Sunday, December 6, 2009

found a mammal (wildlife)

Found a mammal? See this page from the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

found a bird

Found a bird? Be careful; larger birds can hurt you. Don't try to feed it or water it; birds have some pretty specific needs so just immediately call one of these bird places.

Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation center has a bird hospital on Northerly Island. They even do bird pick-up; call 1-888-354-6827 to arrange. Here are their guidelines to what to do if you found a bird.

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors deal primarily with migratory birds that are injured, but they have a good network in place that can deal with domestic birds. Hotline: 773-988-1867.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finding a new home for my cat

Q: I have/know of a cat that needs a new home. Can you help me find it a new home?

HPC focuses its efforts on strays, TNR, and cats on the street. "Owner surrenders" are not within our mission.

Here is a very good guide from PAWS Chicago on Giving up your pet. It includes detailed action steps.

Before surrendering your animals to a facility you should exhaust your personal contacts. Don't hold back. While you are doing that, contact the no-kill shelters to get on the wait list.

Please understand that every shelter has lots of animals already. If you know you are planning on giving up your pet, think ahead. Your actions are the difference between life and death for your pet.

If the no-kill shelters are full, and you cannot place your animal yourself, you must surrender your pet to an open-door facility such as Animal Care and Control or Animal Welfare League.

PAWS Chicago has a Crisis Care Temporary Foster program: 773-475-9462. If you need food and supplies to tide you over until you find placement for the cats, or if that will help you keep your cats, please call PAWS' Pet Food Bank at 773-475-9426.

IT IS ILLEGAL AND INHUMANE TO ABANDON AN ANIMAL. Don't dump your animal on the street, park, etc.

If you are seeking a new home for an animal in an abusive environment, call the City at 311.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Q: I found a friendly cat outside. I think it is lost/hungry/stray/seeking a home. What should I do?

Hyde Park Cats would like to empower you to help the cat you have found. If you have found a stray cat, please follow the steps below.

First, ask yourself if you think this is not a stray cat, but your neighbor's cat who is out. Use your best judgment (is it filthy? struggling mightily to get your attention? skinny? no collar?). Keep your eye out for this cat. It might turn into a stray cat!

If you think it is a stray (lost) or homeless cat, we encourage you to help.

If you take the cat into your home, keep it separate from any resident pets. Place the cat in a small room with a litter box and food. A bathroom is a good option—something with a door and tile floors. Don't worry too much about a litter box. Cats will naturally use a box ... you can fill it with shredded newspaper if you can't get litter.

If you decide you want to keep the cat you should still attempt to find the owner, so:

  • Contact us about it (send photo please).
  • Place an ad in the Hyde Park Herald and
  • We'll advertise the cat in our lost-and-found section on Facebook and our lost-and-found coordinator will communicate with you to try and reunite the cat with a possible owner.
  • Take the cat to a vet to be scanned for a microchip. This is a free service.
  • Post fliers around the block where you found the cat.
  • Post fliers elsewhere (vet, pet market, grocery store).

    If you don't want to keep the cat, but can foster it for a while, during which time we seek adopters, we will help!

  • HPCats will feature the cat on the blog and petfinder
  • We will provide vet services
  • You will work with our Adoptions Coordinator to set up appointments with potential adopters

    If you can't keep the cat at all:

  • We may be able to place the kitty in a foster home. Availability is limited, but we try. It may take an hour or a week. We ask that you help us by taking the cat to the vet and having it scanned for a microchip and checked for general health, including information on age, gender, and possible spay/neuter status. Sometimes we are full up, but we always want to help stray Hyde Park Cats.
  • We strongly encourage you to help us find a foster home for the cat you have found. Our foster space is very limited. If you, the finder, can help out here, it dramatically increases our ability to help the kitty!

    If you want to bypass Hyde Park Cats:

  • Stray cats may be admitted to Treehouse Humane Society, a no-kill shelter. Space is limited. This is a wonderful shelter that only works with stray and abused cats. You cannot relinquish your own cat to Treehouse, but it's a great place to try and place a stray you have found.

