10 more on Tuesday (the hard way)... Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Feral Fixers brought in ten more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic on Tuesday to be fixed. All ten of these cats were ferals and seven turned out to be female (with the remaining three being male, of course).

This was a day where not much went right. Super-volunteer Charli was supposed to pick up the cats from Tammy's and take them to PAWS, but when she got to Tammy's, her car would no longer start. Board Member Kurt came to the rescue, coming to Tammy's and picking up the cats and bringing them to PAWS. Super-volunteer Dedra picked up the cats from PAWS and brought them back to Tammy's for recovery and distribution. However, she didn't get back to Tammy's until nearly 8pm - PAWS had a difficult dog surgery that really put them behind and so everything got backed up from there. Ferals are the last animals operated on and so this made everything very late for Feral Fixers. Super-volunteer Jennifer was helping out with the cats in the basement and in the garage getting everyone fed and tidied up for the night. So, thank you Charli, Kurt, Dedra and Jennifer!

With these 10 cats, Feral Fixers has now processed 120 cats for July, 596 for the year and 6,572 overall since we began operations in late 2007.

39 out of 39... Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today, Feral Fixers brought in 39 more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic to be fixed. 30 of these cats were ferals while the other 9 were 'friendly ferals'.

Super-volunteer Charli helped me pick up the cats from Tammy's this morning and bring them PAWS (Thanks Charli!) while super-volunteer Dedra helped me pick up the cats from PAWS this afternoon and bring them back to Tammy's for recovery and distribution (Thanks Dedra!). Super-volunteer Judy was at Tammy's both for the morning and afternoon activities, helping out with everything that needed doing - Thanks Judy! Also, a new super-volunteer, Toni, rode to PAWS this afternoon with me (and then back with Dedra) to get an immersive experience with our Spay/Neuter transport. Thanks Toni! And, as my transport vehicle is in the shop (Transmission. Awful. Expensive.) I had to borrow super-volunteer and Board Member Sue's van to do my portion of transport both ways - Thanks Sue!

Usually with this many cats, some do not receive surgery. Some may be too small or too ill or some other condition may manifest itself to the Vets and they say "Not this one today". But not today - all 39 received surgery. That's very satisfying when it happens - it is like an extra bonus for the trip! And, of today's load, 25 were females and 'just' 14 were males - pretty much the opposite of the last trip...

With these 39 cats, Feral Fixers has now processed 110 cats for July (the fifth month in a row of 100+ cats and there are still two weeks to go in the month), 586 for the year and 6,562 overall.

35 - 1 + 1 = 35 Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Thursday, July 10, 2014

Feral Fixers brought in 35 more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic today to be fixed. 12 of these cats were ferals while the other 23 were friendly ferals. Lots of friendly ferals now over the past few weeks, almost all kittens. If you would be interested in fostering, now would certainly be a good time...

Super-volunteer Charli helped me pick up the cats from Tammy's this morning and take them to PAWS (Thanks Charli!) while super-volunteer Dedra helped me pick up the cats from PAWS this afternoon and bring them back to Tammy's (Thanks Dedra!). Super-volunteer Judy was at Tammy's both this morning and this evening, helping out with everything that needed doing (Thanks Judy!) And, super-voluteer Julie was also at Tammy's this morning, taking pictures for our Facebook page and helping me load up the ferals into my car (Thanks Julie!).

It was a busy day at PAWS - Dedra didn't leave PAWS until 6:45pm or so while I didn't get out of there until after 7:00pm - a long day...

One of the friendlies was deemed to be too young to have surgery, so only 22 friendlies were done today. However, one feral showed up at the very last minute so on my way back to PAWS this afternoon, I stopped at Tammy's and picked him up and brought him to PAWS for surgery. Tammy had previously cleared bringing this cat in - the rock-stars at PAWS added this cat to the total so that we could get them all done so we wound up doing 13 ferals today.

These 35 cats bring the July totals up to 71, our yearly totals up to 547 and our overall totals to 6,523. And, remember when we had our Celebrate 5500 event late last year? Well, now we've done another 1,000+ cats, blowing by 6,500!

(12 July update) - 22 of these cats were males while the remaining 13 were females.

Two more stories, Conference & Kittens, and the Starfish... Print E-mail
From The President
Written by Tammy McAuley   
Friday, July 11, 2014

I think I’m going to continue sharing our stories with you guys, you seem to like them and it helps you get the big picture about what we do! And I’m never going to run out of stories!

