The Juicy Tell-All of Harry Potter the Adoptable Cat – Part 1

adoptable cat Harry Potter
But mom, it wasn’t me!

OK here is the biggest deep dark secret of Harry Potter, our foster cat.  The kind of secret that you would only ever learn from a cat that’s being fostered in someone’s home, with an honest foster mom.  Harry Potter will eat bread, still in the bag, like he’s starving and he hasn’t eaten in years.  Seriously.

He will scarf down big pieces of many slices so that by the time you find him having his pig out binge-fest you need to throw away a few slices.  He’s had a bread binge fest twice in the month or so we’ve had him.  The first time we were so shocked because we’ve never seen a cat do that.  The second time we just forgot to put the bread away, so then we decided to keep the loaf we’re using in a tupperware and that’s been a good solution.

So there you go.  Now you know the worst.  Stay tuned for more juicy tell all about this amazing, loving, mellow, get-along cat who needs to find his forever home.  Oh and here’s Harry Potter’s writeup and video on

People finding their lost pets & shelter stories

beagle/basset wearing ID
Our son Odie sporting his ID tag

A few years back I used to volunteer at Animal Care and Control in Chicago, on Western Ave near 27th St.  I was there for around three years and for much of the time I was doing paperwork.  Why travel across town every week to do paper work at an animal shelter?  Well it turns out that nearly every one who volunteers at an animal shelter wants to be hands-on with the animals, so no one wants to help with the paperwork.  It is critical work and when I was there it could wait a week before someone got to it.  The paperwork was at the front desk, trying to locate the owners of stray cats and dogs that had come in with ID tags or microchips.  It’s very detail oriented work, and more often than not you cannot locate the owner, which is another reason it wasn’t an appealing job to most.  For example do you know how many stray dogs come in to the shelter wearing personal ID tags showing numbers that are no longer in service?  It is so common.  Do you know how many people microchip their pet but then do not keep the microchip company current with up to date contact info?  That said there are some reuniting stories I will never forget.

Once I was calling the owner’s phone number on record for a microchip, saying the general statement about where I was calling from, we have your dog, ya-da ya-da ya-da.  The guy I called thought it was some kind of joke, or a scam.  I assured him that it was not, and that I had lots of people to call and would not be making up stories.  He finally believed me and told me that his family had lost this dog over a year ago, and had never ever given up hope.  He said they had made a little shrine to their dog on their fireplace mantle and had been praying every single day for their pet’s return.

The shelter only has set hours that you can come in to claim your pet so I was gone when they came in and got back their dog, but I can imagine the reunion.  I’ve seen enough of them.  Generally they walk down the rows of cages, and once their pet sees them he goes absolutely crazy with happiness.

cat wearing ID tag
YoYo doesn't mind his collar as long as it's a little loose

Tomorrow Lorenzo is bringing our dog Odie to our vet for a check up, a routine test, and vaccinations.  Then I will submit his rabies vaccination info to the city for a new city dog tag.  I cannot put enough ID on Odie, after all I have witnessed working for Animal Care and Control.  His microchip company is Home Again, and they have our current and accurate contact info which I have confirmed.  He has a collar w/personal ID tag with our current phone numbers always on his neck unless he’s in bed with us at night.  We walk him on a harness so as not to stress his collar so it will always remain strong and carry his ID.  He is never in the yard without us being there too.  Our four cats are indoors only and all have AVID microchips and AVID has our current contact info.  The cats that will tolerate it wear collars with ID tags too.

So if you want to read more reunion stories you can check out the Home Again website.  I just realized today that they keep record of a lot of the stories, and I love reading those.

Smokey Adjustment Period Begins

black cat sleeping
Smokey's favorite spot in the house

So far we are resolving issues as they arise with Smokey.  We give him time in and out of his kennel cage, so he, our other animals, and we can continue to adjust.  Fortunately he is very food motivated, so a little kibble placed into the kennel and in he goes.

On his first morning out of the cage he emptied his bladder on a thick dish drying towel that was on our counter.  We know it was just because he was too anxious to go to a litter box, and feeling threatened.  Then sometime during the night he “marked” one corner of the house with a little pee, which fortunately our beagle/basset hound found right away this morning so I could clean it.  I have bought extra litter boxes, strategically placed, and Lorenzo bought a dish rack now instead of an inviting towel on our counter top.  It’ll just take more time and good strategy but it’ll be fine.