  • You can try other shelters such as PAWS Chicago or a shelter from this list

  • Finally, City of Chicago Animal Care and Control, 2741 S. Western Ave., is open from 7am until 11 p.m. seven days a week for drop-off. Animal Welfare League is also available for drop off at either location (check website). These are not no-kill shelters. They may very well euthanize any animal brought in. However, we encourage you to bring a cat to one of these shelters rather than dumping an animal on the street.

    Please remember that Hyde Park Cats is a community organization made up of volunteers working on their own time. We are not paid for our work. We do not have a physical shelter but depend on foster homes and the goodwill and civic-mindedness of our community. We cannot always respond to immediate, urgent, or emergency needs.
  • Friday, September 18, 2009


    FIV is the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

    Virologists classify feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) as a lentivirus (or "slow virus"). FIV acts slowly, over a course of years, to erode a cat's immune system. It cannot be passed to humans, or dogs or any other animal than cats, and cat-cat transmission is possible only through deep bite wounds, infected gums, etc. It cannot be transferred by licking, sharing a litter box, etc. FIV+ cats can live long and healthy lives.

    Please read more about FIV in this page from Treehouse

    More good info from Best Friends

    FIV Quick Facts:

    FIV is not communicable to humans, dogs or other species.

    FIV+ cats are not sick. FIV is a virus that causes their immune systems to be compromised, but is not an illness itself.

    FIV+ cats' life expectancies are not significantly shorter than other cats that do not have FIV. With good care, they can live as long as any other cat.

    Adopting an FIV+ cat, does not mean that you will be spending more money on medical expenses than a non positive cat.

    FIV is transmitted from one cat to another by contact with bodily fluids, such as fighting among males that have not been neutered. Intact tomcats fight to hurt each other and inflict deep puncture wounds -- this is where the virus is spread. Normal playing, or even the occasional skirmish, is highly unlikely to cause infection.

    All cats require a high quality diet; FIV cats are no different. A high-quality diet will help your cat stay healthy.

    Some people believe FIV+ cats should not be vaccinated, since a vaccine is a "hit" to the cat's (already less than 100%) immune system. Please consult your veterinarian.

    As with any cat, FIV+ cats should be examined by a veterinarian annually, and get regular blood work and dentals as needed.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Help! I found a kitten!

    Help! I found a kitten!

    Mazel tov, you found a kitten.

    If the mother cat is with the kittens and seems to be in good health, super. She will do a lot of the work for you, and your task will be to make sure she's healthy by taking her to the veterinarian right away; next, that she's nursing all the kittens and attending to their cleaning.

    But what if you found just some kittens? Take them in. If they are outside they will grow up to be feral cats and contribute to the feral-cat problem. HOWEVER -- it is possible to use those kittens to trap the mother cat. Please let us know as soon as possible and we can try to set up a trapping situation.

    There are times when you find just a kitten and it seems like the right thing to do to bring it inside. Now you have to care for it! Your kitten should go as soon as possible to the vet for assessment and to get a dose of Revolution, which kills ear mites, internal parasites, and fleas.

    You can tell their age very approximately by several methods. If they still have their umbilical cords they are probably between 1 and 3 days old. If their eyes are still closed they are probably between 1 and 10 days old. By 10 days their eyes should be open. Open their mouths and look for teeth. Do you see little nubs coming in? About 2 weeks. Are they attempting to stand? Possibly 2 to 3 weeks. Are they starting to play? Figure their age at about 4 weeks.

    You'll want to arrange a "nest" for your kittens. This can be a carrier, a basket, or even a cardboard box lined with clean towels. If you have other cats in your home, the kittens MUST be isolated in a separate room, and you MUST wash your hands both before and after caring for them. It might be easiest to put them in a small room, such as a bathroom.

