What does CatVando do?

CatVando works toward the humane management and reduction of street cats, stray and feral, through a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program. We work with communities to address the issue of street cats, provide support to cat care givers and use the opportunity to teach respect for all of life and can help to counteract violence at it’s core. As a Cook County Sponsoring Agency, we are authorized to coordinate, establish and register feral cat colonies and their caretakers. CatVando has volunteered to do this and we do not receive any funding from the county. 

  • Work with individuals, communities and municipalities to perform and coordinate TNR efforts.
  • Provide education about TNR, free-roaming cats and cat deterrents.
  • Provide TNR assistance and equipment for yard or neighborhood cats.
  • Assist and encourage getting indoor cats (and dogs) spayed or neutered and vaccinated and connect to low cost spay/neuter, vaccination clinics.
  • Feed multiple colonies, while seeking and educating feeders or ‘Colony Managers.’ 
  • Work with youth groups, churches, and mentoring groups to build cat shelters.
  • Free trap/neuter/spay training is held in various communities. We also lend people humane traps. Many other organizations charge a fee.  

How did CatVando first start?

In 2004, founder Ellen Miles moved to Maywood, Illinois, where cats were trying to get into her home. Ellen learned the previous occupants had been feeding them. Over the next 4-5 months, she took 19 cats to be neutered or spayed from her yard. Ellen met another individual who had been feeding cats in the early morning hours in her neighborhood. Together they TNR’d 55 cats in 2005. CatVando was born out of those efforts. TNR evolved into so much more, as cries for rescue and medical help poured in. So additionally, we care for many sick, injured, lost or abandoned companion cats, waiting for their forever homes and ferals. Currently, CatVando has 315 registered colonies.

We serve a number of diverse, low-income communities. Physical ability of caretakers vary but many are seniors. We are often the first line of rescue in these streets: the only resource for the communities, cats and those who love them. CatVando is hands-on, helping caregivers who are elderly, handicapped or at an economic disadvantage and can’t afford the veterinary fees, such as trapping cats, taking them to the vet for neutering/spaying, feeding or supplying food, financial assistance, adoptions and more. Too many times seniors misunderstand and initially resist our assistance. Years of threats and complaints to municipalities have taught them not to trust. Many times the cats are these folks only connection with the outside world.