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Cats that don t shed and can stay home indefinitely - or at least for a year or two - are making a huge comeback, reports the Chicago Tribune.
"Feral cats are coming into my house," says Sue Ondrus, a Chicagoan. "My husband sees them, but I don't. They're not bothering me, but I'm starting to find cats on my car. They're even getting into our trash."
The Tribune reports that at least two feral cats were recently rescued from a garbage truck and taken to the Humane Society, where they will eventually be adopted into forever homes.
"I don't know what to do with them," says one woman, who took the feline in. "I guess I'm supposed to have them up on my back porch and put food out for them."
It sounds easy enough to do, but many of these abandoned felines have been left to fend for themselves since they were young kittens. When people leave them, they often end up hungry, lost, and in need of medical care. The Humane Society advises that you can't fix these little problem felines, but they can be given a good home.
Feral Cat Rescue (from where this cat above came), a local animal shelter, says it is also seeing an increase in adoptions. "I've had more calls this summer than I did last year," says Farrar. "We're trying to have a feline room, to have kittens to take care of."
The Humane Society's director of animal care, Lisa Miller, adds that the animals are usually pretty well fed by now, and are not in need of immediate medical attention. "We do have a couple of people who, they feed [the cats], they bottle-feed them," she says. "So the cats are getting fed."
The Humane Society is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, and they have volunteers who will come out and help with adoptions when someone is ready to claim a cat.
The shelter's website has additional advice for people who are concerned about animals running around. They say, "If you encounter an animal, leave it alone. If you think the animal is in need of medical care or you think the animal is an abandoned pet, contact local animal control or your local Humane Society. Contact your city animal control or humane society, or contact a local humane society to inquire about a rescue group near you that can assist in this area."
Other suggestions include "Please don't feed the animal. Also, please don't trap or harass it. If you are concerned about an animal in the area, please contact a local animal control or humane society."
The Humane Society does have some guidelines for pet owners: "Do not keep an animal if you have been bitten, are unsure of how to care for them or are planning to keep the animal as a pet."
In addition, they say, "There are many laws regarding pets in the U.S. Be aware of what your local regulations are and, if they differ from state to state, find out what they are."
And if someone has adopted a pet, they say, "Give your new pet some time to adjust. It may help to have a cat carrier and some toys with your new pet. Be sure your new pet gets out to enjoy a fresh air break, in the yard or on your deck, every day."
A few other tips from the Humane Society include "Leave the yard gate open for your new pet so it will feel secure in a familiar setting, and be sure to leave toys, food, water dishes and a litter box available for your new pet."
A lot of cities also have a specific pet code or ordinance for dogs. Check with your local animal control, humane society or city hall about their specific ordinance.
For more information, or if you or a loved one finds a baby in a tree, call the tree service company, contact a neighbor, contact animal control, or contact the Humane Society.
Be sure to keep a photo of the baby close by and contact the Humane Society. There, staff members can make sure the baby isn't abandoned or in a dangerous situation.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed "Baby on a Tree" as an example of an urban legend. We have since revised that wording and changed the story's headline to reflect the fact that most urban legends are not true. We regret the error.)
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Jason Scott covers state politics for the Gannett West Michigan newspapers and websites. He's known for his ability to hold politicians accountable and his creative use of social media to cut through the noise and shed light on issues that matter to his readers.
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