Got a call today from a lady, she’s 86 years old, retired 26 years ago from AT&T, didn’t expect to live this long, she says! She has a barn and two horses and she’s doing okay taking care of everything still but she went and fed these two cats. Now, there’s 12 adults and 8 kittens. Could we help? She feels really bad, but just can’t stretch her finances further than donating $100 to offset our costs. She thinks the kittens are 9 weeks old. I’m torn between wanting them to be 7 weeks or less or more than 10 weeks old. 7 weeks or less are usually easily tamed (although there is nowhere to put them) and 10+ weeks can be put back, hard as it is to see the little guys out there. The upside of this, even tho she is outside of DuPage County, we have a wonderful volunteer out there on the edge of our service area that may be able to help somewhat. You do the math tho, if all 20 are done as ferals, that’s $700 to us. If the kittens are sent thru as friendlies, that’s $20 more each, bringing the total to $860. A long way from $100 but we cannot let this situation explode into 40+ in the Spring. I’m hoping we can get out there this coming week, cross your fingers for us!

Got a call from a girl on Wednesday = we go to PAWS on Thursday, you know. She had put off calling us in order to save up money to get a few of the cats done. In the meantime, the total had grown to 14 cats or so. Clearly, it does no good to wait, the problem will always grow beyond the resources! Imagine her relief when I told her that since she lived in Addison, we get reimbursed for the s/n! I told her that we would get to her as soon as possible. I Mapquested her and realized that one of our indispensible trappers takes care of a colony within two miles of her. Called her up, she went over there after work and brought four cats in that evening for surgery the next day!

This is all made possible because we have willing volunteers who rearrange their lives in order to reduce the numbers of feral cats. It is made possible by our donors who create that cushion of money that enables us to front the costs in Addison to be reimbursed later, to be able to neuter all 20 cats and kittens that have suddenly erupted from one location. It is made possible by each person who friends us, forwards and shares our info, participates in our events.

Thank you!


I recently attended the Illinois Animal Welfare Federation Prairie States Conference in Bloomington. Attended by employees and volunteers of animal controls and shelters for the most part, I seemed to be the only attendee from a TNR focused organization there. I felt I was spreading the gospel at times in talking to different people. Most were receptive but I was amazed at the number who did not think it was important to microchip ferals – even representatives of national organizations were clearly befuddled that we were “wasting” our money. I’m reminded of the starfish story, you can’t toss all the stranded starfish back into the sea, but its very important for the ones that you are able to do so for – and so it is for all of the cats that we have microchipped and had their lives changed as a result and we are lucky enough to know their stories!

On the whole, these were friendly, receptive people who attended and hosted the event. Remember, these are “animal” people, they don’t normally relate well to humans! But, I think that conferences like this break down the barriers and fears that our overwork and isolation produce in animal rescue.

I was able to talk to a few vendors and have promised to share some of our experiences with their products with them. I enjoyed talking to the Tomahawk trap representatives!

One of the seminars that I attended was dedicated to increasing donations, maintaining communication with donors. You know there are some organizations that have full-time, paid employees that all they do is solicit, groom, schmooze donors? They go to lunch with prospective donors or at the very least, meet them for coffee. I walked out of there feeling that I had let you guys down – you know I have every INTENTION of keeping up with thank you cards & letters, right? I just can’t seem to keep up with that when there are still cats to neuter, kittens to tame, and all the wide and varied duties that are part of doing TNR that no one ever sees.

One entertaining seminar was devoted just to ticks and the illnesses they spread. Itched the whole time. The life of a tick is much more complicated than I had any idea!


Our shelter partners have done their best to take kittens from us this year but now they are maxed out for the most part and we have dozens and dozens of kittens on hand. This is over and above the friendly adults that have come our way. We will be participating in a few adoption events in the next two months, please stop by and say hello and let your friends and family know our schedule. And of course, when you stop at a shelter – ask to see the cats that came from Feral Fixers!

Every call we get these days involves moms & kittens. In March and April and even May, we can be pretty certain the kittens are going to be young enough to tame easily, but now we are getting into those kittens that are older, if they haven’t interacted with humans already, they will need to go back where they came from – we cannot afford the months of taming that they will require to be adoptable. This is why people should not wait until they see the kittens come up to the food bowl and then try to find an answer – it can be too late. There are a limited number of adoptive homes and fewer foster homes than that. Please help us get ahead of the kittens! The next rush is due in just a few short weeks – they are out there mating now! Don’t delay! Spay today!

And finally, the story of the Starfish...

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

What if cats said "Hey"... Print E-mail
Audios / Visuals of the Week
Written by TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsKatt   
Friday, July 11, 2014

I was digging through the archives (not my litter box) a few days ago and found this "oldie but goodie"...



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