Abandoned Glencoe cats get new leash on life
Rescued 10 week old kittens Pixie, left and Smokey, right. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 14, 2012 4:56PM
GLENCOE — All six cats found living alone and hungry in a vacant house last month have new adoptive homes.
The placements come thanks to Stephanie Hofman, one of the two women who stumbled upon the situation and did something about it.
“Those cats got lucky that Stephanie stepped up to the plate,” Glencoe Animal Control Officer Katie Sweeney said. “I don’t know if any of these cats would have survived. Unfortunately, the homeowner was not very cooperative.”
Hofman, a Coldwell Banker realtor, had shown the house on the 1000 block of Elm Ridge Drive to client Debbie Hahamy Aug. 8, and both expressed horror at the skinny, furtive cats, their empty food bowls and full litter boxes.
Their owners had moved out of the short-sale house, and had left the animals behind.
Hahamy called the police, and both women went back and with food, and cleaned the litter pans of two adult females and four kittens. Hofman had access to the key, and kept going back to feed the cats, and then, to take them to cleaner pastures.
Sweeney had given the homeowner, Mark D. Norris, a “notice of violation,” but because the cats were no longer being neglected after the first 48 hours, she didn’t upgrade the warning to a citation. She told him to quickly find homes for the cats.
He didn’t do that, but Hofman did.
Not only are they in better surroundings now, but, apparently for the first time, they have identities.
“The agent told me his seller said the two older cats didn’t even have names,” Hofman said.
She found homes for all six, two by two. Her friend Karen Long took a couple of kittens.
“We kind of always knew, after our last cat died in March after almost 20 years, that we’d have cats again,” Long said. “We were actually kind of thinking of going to the Heartland Shelter next weekend.”
The first night, one kitten would climb on her lap, and the other would hide.
“One of them stretched out right away: ‘I’m a happy cat, this is my home’ kind of feeling,” Long said. As for the other, “Every time there was a noise, it would take off and hide.”
Now they’re both lap-cats.
It was not easy moving the cats to new homes.
“It took an hour and a half getting them into the carriers,” said Hofman of one pair. She had to call Sweeney for assistance.
The women had assumed that all four kittens were the offspring of one of the adult females, but a trip to the vet revealed that two were from one litter, and two from another litter, 9 weeks and 11 weeks old.
“It makes me wonder if there were any more, and what happened to them,” Hofman said.
The entire incident need never have happened, Sweeney said.
“Procedurally, if the homeowner had called me right away and said, ‘We have to leave the house. Can you take care of them?’ I would have definitely done so.”
But instead, the homeowner wound up with “a problem he was unable to resolve in a timely manner, and a very kind person stepped in and said, ‘I’ll take care of it for you.’