    Basic Needs of Newborn Kittens

    A chilled kitten can die quickly, and is considered a veterinary emergency. You can warm the kitten by holding it next to your own skin, or by using a heating pad, set to "Low", well-wrapped with a thick towel or flannel sheet. Make sure there is plenty of unheated surface in the box so the kittens can move away from the heat source if they become too warm. Feeding a chilled kitten can be fatal, so wait until its temperature is up to its normal range of 95° F to 99° F before attempting to feed it. If a kitten's temperature falls below 94° F it must be warmed gradually to avoid metabolic shock. At the same time, give it Pedialyte (the same stuff sold for human babies) to hydrate it and prevent shock.

    You'll need K.M.R. or equivalent, available from pet stores, and a feeder of some sort (either a bottle, syringe, or eye-dropper.) The K.M.R. box will include instructions for feeding by weight of the kitten. Tiny babies will need to eat as many as 12 meals around the clock, so plan on 2 a.m. feedings.

    At three weeks or so, you can start training the babies to eat food in a dish. Do so by mixing either dry or canned kitten food with the milk forumula and moosh it until it is a thick liquid. Go ahead and use your blender, and pretend you're making a milkshake. You'll probably need to "prime" the kitty by putting a bit of the mixture on your finger tip, then showing her the saucer. As the kitten learns to eat and enjoy her "mush", you can gradually reduce the amount of milk replacement forumla.

    Finally, she can graduate to solid kitten food. Ideally, you should start kittens out with a premium brand of canned kitten food. Canned food remaining in the can should be covered and refrigerated immediately after opening, and the next serving can be warmed in a microwave for just a minute or so. Uneaten canned food in the plate should also not be left out after the kitten has had her fill, as it can spoil rapidly. Since kittens' tummies are small, the best plan is to give four or five small meals a day. Some cat owners provide dry food to be eaten at will, supplemented with a small serving of canned food once or twice a day, however for optimum nutritional benefits, a canned diet is better.

    At the same time your kitten is learning to eat from a dish, she can also learn to drink water from a dish. Use a sturdy ceramic bowl and place it where the kitten can find it easily. You may have to dabble your fingers in the water at first to show the kitten what it is. Don't be surprised if there is a little splashing and water fun before kitty discovers it is to be taken internally.


    Nurturing consists of the various tasks the mother kitten would perform, and also includes bonding with the kitten.

    Elimination - Newborns need help in moving their bowels and flushing their kidneys. The mother cat does this by washing their tushies (bums) with her tongue. You can accomplish the same by holding the kitty (put a towel over your lap first) and gently stroking its body with a rough towel or wash cloth. Do the same thing with its abdomen and tush. You should be rewarded with a bowel movement after every meal and soon will not need to give this assistance.

    Kitty Massage - Same thing, only lightly stroke the kitty's whole body, starting with its head, around the cheeks and chin, shoulders, limbs, and finally back and belly. Massage is a good way to bond with your baby, and will prepare him for adapting more easily to a new home, if that is in his future.

    Grooming - The mother cat combines grooming with massage by using the rough tongue given her by nature. You can use a soft brush to brush your kitten's hair - another tool for bonding. Also, if very young kittens have fleas, use a flea comb to gently comb them out. (Be sure to put a towel or newspaper under the kitten to catch the fleas and flea dirt.

    The Litter Box

    Kittens will normally take to the litterbox as quickly as ducks to water. Use a low-sided box, like the lid to a shoe box would work. A pellet-type litter is generally recommended, but not the clumping style. Kittens will experiment with eating litter and the clumping type is murder on the intestines. Once the kitten starts eating on its own, just put her in the box around 15 minutes after eating. Scratch the litter a bit with your finger to show her what it's all about. If she hops out, put her back in again a couple times, then leave her alone. If she makes a mistake and poops on the floor, pick a small amount up and put it in the box to show her where it belongs. She'll get the idea sooner or later, and more likely sooner.

    Veterinary Care

    Newborns should be examined by your veterinarian at the earliest possible time. Litters from ferals or of unknown parentage often suffer from fleas and other parasites, and do not have the normal natural immunity passed on in early weeks from vaccinated mother cats. While kittens nursing a protected queen get their first "shots" around six to eight weeks, orphaned/feral kittens may be immunized at two to three weeks. Of course, kittens showing signs of distress, such as prolonged chilling, watery eyes or running nose, lethargy or failure to eat, should be seen immediately by a veterinarian.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Lost a cat (in Hyde Park)?

