver when he was first introduced to Lulu and co.
Poor Lulu, having to raise seven babies! What a lot of work she had.  As if seven babies weren’t enough for Lulu she adopted an eighth kitten, Oliver, who needed mother’s love. Oliver is a beautiful orange tabby boy who is also looking for a home. Lulu and her kittens took Oliver in like he was always one of the family.  Lulu has been an exceptional mother, and it is time for her babies to move on to their own life. As with all mother’s Lulu is also ready to move on with her life. Lulu is feral, and now that she has raised her babies to be healthy, strapping young kittens, it is time for her to move on as well. She was spayed, vaccinated and relocated to a barn where she will spend the rest of her days in the company of other feral cats, enjoying the only life she will truly ever be comfortable with.  

Hattie, the only girl in the gang!
Lulu’s Gang are almost ready for adoption! These eight rambunctious kittens would do best in a home where they have another cat to play with, either a sibling or a new big brother or sister! To learn more about meet Oliver, Duncan, Hattie, Peter, Peanut, Patrick, Goose, or Georgie give us a call! You can reach us at 773.203.0215 or you can find our adoptable cats on Petfinder.com.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fostering Kittens Rewarding for All

This blog entry originally appeared in my personal blog Tails from the Street, on July 7. Tails from the Street is where I write about life as a cat rescuer. Since the original posting two weeks ago, my circumstances have changed, allowing me to keep the kittens just a little longer.  They grow friendlier and more mischievous by the day. They will still need a second foster home, so if you are interested give us a call or drop us an email!

Their first time venturing out of hiding.
I have been lucky enough to have foster kittens in my care for the past week. Five beautiful, troublesome kittens. I haven't had foster kittens in a number of years, and I forgot just how much work they can be. Five kittens eat a lot of food and use a lot of litter. It has been wonderful watching them run, jump, play and discover. Unfortunately, I can only care for the babies for two weeks. As much as I would love to foster long term, circumstances prevent me from normally taking in foster cats. With any luck we will be able to find a new home to take them when their two weeks are up with me.

When I got them last week, the babies were about 10-11 weeks old. It was their first time out of a cage and the first time away from mom.  It was not surprising then, to find they were a little shy when I first brought them home. I settled them into a small room upstairs where they were free to explore and adjust to life outside a cage. I opened the carrier and they slowly ventured out. After doing a quick check around the room they all disappeared under the dresser. A pile of five scared kittens huddled together for protection against a scary new world without their mom.  Within days they were all out of hiding and running around the room playing.
I think little Ben may be my favorite.
The two gray kittens, Stormy and Ben, are still a little nervous around people, as is the Torti girl, Gwen. While they don't instantly run when I come in the room, they are not eager to be held or touched. I have worked with them over the past week, doing play therapy and touching them while they are eating. This has helped. Medicine twice a day does not help my efforts to show them that people are not mean and scary.

The little orange kitten and the buff kitten, Pounce and Mayhem are the leaders of the gang. Troublesome, curious, almost snuggly, they are the perfect kittens. They lead the way on everything, from play time to exploring the room and getting kitten rubs. They are also the ones who discovered that there is a whole new world to explore on the other side of the door. This was discovered by accident one day when they all swarmed me for dinner. Now it has become a game and Pounce, the orange kitten, leads the way in walking out the door every time I open it.
Pounce about to go after a toy.

Fostering is a wonderful experience. Watching these kittens grow and explore, knowing that I have given these babies a second chance at life, a chance to be kittens, is the most rewarding experience I could ever ask for. Sure there is a lot of work, kittens are a lot of work, and five kittens are five times as much work, but it is all worth it.  The kittens have helped me too, they have reminded me of the joy there is to be found in life. I spend hours a day sitting with them either playing with them or watching them play. It is impossible to be stressed, angry or upset when watching kittens be kittens. So much life in them, so much joy as they bounce and jump and play with their toys and each other. Running around the room, pouncing, exploring, the kittens are enjoying life, and it is hard to hold on to all the toxic things life throws at you. The stress of the day, melts away when I watch them play and explore.  While I am only able to help them for a few weeks, I know I have made a difference in their lives, and they have made a difference in mine. It will be an experience I will never forget.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Amazing Claws!


What do you think of when you think of your kitties claws? Do you think of them as toenails? Or do you think of a beloved piece of furniture shredded by a stretching cat? Do you think of damage done by kitty, intentionally or accidentally, when she was snuggling in your lap? There are many things we think we know about cats’ claws and lots of things most people don’t actually know.
Most people consider cat claws as just toenails. Claws are so much more than toenails though! They are an integral part of cats overall physiology as well as their number one defense mechanism. When your cat digs his claws into your new couch he is not intentionally destroying your furniture; he is stretching his back muscles and marking his territory. There are scent glands between your cat’s toes that allow him to leave his scent behind when he scratches on things. This trait came in handy when cats were wild animals and scratching usually meant trees or other such objects. It is a little less helpful when it comes to your leather couch or heirloom dining room table.  When a cat stretches and digs his claws into your furniture he is also giving himself a good workout. Stretching, using the claws, is the only way a cat has of truly exercising the muscles in his back.  We all know how refreshing a good stretch can feel after sitting at a desk all day, imagine how much better it must feel for your cat! Even when not digging his claws into something, you will notice your cat flexing his claws when he stretches, this is to help get all those muscles exercised!

