Humane Cat Trapping Project – Intro & Day 3 Report

baited cat trap for trap rehearsal feeding
Tempting trail of tuna for humanely trapping a cat!

This is a photo of the trap we are using in our humane cat trapping project.  We have the trap on loan from Tree House Humane Society.  Lorenzo and I have been contemplating adding a fourth cat to our animal family for a while now.  Recently we have decided to trap our next pet cat, since there are plenty of abandoned cats roaming around our neighborhood, though some people may not realize it.  I find trapping cats really fun and exciting.  You never know which cat you will get, since in most cases there are many roaming around you haven’t seen.  You have to plan and prepare, all things which I love.  It’s a combination of a good deed and a fun adventure.  I personally trapped our pet cats Zen and Bambi back in late 2006.  There’s more info on those trappings on my site

This photo shows the basics about how we bait our trap, shown with no sheet for illustration purposes.  Right now we are in the “trap rehearsal” phase, where our trap is rigged to stay open no matter what using several zip ties.  It’s a tuna buffet essentially that we bait every evening with fresh smelly canned tuna, packed in oil.  Once we are ready for the real trapping night, we will remove the zip ties so that the cat will get safely trapped when he steps on the “put paws here” part, labeled in the photo.  The first night the tuna remained undisturbed.  For night two, last night, I got rid of the old tuna and replaced with new tuna.  Success!!!  By 12:30am just after midnight I noticed that all the tuna had been eaten.  I can check the trap right from our apartment window with a flashlight, the height of convenience!

We will continue to bait the trap every evening, to train our mystery meat eater (hopefully a cat) to return each night.  I have a call into Tree House Humane Society’s spay/neuter clinic to make a spay/neuter appointment.  We are hoping for an appointment for next Wed 11/9/11 but we’ll see.  We will be trapping our cat the night before the spay/neuter appointment, and will bring him/her to the clinic in the morning still in the trap.  Stay tuned to our blog posts for the next week or two.  I will be updating our readers as things develop!!!  If you want lots more detailed info on trapping, socializing feral kittens, etc. you can check which is very complete, and as I said details some trapping I did in 2006 and 2007.

What I learned at my CAPS meeting tonight

McGruff drawing
I am choosing to be more informed

This was my first CAPS meeting I’d been to in at least 10 years if not longer, and the second CAPS meeting ever.  It was more interesting than I remember, actually.  It was pretty short, only 50 minutes long, and throughout the meeting they discussed specific addresses and what disturbances have been noted there, either by police or citizens.  Many people came prepared with specific addresses and info, and the police were very informed and on the ball about it all.  They said our CAPS meeting is generally the most attended in the whole city.  Good for you Beat 17!  Beat 17 is part of Albany Park and Irving Park neighborhoods.

Is it more disturbing to know literally what crime has occurred in your area recently, or not know at all?  Honestly I am more disturbed now that I know, but I think after a good night’s rest the disturbing part will subside entirely.  It was nice to be around so many citizens who care about keeping their streets safe.  I think being more informed will encourage me to be more aware and I believe that those two things together will translate into increased safety.  I love my Albany Park neighborhood, more than any other Chicago neighborhood I’ve lived in.  I think it’s the tree lined streets and the variety of small homes and larger apartment buildings, and all the different front yards and porches each with their own unique character and personality.  So my CAPS meeting was time well spent, and I will go again next month.  Thanks to Martha Hack, our CAPS citizen rep who helped spread the word and let me know about the meeting.  If you want to find out what Chicago police “beat” you live in, and when the CAPS meetings are for your “beat” then you can go to this link. Here’s another link with basic info about CAPS.

