The Gateway Pet Guardians Community Outreach Program has taken a new approach to controlling the homeless cat population in the Metro East. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) specifically targets stray and feral cats—cats that otherwise could not be adopted out into a family home. In TNR, cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. After recovery, the cats are returned to their home—their colony—outdoors.

But sometimes, we find cats (especially kittens) who would live better indoors. They are friendly and love people, and are not great candidates for TNR. In these cases, we rescue and rehome the cats. In December, we found two kittens — Sylvester and his brother Felixx — while TNR’ing a colony of cats. Since both were friendly, we brought them in, and so began their journey to find their forever homes.

Felixx has found his new home, but Sylvester is still in search of a family to call his own. He currently resides with his foster mom, Jennifer Bay, who is showing him all the love in the world. Sylvester needs a special foster home (and forever home), because he has FIV and feline leukemia, which largely means that his immune system is weaker than other cats and that his humans will have to keep a close eye on him. Sylvester needs to live in a home with no other cats so the disease is not transmitted. But, he is currently healthy and happy, and it doesn’t stop him from playing with his favorite toy — a stuffed mouse on a stick that makes noise when you move it!

Sylvester is fairly shy at first and actually spent the first 24 hours of his time in Jennifer’s home under the bed, his pupils as big as saucers. Jennifer finally coaxed him out with some wet food, and he’s been perfect since then, all snuggles! Jennifer says, “I love how bold he has become. His first day and night, we couldn’t get anywhere near him. Now he follows us, meowing the whole way. He also loves peeking around doors and looking for the dogs. Not ready to get too near them yet, but he’s not running!”

Sylvester started out shy, but he cannot get enough of his humans at this point. “This little love bug cannot get close enough for pets. He shoves his head so hard into me I wouldn’t be surprised if I get bruised! When I’m standing, he forces my ankles apart so he can weave in between them, purring the whole time. His forever home is going to have to love snuggles and talking!”

If you think you have the perfect home for Sylvester, learn more about him by visiting www.gatewaypets.com/adopt. And if you’d like to become a foster like Jennifer and help homeless pets thrive, visit www.gatewaypets.com/foster. Jennifer has this to say to those considering signing up: “If you have the time to love on an animal and space to let them in, you won’t be sorry. You are changing the whole world for that one animal, and changing your life in the process. Animals find the people who need them, filling an emptiness we didn’t even know existed. Who is saving who again?”