Most importantly perhaps, claws are a cat’s number one defense.  Claws allow a cat to swipe out at enemies without getting too close, and allow cats to scamper up trees when avoiding predators. Without claws cats have to depend solely on their teeth to protect themselves, meaning they have to allow the predator to get dangerously close before they can make a defensive attack.
Claws are more also physically more than toenails. Cats are able to retract or extend their claws, something we cannot do with our toenails. In a normal, relaxed state cat’s claws are retracted and sheathed by the surrounding skin, fur and pads. This keeps the claws sharper longer. Cats also use their claws to help them grip things, such as food and toys. Additionally, Cats are digitigrades, which means they stand and walk on their toes (digits) instead of the soles of their feet. This means cats depend on their claws for walking, running and keeping their balance. Cats’ bodies are “naturally designed to support and distribute the cat’s weight across its toes as it walks, runs and climbs.”  This means that a declawed cat’s body is not able to properly support and distribute weight as it walks and runs.
Diagram of the cat claw from Declawing.com

Cats claws are technically not nails, they are an extension of the last bone in the foot. When a cat is declawed it involves amputating not just the nail but also the tendons, and ligaments around the bone. Declawing a cat is analogous to amputating your finger at the first joint. It is a painful surgery and can lead to a host of other issues. Many declawed cats become overly aggressive, trying to bite at the slightest provocation. Others develop litter box avoidance issues because of the pain in their toes, or the discomfort of litter getting lodged in the empty sockets where their claws were.     
Many people don’t realize that it is only the hook part of the claw that does damage to skin, furniture and fabric. Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed short is the best way to prevent serious damage to people or things without undergoing declawing surgery.  Giving your cat plenty of alternative surfaces to scratch is a great way to keep them from destroying your furniture.  An alternative to declawing, if your cat simply won’t go for the scratching post and you can’t bear the thought, or cost, of declawing is covering the cat’s nails with a little plastic cap. SoftPaws are the original brand of claw caps, you can apply them at home or have your vet do it. They are simply a little plastic cap that prevents your cat’s claws from doing any damage without painful and expensive surgery.


Small cat tree, perfect for kittens. Great for playing on as well as scratching!
The best way to keep your cat healthy and happy is by getting a good quality scratching post. Make sure it is a good material, most cats prefer a nice sisal material or plain wood, though some do prefer a carpeted scratching post. Try one out, if you cat doesn’t like it, you can always try one of the other materials. If you get a vertical post, make sure it is tall, at least four feet, so your cat has room to really flex those claws and muscles. One of our favorite posts is The Ultimate Scratching Post by SmartCat. This is a solid post covered in sisal, which allows the cats to really dig into it and destroy it. Younger cats can even climb to the top of it and oversee their territory from here! One of our volunteers has one that her cat loves to use, and it has stood up well, showing very little wear and tear. Prior to this one she had another Ultimate Post that lasted for the better part of ten years with three cats before it finally died.  Some cats prefer horizontal posts to vertical post, so if you find your cat scratching your carpet instead of that fancy post, trying getting him a horizontal cardboard post. Providing a good scratching post also provides the cat with a designated spot to leave his scent. 

Cats’ claws are an amazing part of their body, playing a much larger role than many people give them credit for. Yes, they can be painful when dragged across your skin, accidentally or intentionally, and they can cause damage to unsuspecting furniture. Isn’t it amazing though all the roles those little toes play in the life of a cat?


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adopt Me! of the week


One word from Sweeney’s foster mom sums him up – Cool!  “You can’t resist smiling when you come home to Sweeney, because he is just as happy (and smiling!) to see you,” proclaims his foster mom Julie.  “Once you decide to kick up your feet after work, you are guaranteed to have Sweeney underneath them or between them helping you relax.”  That’s not all, either.  “He likes to give kisses!”  There is nothing more endearing than that handsome black and white mug coming at you for a big smooch.  Sweeney even gets so excited that he chirps while he purrs, it’s almost like he just can’t control himself!
Sweeney almost didn’t get this second chance for life.  On a daily basis, Chicago Cat Rescue receives many ‘last call’ emails from nearby shelters that are high on animal relinquishments and low on adoptions.  Last call’s are sent to a vast network of animal rescuers in Chicago and more often than not, these emails are the animals’ last and only chance to be saved.  Sadly, not all last calls get answered.  Sweeney was a 'last call' cat.   He was abandoned at a heavily populated, rural kill-shelter with a slim-to-none chance of getting adopted.  Without the intervention of Chicago Cat Rescue, Sweeney would not be kissing his foster mom today. 

“Sweeney will steal your heart,” says Julie.  He is young, energetic and as playful as a kitten.  To balance his playful side, Sweeney also has a gentle ‘father-figure’ side as well.  Sweeney has a soft spot in his heart for kittens without a mom.  He befriended and helped to foster a 10-week-old kitten that his foster mom took in.  Sweeney immediately took the kitten under his wing and they grew to be the best of friends.  Uncle Sween, as his foster mom lovingly calls him, would be a wonderful companion for a young, energetic kitten.  It is atypical to recommend pairing a 2-year-old male with a kitten, but Sweeney is a unique cat.  With his silly kitten-like antics he would be a great playmate for a kitten, but also would be a cool ‘big brother’ – setting a good example for the kitten and showing him the ropes on what to do and, of course what not to do around the house.

If you would like to invite Sweeney to become part of your family, please contact Chicago Cat Rescue @ 773-203-0215 or cindy@chicagocatrescue.org.  Sweeney, of course, will be excited to meet you!

*Please cross-post and share.  Let’s find Sweeney a forever home!