The Crater- mostly vanquished, ditch & protruding metal thingie remain

photo of a patch in an alley
The crater has mostly been patched

Today as I was driving home, through the alley to my garage, it occurred to me that there was backtop patch in the alley!  It had been fixed!  I actually yelled, laughed, and hollered all at once.  🙂  (See the blog post above this one for more on the crater that was eating the alley).

alley photo
Note the ditch w/puddle in the center of the photo

I went back to examine and take photos, and I saw that there was still a muddy ditch next to their patch.  Why didn’t they finish?  Also that big piece of metal that sticks out menacing my tires is still there too.  I took a good photo of it in the post above this one.  Hmmmm.  So, it’s a victory for civic involvement, for calling in issues to 311 and organizing neighbors and getting them to call.  But is it a total victory?  What do you think?  I will say it is easier to navigate than before, and a ditch with a metal tooth is better than a growing crater with a metal tooth.  Thanks for calling 311, and for “liking” my facebook post.  Yay for Chicagoans who take action!

Huge crater eating a Chicago alley for years- Resident apathy or City incompetence?

photo of alley pothole turned crater in Chicago
No longer a pothole, this is a crater eating the alley

Here is a crater eating the alley near our home in Albany Park, Chicago.  I had assumed this was a case of Chicago city incompetence, but when I was out photographing it for this blog, I interviewed a few residents and they all said they had never called the city about it.  Two were private home owners whose homes and garages are just feet north of this crater.  One said “We don’t hang out there, so we didn’t call.”  The other said “I don’t drive that direction” in the alley, so she didn’t call either.  Another resident with his garage further up the alley also said he had never called.  He agreed that it was a big issue, and that the crater had been there for “at least two or three years” and that it had been getting “bigger and deeper.”

alley crater in Chicago
another view of the same crater, alley east of 4415 N Drake Ave

Here’s another view of the same crater, this time facing south in the alley.  This view shows buildings that are right on the north side of Montrose Ave, which include a City of Chicago Streets and Sanitation building.  I learned at my recent Town Hall meeting that Streets & San does not handle pot holes, but maybe they handle craters?

It takes a village to fix a crater.  Help me to get this fixed.  I have called 311 to report this on 3/23 and again 4/1.  Please call 311 to report it too.  Here’s what you will need to know for the call:  It’s in the alley just east of 4415 N Drake Ave, between Drake Ave and St. Louis Ave, and the majority of the alley is regular road pavement except for the big, growing crater.

photo of crater in alley
Watch your tires! the metal piece sticking up out of the edge of the crater

Here’s an additional special feature of the crater.  It has a big piece of metal sticking up out of it.  It’s shown in this photo, just above my women’s size 10 sneaker which I included for perspective.  I’d love to know why the heck it’s there, but more than that I’d love it gone so I don’t have to worry about hitting it and risking my tires.

So show me that some Chicagoans care.  Show me you can call 311 and ad your voice, comment on the blog or “like” or share this on facebook.  I will be sending this blog post to my alderman, and to a Channel 2 facebook account.  I will be doing updates on this, and hopefully one day the crater will be gone.  Help me vanquish the crater!

What I learned at tonight’s Town Hall Meeting plus a free gift

Tonight I went to a Town Hall Meeting for the 17th Police District of Chicago, where we live.   I confess I figured I would be bored to tears, but fortunately I was wrong!  We heard about crime statistics, saw PowerPoint slides with writing way too small, and heard from the new Police Commander who seemed capable.  The CAPS guy definitely made an effort at humor, and everything moved along pretty well.

car anti-theft device
Free steering wheel anti-theft device, plus free candy

So we were offered free anti-theft devices for our car steering wheels which I thought was neat.  Who knew you would get a free gift at the meeting?   Mine is in this photo, along with some peppermint candies that were in a Streets & Sanitation handout about rat control.  No really!  😉

I think my one take-away was that car theft is up 40% nationwide and locally.  I didn’t realize that.  Also to my surprise, they said the Honda Civic and Accord are the number one stolen cars, years 1994-1998, both nationwide, in Chicago, and in our 17th district.  These cars are stolen for the parts.  They were discussing how people can break into your garage doors too.  Delightful.  I am entertaining the idea that ignorance is not actually bliss.  I will go to some CAPS meetings now, to see what else I learn.  Hopefully I will meet some nice neighbors too.