Now he is asleep in his favorite window spot, which he steals from our boy YoYo.  That was YoYo’s all time favorite spot, so we are working on creating new happy places for YoYo.  Oh and by the way I didn’t even know he had that other little tuft of white hair by his belly until I saw this photo!  Considering this is all so new, everyone is doing pretty well.

Smokey the cat makes his rounds, first hour

black cat on kitchen counter
Smokey enjoying temporary counter privileges

We finally got lab results that Smokey no longer has any intestinal parasites, so we opened up Smokey’s cage this evening and let him out just over an hour ago.  As you can see in the photo, we are being lenient and allowing him on the kitchen counter, but only for the first 24 hours.  We want to go easy on him until he gets used to using the communal litter boxes.  So far he hasn’t found the communal boxes but he probably will soon.  His cage is still open so he could use his old box.  He pretty much already knows the cats so there’s only been a little growling between them.  He still hasn’t picked his hang out spot yet, and keeps walking around inspecting everything.  I’ll be watching things closely for the next day or so.  Wish us luck!  🙂

Cat #1 becomes Smokey, our new cat “son”

Smokey catching up on his sleep

This is an update to our Humane Cat Trapping Project.  Yesterday we brought our trapped cat “Cat #1” to the Tree House spay/neuter clinic.  We had arranged for them to keep him overnight after the surgery, and we picked him up this afternoon.  The best news is that he tested negative for both FIV and FeLV, two cat viruses.  They said overall he seems healthy, and is between 1-2 years old.  He is 10 lbs.  For now, Lorenzo has named him Smokey.

We brought him home and he went from the trap to a big dog cage we have that will be his home for at least the next week.  We have to make sure he does not have intestinal parasites before he is allowed to be out loose in the house.  He hisses less and less now.  Our other cats come by to see him and there is a little hissing our growling on one side or the other, but nothing major.  We have a huge litter box in his cage and he used it almost immediately, which is great.  The first time I opened his cage to scoop litter he gently tried to get out and meowed twice.  That’s the first time we’ve heard him meow.  I didn’t let him get out, but I did pet him for a few moments which he allowed, twice on the head, twice on the neck, once on the cheek.  That was the first time I pet him, so that’s exciting too.  We’re keeping him.  This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!  🙂

Got him! We just trapped “Cat #1″

outdoor cat in humane trap
Cat #1 trapped and in our home!

This is also known as Humane Cat Trapping Project Day #8, and our third blog post on this project so far.  Our clinic appointment is tomorrow bright and early so thank goodness we really did trap Cat #1 tonight!!!!  We trapped him about an hour ago.  He is not a very big guy, and all black with a tiny tuft of white fur at his neck.  I brought his trap into my home office, my floor protected with a large tray and newsprint in the tray.  I used a “trap comb” to partition his trap safely and give him more tuna and water on one end, and a clean towel on the other end, while preventing his escape.  He can’t eat any tuna after midnight in preparation for his neuter surgery, but I’m sure he has already finished it.  He has hissed a few times but other than that does not seem to need to hide from us.  We took the sheet off of one end of the trap and he did not wriggle back under cover.

Tomorrow I will bring him, still in his trap, to the Tree House clinic and we will learn much more about him.  We really don’t even know for sure his gender, but we’ll know all sorts of things by this time tomorrow!  Stay tuned…..

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.

YoYo The Wonderful Cat

We love all of the animals in our home. There’s Zen, Bambi and YoYo the three cats and Odie the COO of Barney’s Home Dog  Boarding. The most photogenic of the bunch has to be YoYo. The others have really endearing qualities but YoYo is the glamour boy.

Janet has blogged about YoYo before so some of you may remember him. He is a three year old “american shorthair” as our Vet Dr. Dickus describes him. He’s very vocal, demands a lot of attention and is quick to gobble up his sister’s food. He’s also so cute I find myself picking up a camera to snap his photo all the time. I’ve decided to take some of those shots that I have tweaked in various graphics applications and post them in our Etsy store.

These are the first three but there will definitely be more. Stay tuned for more adventures of our little feline prince.