We featured the story of Champaign resident Kathy Lee Weber and her cats, especially her missing Tuxedo, in our May 9 PetTails. Weber sent us an update; you can see the original story below. She's received several phone calls about the missing cat, and still has hope.
"I still believe (Tuxedo) is in the area and maybe someone thinks he doesn't belong to anyone," Weber wrote. "His return would be quite a story after being gone six months now. I'm really sick of this big guy and ... his brother Caesar, I know, still mourns his disappearance."
In the bitter cold of 2008, we noticed two cats slipping through our old dog door into the garage. We always had multiple cats, but at this time, we only had our old girl, Sassy, 13. Sassy was rescued by our daughter on campus outside of a pizza place; she was so tiny, she fit in the palm of our hand.
We tried to befriend the two feral cats in our garage, but we could see that wasn’t going to be an easy assignment. At first, we couldn’t get near them — they would run — but they always came back to the safety of our garage. We put food and water out there and wool blankets in and over an old rocking chair, making a cavelike area for them. It took months to win their trust, but ultimately we did. They cautiously allowed me to pet them and eventually even pick them up. They finally warmed up to my husband and grandson, too, but would not venture into our house.
My husband named them Frick and Frack, thinking they were brothers, Frick being gray and white, Frack all gray. By spring, they were comfortable hanging out with us on the patio. One day, I noticed they were getting plump. Oh Boys — NO — Oh Girls! Both were pregnant!
On May 1 came Frick’s litter, five kittens (locked up in our neighbor’s garage). We found them just in the nick of time and moved them to our garage in a nice bedded box. Frick somehow knew we were looking out for her and her babies. On May 16, Frack’s litter came, four more kittens. I had to help with the delivery as she was struggling, a first for me.
Frick and Frack (stuck with their names) really trusted us now and we became one big family.
Some friends came by to pick out a kitten to adopt when the time was right. They also brought along a tiny black kitten (Sophia) that had been abandoned and asked if we would see if Frick or Frack may take her in and feed her. I bottle-fed this tiny thing and introduced her to the mamas and kittens. Frick and Frack immediately accepted her, both giving her a bath. She became kitten No. 10.
We nurtured all of them, and when the kittens started getting too rambunctious, my husband built a huge cage, 12x4 feet, out of 2x4s and chicken wire with a lid. This was done in the garage, their safe haven from the elements and strangers.
We had many laughs watching the kittens grow, but it was a lot of work! When Frick and Frack were done nursing, we had them spayed and got their shots. When the kittens were of age, we also had all of them spayed or neutered and their first shots too. We fell in love with all of them, but we decided on three of Frick’s kittens. We called them The Three Musketeers: Mika, Caesar and Tuxedo. We kept Frick, too because we knew she would never be happy elsewhere. My daughter took two of Frack’s kittens, and Sophia (the adopted one) now had a brother to go home with. We found homes for all through friends and family.
On a sad note: Tuxedo slipped away on Nov. 21, 2010, almost two years to the day of taking in Frick and Frack, and we have searched desperately everywhere to bring our Tuxedo home.
I have been on every site possible and contacted every vet in the county. We posted fliers and ads in the paper to no avail.
I believe that someone in the area has him with good intentions, but if anyone has seen him, please get him home to us. We miss him terribly.
— Kathy Lee Weber, Champaign
- Tony Mancuso