As the winter begins to fade and the sun begins to thaw the frozen ground, we in the CaM household reflected on the cats and kittens we were able to save during this frigid time in the northern United States. Many a frosty night were spent buried beneath mounds of worry for the felines that were avoiding our traps not knowing this was our desperate attempt to save their deserving little lives.
One of our most difficult and memorable was that of Graycie the kitten, a tiny gray female fluff-ball that certainly gave us a run for our money!
Graycie was a feral kitten born in a site referred to as the “Carpet Warehouse”. This unfortunate spot has been the breeding ground for a colony of feral cats for many years. Our friends, Diane and Deb have been trapping and saving cats here in the hopes of shutting down this enticing cat habitat. Since June of 2016, they have pulled over 50 cats from the location!!!
Graycie had been spotted a couple of weeks earlier, but continuously eluded our traps, like the “wily” cat we believe to be her mother. She was thought to be from a second litter, from the same Mom… the first litter of kittens we WERE able to trap, foster and adopt out over the summer months – Jess named them the “Earp Kittens” after one of her favorite Sci-fi TV shows.
We never gave up on Graycie, her mom or any other cats seen at the warehouse and went back many, many times but would go days without seeing anything. We were heartsick to think that something may have happened to the helpless felines.
In early November, as the chilly winter descended on Northern Illinois, Deb spotted both cats back at the warehouse! We set cat and kitten sized traps but were unsuccessful for days at trapping either… a video trap camera was set up overnight in the below freezing temperatures, where we were able to catch a glimpse of the miniature grey ninja…and a sneaky raccoon with a taste for cat food. Each day, the team would take turns baiting traps and returning after a few hours in the hopes there would be a full cage, but day after day we were let down. However in the life of a cat rescuer, giving up is not an option!
Then on an (appropriate) FURiday night November 10th, Chris set a kitten trap around 7:00 pm returning a couple hours later to find little Graycie huddled in a corner of the blanket covered cage! He quickly got the kitten into the heated car and made the exciting call to Diane to let her know they had FINALLY succeeded in at least part of their current mission. Graycie was ushered to Diane’s pajama clad home/sanctuary where she happily took the frightened kitty into her foster family. It’s never too late in the night to accept a kitty in need =)
Graycie was cleared with the vet over the next days and began to see that humans and inside living wasn’t so bad after all. Her luck was about to change for the better even more so, when we contacted a local group that agreed to help further.
The Kitten Academy, “Where kittens learn to cat”, is an AMAZING group that has opened their home to fostering kittens and cats until they’re able to be adopted. They have 24 hour webcams for fans all over the world to watch the adorable felines learning, growing and interacting with other kittens. It’s an awesome way to really get to see the purrsonalities of the cats emerge in a non-caged environment. They agreed to take Graycie in to their loving home and exponentially helped her chances at finding the perfect furever home.
Diane, Deb, Chris and Jess made the short drive to the Kitten Academy on November 15th to deliver Graycie to her temporary home and visit the inspiring rescue group that runs the academy.
After a few hesitant days, Graycie warmed up to her fellow fosters and quickly gained lots of attention online with her gorgeous coat of fuzzy gray fur and adorable little face. Once she “graduated”, a.k.a. was old enough to be spayed, she was officially put up for adoption. Graycie and another of her playmates, Finch, were luckily adopted TOGETHER into a loving home and are enjoying life together…warm and happy.
***UPDATE – On December 3rd 2017, another miracle occurred and Diane was able to finally trap the mother cat of the countless litters! She was named Faith, as Diane explains “I had faith I’d catch her one day!”. She was quickly spayed and after only a few days also began openly trusting Diane, thoroughly enjoying chin scratches. These are the stories that make rescuing worth it and don’t allow us to even consider giving up!