man trapping cats in Chicago.
So much has happened in the last week, I’m not sure where to start. I suppose the beginning is a good place. This past Tuesday night, I was in bed perusing my facebook feed and came across a post from Chicago Animal Care and Control. The post was something to the effect of, “there is a man in Chicago trapping and dumping cats at our shelter.” Confused, I fell into a black hole of rescue information.
There are basically three types of outdoor cats: feral, stray, and family pets. Feral cats are cats born into the “wild” and are generally too afraid of people to be handled. There are a lot of opinions in the rescue community about what to do with these cats but most people agree with the Trap, Neuter, and Release program. Their ear is clipped so you can identify them as vetted cats. The goal of this program is to bring the cats to a veterinarian for rabies and neutering and then release them back to their territory. These are well adapted to the outdoors and help control the rat population. You can learn more about TNR and how you can be a colony caretaker here.
Stray cats are cats that were at one point a family pet but either were abandoned or wandered from home. These cats generally are friendly towards people and can be adopted. The goal would be to reunite the stray with its family or find it a new home.
The last category is family pets. Now I know for a fact that my Roni and Cheese wouldn’t make it very long on the streets of Chicago. They’re used to that pampered lifestyle. However many families do let their cats outdoors to roam around the neighborhood, often to the dismay of their neighbors. This is where the Chicago cat trapper is stepping in and stepping on the community’s toes.
As of last Friday, Disgrase Feyler has brought over 40 cats to Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC). He says he is doing it to “prove a point” and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Now, what exactly that point it, is slightly debated as I’ve heard a couple of versions. Some say he’s trying to show the City of Chicago how many outdoor cats there are. Some say he’s afraid the cats can’t make it through the winter, while others say he’s upset his neighbors’ cats are wandering through his gardens and eating songbirds.
The fact that he is the founder of Snowball Animal Rescue stuns people as most agree he is not helping the welfare of these cats. He is catching all different three types of cats, feral, stray and family pets without discretion. He is not helping CACC return the cats to their territory, he’s not assisting with the rehoming of cats, and he’s most certainly putting a burden on the city shelter. A facility with a capacity of about 150, the city shelter now has more than 200 cats in their care. This leads to a bad situation for the cats as space needs to be freed up in order to care for new arrivals.
This past weekend, I worked with ALIVE Rescue to pull 12 cats from CACC for adoption. Of the 12, two were cats brought in by Disgrase. Both of these kitties were sweet and healthy cats who may have already had a home. Unfortunately, nobody called or inquired to claim them so they were kept at CACC until we could get take them. Those looking for lost cats can look for them here. The City of Chicago is urging cat owners to keep their pets indoors until the situation is under control.
CACC is calling on the community to help in the efforts of saving these cats. Rescues like ALIVE and the CatCade are stepping in and pulling as many cats as they can afford to take. The CatCade brought in five cats and now has 28 at their arcade oasis. Well beyond their capacity, but they couldn’t turn their backs when Chicago cats needed them most. To help the CatCade care for these cats, click here.
The city is appealing to its residents now more than ever. There’s no better time to foster or adopt. Contact ALIVE or any shelter if you are able to care for a cat while the craziness is sorted. If you can’t bring a feline friend home, consider donating your time, money, or supplies. Really, truly anything helps in caring for the cats of Chicago.
My time spent with ALIVE Rescue at CACC was eye-opening and inspiring.The staff and volunteers at the city shelter really do care for these animals and want them to find the best homes. It was an emotional and hard day, but by focusing on what we accomplished, I felt more inspired than ever. Thank you to those who donated money to the ALIVE campaign, we really couldn’t have done it without your help. I’ve shared a few photos below of our day and journey of saving 12 cats.
Please share this post or any information about the cat situation here in Chicago. The more awareness we create, the better chance our cats have at finding their happily ever after.
Have any comments or questions? Let me know in the comment section below.
A big thank you to Claire, Truman the Giant’s mom for coming along on this emotional journey and capturing all the photos below.
Psst: this Cat Mom AF tee is available here: