Friday, March 3, 2017

Guest Post - Saturday Sheryl!

The white kitty trapped yesterday and brought to clinic for spay turned out to be pregnant.  Great save, really.  Can you imagine giving birth under porch, in this cold, and trying to keep your babies alive?  The black kitty trapped yesterday also turned out to be a boy, unneutered, but he had a collar!!  I didn’t even notice the collar.  I’ve been feeding him for a while now too on Garson, but he stays far enough, apparently, that I’ve never seen the collar.  I released the boy today, and friend Valerie is going to try to see how white kitty socializes, maybe adopt out.

Injured cat on Pennsylvania and Fourth Street
He was close enough this morning, but I just couldn't get him.  
He is scared, and suffering.

Thank you Sunday Sheryl, for writing today's guest post, by giving me a break in writing (sometimes I just have nothing good to say!) Thanks Sheryl, for your loyalty.  You are a good 'soldier'  👅👤, and I am grateful for you.  xo

Cough, cough, COUGH!
For the first time in the 3½ years that I’ve been riding shotgun with Janine every weekend, I’ve had to call in sick. I feel guilty because if Janine was sick, she’d still go out and feed “her” cats. But of course, I’m not Janine and I’d be doing no favor by exposing her to whatever illness I have.

I don’t remember how I first heard about Janine’s mission. I found her blog, then watched a news video to assure myself that she wasn’t a whack-job. Convinced, in September of 2013, I contacted her and began convincing her that I wasn’t a whack-job, and I was willing to help her in whatever way I could, non-monetarily. Janine jokingly told me I could take over her route occasionally. Sounding practical to me, I suggested riding with her every week to learn her route and routine. So it began that every Sunday morning I got up at 3:30am and drove into the city from Chili and jumped into the back seat of Janine’s Jeep.  About 1½ - 2 hours later, I drive home and crawl back in bed (usually). Recently I have switched to Saturdays, even though “Sunday Sheryl” has a better ring to it.

Janine has accepted the job of feeding over 100 cats a day (a not-so-unrealistic number). On a normal day, when the majority of the known cats come out to eat, we can easily do a head count of over 70 cats. Those are the non-ferals who don’t run or hide when they see a human.  Add to that the true ferals we don’t see and the number is easily tops 100.
Every morning, there ranges anywhere from 14-17 feeding stops.  Most of them have provided shelters and covered with boards & tarps. Some are just random stops that Janine has seen a cat or two and has begun leaving them food in paper bowls. These may develop into permanent stops if more cats appear. Maybe two or three of the colony stations are safe and stable, or have a very low risk of being removed. The majority are so unstable that Janine can’t count on them being there day-to-day. Ya just never know... we may drive up to a pile of destroyed shelters by the roadside and/or angry residents waiting to yell at Janine for helping the cats. No amount of explaining the TNR process of downsizing the population will sink into some people’s hard heads. But nevertheless, at that point Janine has to find somewhere else, somewhere near, to draw that colony to for food and shelter again. 

At the time of this writing, there is an extreme situation where about 30 cats are having their shelters and feeding location removed. Janine is being denied permission to attend to her largest congregation of cats at a location they’ve become accustomed to. Does anyone know someone on Parsells Ave. around house numbers 250-300? This group has grown astronomically and has been relocated twice in the past 2 years. Three years ago there was one long-hair cat I call Prince. Two weeks ago, I counted 8 long-haired cats.  There are easily a dozen tabbies both brown and red. There were kittens this summer and we’ve only seen one that survived. And Tinkerbell, (a small gray DSH with her frazzled bell collar, sweet as sugar, run-to-meet-you) a favorite of mine since my first day,  went missing this summer.  The dozens of cats that come to feed in this hostile area are in real trouble. I have to believe that there is at least one animal lover there who’ll allow some shelters and food on their property.

Okay. I’m rambling. Over the last 3½ years, I’ve learned how to be a help “The Janine Way.”  There’s a method to what she does and why. She has the food and water amounts figured out to last exactly the route.  Even the water jugs are to be used in a specific order. 

            Janine: “do you have the water?”
            Me: “Yupper! See?”
            Janine: “Don’t use that jug, use this one.”
            Me: “Why?”
            Janine: “Because it’s the next one.”
            Me: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
            Together: “Bitch. -LOL”

It’s important that the sites are as inconspicuous as possible. That’s one of the reasons I began painting all the shelters black, brown and dark green. Nothing says “Hey - look at this!” more than a bright blue container or tarp on a porch or empty lot. In the winter we try to keep the tracks in the snow to a minimum. It’s important that I “follow in Janine’s footsteps” so it doesn’t appear that a lot of people are going to the site.

I have taken over J’s routine when she has to attend something out of state.  Her husband, Kings, does the driving because I’ve learned that remembering random homes on a maze of unknown streets is... well, challenging. 

            Janine: “You don’t know the route, YET?” 
            Me: “No. I’m not from this area. And it’s dark out.
                     And I’m in the back seat. And you don’t always take the same route.”
            Janine: “You should know it by now.”
            Me: “Shut up.”
            Janine: “Bitch.”
            Together: “Hahahaha”

I hope you can see that Janine and I have a good time. She’s become a good friend; someone I admire. She looks forward to the change of pace once a week and I look forward to helping out where I know help is needed. At home I make most of the shelters and scrounge wood and pallets.  It’s a partnership that’s been growing stronger every year.  

Thank you Janine for the lives you save and the comfort you give every single day. I’m honored to be a part of your mission.

Saturday Sheryl

(kiss, kiss)

:)  Thanks Sheryl.  Come on everybody!  Share a story, share some love.  :)  Love these guest posts!  :) 

Have a great day!


  1. I too, when I first contacted Janine, had to make sure she wasn't a wack-job (and vice versa). The funny thing is, is that Janine IS a wack-job! - in the BEST possible sense. She has a wacky, hilarious sense of humor and is always up for doing some wacky thing. Sheryl, you are a god-send to her and the kitties. I wonder if we contacted the city and explained the situation on Parsells if they would help. I bet they would as we kind of laid some groundwork for a relationship with them last fall. it wouldn't hurt to ask..

  2. It's a bit further down but 321 & 336 are City of Rochester owned, vacant land, per this COR website-

  3. Ok - Sheryl takes care of your shelters. I'll let her help with those.
    I am very good at technical things - electronics, computers, website design. Let me know if you need help with any of those. Got broken headlamps ? I can fix them. Need help with the blog site ? I can do that.
    Nice piece Sheryl ! Good writing !

  4. Thank you for writing Sunday Sheryl; I enjoyed reading about your mornings with Janine and the interaction between you two. You're a great person for getting this involved in helping the kitties on the streets.

  5. What a wonderful person you must be Janine to sacrifice so much for the feral cat population. Heartwarming story. What I would like contribute what I can by donation to you. Is there a go-fund me page or any other setup where donations can be sent? Thank you for what you do. Tina