    Q: I lost my cat. What should I do?

    Email our Lost-and-Found Coordinator: so we can put the word out on our listserve, blog, and Facebook page! A picture is very helpful, of course.

    See this info from Lost and Pound

    But here is a Hyde Park-specific list of what to do:

    1. Make sure the cat is not in a closet, hallway, neighbor's apartment, etc. We have had many lost-cat reports where the cat was in the closet/foyer/neighbor's apartment.

    2. Quickly check all around your block. Bring food with you.

    3. Post fliers ASAP at 6-10 blocks. Include a picture and phone number ‘tags’. Do NOT put Hyde Park Cats contact info on your poster.

    A good description is very concise, and includes the following: color(s), pattern type, long-hair/short-hair, approximate age, male/female, where lost and when, microchip/collar, favorite food.

    NOTE: Fliers may be torn down within days of posting.

    4. Hyde Park Herald: they post notices only once a week. Deadline: Monday at 2pm. If your cat disappears on Tuesday, a lost notice won’t appear until the following Wednesday (8 days later).

    5. Post on craigslist,, the Chicago Reader (online and free)
    6. Don’t give up after two weeks, or two months. It may take someone several months to win your cat’s trust. Keep checking the papers.

    7. Visit shelters. Some have online photos of ‘adoptable cats’—check them out.

    8. Keep checking found notices everywhere. Don’t post lost notices and just wait to hear.

    9. Start locally, but remember—cats can jump into moving vans and ride cross country. Microchips are helpful here…but is a national website for lost pets.

    10. BEWARE OF SCAMS. Do not wire/send money to anyone. If you offer a reward, make sure you get your pet back first.

    11. Don’t assume any vet or shelter will call you if they ‘find’ your cat. They see too many cats. You must go to them to check.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    low-cost spay/neuter options?

    Q. Can I get help having my cat spayed/neutered? It's expensive.

    A. Several places in the city offer low-cost spay/neuter. We have looked for information for people with reduced incomes. Remember, spay or neuter now, no hassle with kittens later. Spayed/neutered pets live longer, happier, healthier lives.

    Hyde Park Cats cannot pay for spay/neuter surgery (or other medical care) for your pet cats. However, we may be able to help you with a ride or with information. Email us at

    Here are three good options:

    Anti-Cruelty Society
    157 Grand Ave., (312) 644-8338 ext.347 (office hours M-F 10a-4p).

    Cat spay/neuter $10, no proof of low income required, but distemper vaccination is required; if proof of vaccination is not available, distemper vaccination must be purchased for an additional $15. Rabies vaccination is also available for an additional $18. Forms of payment accepted: cash (no bill larger than $50) and all major credit cards. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. Clinic is open Monday through Friday. Drop-off time 8a-9p, pick-up time 5:30p-6p. Additional fees (if applicable): $15 to reschedule a cat appointment; $50 cash per animal left overnight. Minimum age/weight for spaying/neutering kittens: 3 mo/2 lbs minimum. Anticruelty Society will also spay/neuter any feral cats free of charge.

    Anticruelty Society will not perform surgeries without informed consent from the owner. If you are helping somebody with transport please keep this in mind.

    PAWS Chicago
    3516 W. 26th St., (773) 521-7729 (office hours: Su-Th 9a-5p).

    Cat spay/neuter free for Medicaid recipients living in Chicago, $25 for the general public. Proof of Medicaid status and Chicago residency required for free surgery. No prior vaccinations are required, but vaccinations may be purchased at $25 per shot for the general public or $12 per shot for Medicaid recipients or residents of zip codes 60617, 60619, 60620, 60621, 60628, 60629, 60636, and 60639. Forms of payment accepted: cash, personal checks with ID, MasterCard, and Visa. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. Clinic is open Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and selected Saturdays. Drop-off time: 6:45a-7:45a; pick-up time: 4p-5p same day. Additional fee (if applicable): $30 for animal left overnight. Minimum age/weight for spaying/neutering kittens: 8 weeks/2 pounds.

    Tree House

    1629 N. Ashland Ave., (773) 227-5535 office hours: usually 7a-6p Tu-Sa except holidays);

    [This is its new spay/neuter clinic at its Bucktown location. Tree House is no longer performing spay/neuter at its Rogers Park location except for Tree House resident cats.] Cat spay/neuter $40, or $25 if one can prove reduced income status: Medicaid card, WIC, Major VA, Disability, Section 8, Social Security Disability, etc. Vaccinations are not required, but it is recommended that clients' cats be vaccinated at least two weeks before surgery, because there may be unprotected feral cats in the clinic at the same time. Vaccinations may be purchased along with surgery at the following rates: one-year rabies shot, $12 for reduced income, $15 for general public; three-year rabies shot, $25/$30; FVRCP, $7/10. Forms of payment accepted: cash, checks, and credit cards. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. Clinic is open for cat surgeries Wednesdays through Saturdays. Drop-off time: 7:30a-9a; pick-up time: 4:30p-6p same day. Additional fee (if applicable): $25 for animal left overnight. Minimum age/weight for spaying/neutering kittens: 2 months/2 pounds.

    The Animal Care League

    1013 Garfield in Oak Park, (708)848-8155.

    The Animal Care League offers spay/neuter services for $30. Call for more information.

    The South Suburban Humane Society

    18349 S. Halsted in Glenwood, (708)755-1110

    The South Suburban Humane Society offers $55 neutering and $65 spaying services for dogs and $40 neutering and $50 spaying for cats. There are further reduced prices for certain zip codes.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    In the News

    Q: Where Can I Read More about HPC?

    Read more about Hyde Park Cats by clicking the links to newspaper articles about our group:

    1. From the Chicago Tribune:

    2. From the University of Chicago's Chicago Maroon:

    3. From the Chicago Weekly:

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Where can I get help with pet food?

    Q: I need help providing pet food to my pet(s). Where can I get help with pet food?

    The Animal Welfare League
    6224 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago.

    Offers a food pantry the last Thursday of every month from noon to 3 p.m. It is open to people age 65 and older, or those on public assistance. Call 773-667-0088 or go to Animal Welfare League website

    PAWS Chicago
    1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
    Call first for an appointment: 773-475-9426 or go to PAWS website

    Treehouse Humane Society, a no-kill cat shelter, 1212 W. Carmen Ave., Chicago, has a cat food pantry. Call 773-784-5488 x 221 or go to Treehouse website. Dog and cat food are both available.

    Paw Pals Inc, 131 N. 6th Street, Quincy IL.
    It operates Monday-Thursday 3:30-5:30 PM at . The phone number is (217) 228-7441

    Trap, Neuter & Return (TNR) FAQ


    We advise reading one of these excellent websites to learn more about TNR.

    Alley Cat Allies (a national organization)

    Treehouse (Chicago)

    PAWS Chicago

    Please attend a workshop on TNR/Helping Community Cats.

    TNR/Helping Community Cats Workshop Calendar


    Frequent questions:
    Where should I get a humane trap?

    You can borrow humane traps from Tree House or PAWS Chicago.

    How do I safely and humanely trap a feral cat?

    You should familiarize yourself with the trap before attempting to use it. It is important to NEVER leave a set trap unattended for more than a few minutes at a time.

    Plan to trap the night before or early the morning of your appointment (no appointment necessary for ferals at ACS).

    Trapping early in the morning or at dusk are the best times but it is most important to trap during the times when you normally see the cat or feed the cat. You may want to withhold food for a day or two before trapping to improve your chances of luring the cat into the trap with food.

    If you trap opossums, raccoons, skunks or other wildlife release them immediately.

    After you have the cat in a trap, keep him/her indoors where he will be safe from predators and the elements. Safe places include garages & sheds, inside a spare room in the home,possibly in a van (crack the windows for ventilation, and only use vehicles if the temperature outside are not too hot or cold). If you don’t have much space consider keeping the trap in the bathtub. Set up the area by lining the ground with a plastic sheet or tarp with newspapers on top. Make sure that all entrances to the room are closed.

