Winter 2017 in the suburbs of Northern Illinois. Temperatures were registering at -6 °F with the real feel of -18 °F! When the frosty breeze blows north of the Windy City it can feel like razor blades on your skin and frostbite can set in within 30 minutes.
It’s a common misconception that cats and dogs are more resistant to cold weather than people because of their fur, but it’s not true. They are also susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite and chemicals like antifreeze that can be on the ground where they walk, possibly ingesting, are toxic.
Knowing the dangers of winter for animals, when we were contacted by a local woman who had been feeding 2 feral/abandoned cats since the summer but was unsuccessful in trapping them, we knew we had to help any way we could. Temperatures were continuing to drop, snow was accumulating and time was running out!
The two cats had been living around her home and under a nearby trailer in their community. She had named the tabby cat, Clarence and the all black cat, Midnight. When we brought her traps to borrow we were able to spot the cats at a distance but they were skittish. A plan was made and the traps were placed near shelters the woman had made that held heating pads and at least a small respite from the frigid weather.
Then a New Year’s MIRACLE occurred! Chris received a call around 6:15 am on the 1st of the year saying Clarence had been caught!!! He was brought over to our house immediately and set up in our garage in a larger cage, complete with covered bed, heating pad and heater aimed at his slowly warming body. He was a pretty vocal kitty but settled in comfortably to the layers of blankets.
AMAZINGLY, that very same afternoon Midnight was also trapped! She joined her buddy in our garage, receiving her very own “suite”, again with a multitude of fuzzy blankets, a heating pad and personal heater. We were so grateful this happened as even during the middle of the day, the food that was in the trap with her had frozen within the short time it was exposed to the elements.
Both cats were very friendly and by that night, Chris was able to pet both of them leading us to believe that they had been someones pets at one time and abandoned or in many cases put outside when a family member passes away and no one wants to take responsibility for the animals. Both very sad and unfortunate circumstances either way…
The next day came with a dreaded “V.E.T.” shhhhh…. visit where were learned that yes, Clarence was a male and Midnight was female. They were both approximately 3 years old, BOTH FIXED which was a blessing but neither of them were micro-chipped. Vaccinations and blood work were done and all results came back clear =) We checked with Animal Control and sadly no reports of missing cats matched their descriptions.
A local pet supply store, Lady Moxie’s in Woodstock, IL stepped up and offered to temporarily house the cats in their location at which they also hosted adoption events. Both cats settled in well in the friendly atmosphere that also had a couple “store cats” to help show them they were FINALLY in a safe place.
On January 21st, after sharing their story and posts on Facebook, we were contacted by a woman who ended up driving over an hour to adopt BOTH CATS! … IT WAS THE PURRFECT HAPPY ENDING! Clarence became “Sir Clarence” and Midnight was renamed “Lady Moxie” in tribute to the store that helped give them a new chance at life. This was even more fitting as we learned that this local small business sadly closed it’s doors at the end of February 2018. They never stopped doing as much as they could for the community right up until their last business days.
These days Clarence and Lady Moxie are living in their warm indoor fur-ever home; quick to take over the hearts…and bed…of their new human servants.