Real Caregivers of New Jersey: Stefanie from Nutley


Stefanie from Nutley

Were you always a cat lover?

Always, I love all animals. My mom was a huge animal lover and always rescuing them! I definitely got it from her.

How did you get started being a colony caregiver?

Another woman used to feed them but wasn’t able to anymore so I just took over.

How many cats do you take care of?  How many have been TNR’d?

There started out with 3, then two more popped up then those two more had kittens, then there were 11! Two neighbors took two of the kittens. Luckily with CPAW’s help we were able to TNVR them and my boyfriend & I found four of the kittens loving homes with our friends and family.


Tell us about some of your cats!

So Sesame was always my favorite. She was a tiny little thing, smaller than the rest. She was also the last of the adults we caught. She gave me a run for my money! We went to the drop trap and we would set it up… wait hours, finally pack it in and her little head would pop out. I know she just sat and watched us like we were fools! Haha!

I always selfishly said that if I finally caught her I’d like to try and see how she did inside. Well, long story short, she taught me – feral is feral! So after two nights, we let her back out. I was afraid she’d be upset with me but she still shows up for every feeding. Also, she’s the reason we were able to catch Midknight. Oddly after catching her she trusted me more and Midknight saw that she didn’t run when I was around. So he slowly stopped being skittish and in return was more trusting. He was smelling the trap as I was setting it. I turned to walk away and he went in. The rest is history and he’s one of the 4 kittens in a loving home.

What are the best and worst parts of taking care of your crew?

The best part is seeing them thriving in their environment. It’s easy to think they all need to be “saved” but they don’t. They are happy and content with their lives outside. Obviously we do what we can as far as feeding, setting up outside shelter and TNR but, they wouldn’t be happy inside and it’s nice to see they are happy and healthy.  The worst part has to be the weather. If it’s downpour raining and I don’t know if they are out there waiting for food. Sometimes they come out in the rain and sometimes they don’t, so I trust my gut on whether or not to put the food out or not. I don’t want to waste the food but I don’t want them to go hungry either.

How do your neighbors feel about the cats?

Not really, a few of them also feed the cats which is nice to know in case I’m away or working late. When I first called CPAW, I let all my neighbors know about the TNR and luckily they were all on board with it!

How did you hear about CPAW?

When I spotted the kittens I panicked because we do have a lot foxes and raccoons. I posted on the app, Nextdoor and Kylie immediately reach out to me and told me to contact CPAW, that she was a volunteer there. CPAW assigned her to me and she helped me tremendously! She worked with me every almost weekend from June to September until they were all caught!

Here are some kittens that have been adopted from Stefanie’s colony.

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