    Do not give food to the cat the night prior to surgery. Cats should have an empty stomach to prevent nausea caused by the anesthesia. Water should be provided while the cat is not in transport. You can insert a small bowl of water into the end of the trap by slowly opening the back door and sliding it in. Feral cats will be afraid and will likely cower and hiss at the back of the trap. You can also use a bunch of wooden spoons -- insert them in the cage to form a bit of a barrier so the cat can't dart out. Quickly close the door when finished.

    Before transporting the cat to his appointment, remove the water bowl just as quickly and carefully as you placed it inside or you can use a wire hangar to spill the water out onto the newspaper if you don’t want to open the door again. You can also use an unbent wire hangar to slowly upright overturned bowls. Use a water bottle to fill the water bowl and slide in filled food bowls or drop the food in through the holes in the trap. A funnel may also come in handy.

    The cat will not die of dehydration overnight, so if in doubt, leave it out.

    How do I fit a litter box in the trap?

    With an adult cat in the trap, adding a litter box does not leave much space for food or for the cat to lie down. Those with small kittens may fit a small 9"x9" aluminum baking pan or a similar small container filled with litter through the rear of the trap (the side with the flat back panel). Feral cats/kittens may or may not use the litter box.

    It's easier & more convenient to let the cats eliminate onto the newspaper beneath the trap. They will usually use the back of the trap, since their food is at the front. When it is time to clean up, place fresh newspaper next to the trap, pick it up and place it on the fresh newspaper. Roll up the soiled paper and toss it in the garbage.

    After the cat has been released, the traps will have to be disinfected. Hose & bleach them down outside your home, or you can bring them to a carwash.

    Can I trap during winter?

    Yes. Winter is a good time to trap because there is a lull in breeding, especially in colder climates like here in Chicago. If you can get a colony finished before February or March it will be well worth it. Peak breeding season starts in February. Keep your shaved females inside at least three days post-surgery.

    How should I care for the cats after surgery?

    The cats must be kept warm and dry since they will not be able to regulate their body temperatures after surgery. Ideally, they would be kept at room temperature. If that's not possible, they can be kept in a garage or shed with blankets wrapped around the traps, leaving an opening for air circulation. You can also stuff a towel or small blanket in the trap as an extra comfort. You may want to use portable heaters and heat lamps in cold weather conditions but be sure to keep them away from flammable objects.

    It is also a good idea to elevate the traps off the ground a few inches by placing the trap on 2x4s or on a wide & sturdy bench or table, or put several layers of carpet remnants, cardboard or something similar on the ground and cover with plastic sheets, topped off with newspaper to provide insulation.

    Remember to keep newspaper on the floor of the trap and under the trap to absorb waste. It is also extremely important to make sure that the cats get plenty of water to prevent dehydration and they should be eating well and eliminating before release.

    How long should I wait before releasing the cats back to their territory?

    If all goes well, we recommend keeping males for one day during warm weather and 2 days during winter. Females usually need at least one day more than males. Keep cats in their traps for the recovery period. Generally, if the cats are eating, drinking and eliminating regularly they should be ready for release.

    Please understand that it is detrimental to the cat’s mental and physical health to keep them inside for any longer than necessary. Confining a feral cat for longer periods can be detrimental to the cat's mental, and therefore physical, well-being. As long as the sutures are still in place and there is no excess bleeding they should be ready to go in a day or two. If you have any doubts, call the facility where the surgery was performed. Be sure that the cats eat and drink plenty before releasing them since they may stay away for a few days after being released.

    Should I trap a pregnant cat?

    Yes, we recommend trapping and spaying pregnant cats. Remember, Animal Care and Control euthanizes more feral kittens than any other animals and shelters are flooded with kitten admission requests throughout the year. Female kittens may start to mate as young as four months of age, and the queens may start to mate again about 8-10 weeks after delivery. It is important to understand that the cat is not emotionally connected to her unborn kittens. She reproduces out of instinct. If anything, birthing kittens brings more stress to her life as she needs to work hard enough just to survive on her own.