Too much going on!
From The President
Written by Tammy McAuley   
Saturday, August 01, 2009

There is so much to talk about, this is going to seem more like a blog. Please bear with me!


1,000th Cat!


When you start doing TNR, the emergency is right before you. There is this one cat, there is this one colony, there is this whole town overrun with cats! You don’t really see down the road to where this will lead you. Prior to our forming Feral Fixers, I helped about 200 cats. I thought that was a huge accomplishment over the course of 4 years and it was, huge. Now, in 22 months we have helped over 1,000 cats. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe that accomplishment.


It takes so many people to produce these results. It takes a good organization with good officers that know what they are doing - thank you to Ted, Kurt, Regina, Chris. It takes fabulous volunteers who transport, trap, foster, obtain donations, participate in events, offer equipment and lend their own experience to this endeavor. It takes caretakers who care about these animals and are willing to care for the ones in their own yard as well as spreading the word to their neighborhood and community. It takes vets who are willing to have a feral in their practice and to treat it.


Most of our “business” is thru word of mouth. We don’t advertise because we currently could not support that many calls. Please consider volunteering your resources to help us control the feral cat population and reduce the number of cats euthanized! As we say on the website, tell us what YOU can do!


I recently looked at a map of Bensenville, where we have a good relationship. I saw all the streets where we had been and I saw huge areas that we had not been to at all. I am looking forward to residents in those areas calling us for assistance, because I know there are cats there, they are everywhere! Shelters are already saying that they have not received as many requests to take kittens this year.


Please help us to keep up the pressure, to go on to the next 1,000! We need YOU to help us to do what we do!


The gift of Gordy


I wanted to talk about Gordy – remember Gordy with the munched on paws? He is about 10 months old now, totally healed, loves to play and able to jump up and down. His front paws look like a bad case of bunions, he has been to a specialist who says he will have a fine life as a couch potato – indicating that his activity level should not be expected to be that of other cats. The big ligaments that connect paws to leg were severed, but smaller tendons are doing the job. Gordy is a wonderful cat, very happy. Very bored. He would love to be able to run about an entire house (not possible in mine), get into all kinds of trouble and lay in a window sill watching the birds. While we do not do adoptions, I want to find a new life for Gordy and am looking for the special people who can make him a part of their adults-only family (most children would not be able to appreciate the restrictions that Gordy will have). They would need to be really special people to be considered. If you are those people, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , tell me about yourselves and why you would care for Gordy and make him a part of your family.


Summer of the BOT


No, Bot is not an acronym for some underground, nefarious organization. It is the name given to the larva of a fly that lays eggs, animals inhale the eggs, the eggs hatch in the lungs and then burrow to the surface of the skin, taking up residence there to form a grub that constantly munches on its host, producing a nasty liquid that oozes out as the grub spins in its hole. Livestock, wildlife and most importantly for us, feral cats can be affected. When it becomes noticeable, it at first appears to be an abscess. Then you see the center move...


As of this writing, I have heard of or experienced a total of 4 occurrences of these creatures in the past 3 weeks. One was in Lombard, another on a poultry farm way out there, the third was a kitten I got from a caretaker in Downers Grove, and the most recent was in unincorporated Lombard. At least two of these locations were close to heavily wooded areas.


Since I discovered the grub at 9 PM, my first response was to attempt to kill the grub. These guys are filled with toxins so you do not want to grab it and risk breaking it open. All of that nastiness could enter the cat’s bloodstream and kill it. Best to kill it and then remove it, usually requiring surgery by a vet. Vaseline is your best weapon. Cram the stuff into the hole around the grub so that it becomes coated in it and then suffocates. This is not immediate, the website said it might take overnight. But, yes, indeed, in the morning, there was the 3/4” grub protruding half out of its hole, dead as can be. Yea!!! The little guy had a couple smaller ones, dead also. It is possible for them to come all the way out on their own, these did not.


Vets can get really excited about bots, they don’t see them very often, but they did see them at vet school so they like to be able to use that experience! Usually the wounds are very clean due to the grubs constant munching, but antibiotics are still recommended.


A truly feral cat would not be easy to treat for this, probably would require sedation, so plan ahead. If you practice TNR, think of what you would do in this situation. Do you have trap dividers? Could you position the cat so that you could apply Vaseline, just for a start? Do you have a vet that you can call on to sedate and remove one of these? Do you have a space that you can hold a feral in order to treat with follow up care - meds in food? It’s all about the planning!


I was lucky. Harry is willing to be a tame kitty and once I was able to hold and treat him and he felt so much better, his care has been a breeze. I will tell you that it was a very panicky half hour while I called people for advice and looked online to figure out the best course of action. These grubs bring about a reaction of complete horror that such an organism even exists! Harry is doing very well and once his upper respiratory is over, should make a wonderful addition to someone’s household!


Soooo Busy – July Zipped By!


Our Wet Your Whiskers event on June 27th was a great success! Approximately 50 people attended and Marc Gunn was fabulous! What a great performer and a wonderful, generous person, too! We didn’t get a chance to announce the Silent Auction winners, so if anyone is wondering who the winners were:


Lynfred Winery - Roselle Mark Wallbruch
Lynfred Winery - Wheaton Regina Dryer
Lynfred Winery - Naperville Larry Clark
Lynfred Winery - Wheeling MJ Dachter
Hotel / Restaurant package Larry Clark
Case of Yellow Tale Rose Ted Semon
Cat Gift Basket Collette Walker
Drop Trap Tammy McAuley

We did not receive a winning bid for the pearls. We will be offering those at a future date, perhaps an online auction – please look for information in a future newsletter or announcement.


Many thanks to PearlParadise.com, Lynfred Winery, Westin Chicago Northwest, Shula’s American Steak House, Robert Kaminski, Regina Dreyer, and Gail Monick – Miscellany by Monick, for their donations to our Silent Auction!


Not one but two 4th of July parades!


In Villa Park:


Mimi, Melissa and Joseph Black, and Kim Giazzon participated in the Villa Park parade, blasting the Stray Cat Strut in Kim’s decorated Subaru wagon! Kate Switalski skated and took photos, amusing the crowd while passing out palm cards donated by the Davis family, owners of PrintWise in Elmhurst advertising Feral Fixers. Residents gave them an extremely warm reception!


In Bensenville:


Mary Rosa decorated her Jeep with a feral cat and Stars and Stripes theme! I walked the route passing out suckers and Feral Fixers info – many people telling me how many cats they had. Parade day is like Halloween in Bensenville, the kids are lined up with their bags to receive treats!


Thank you to everyone who responds to us with such a warm welcome!

 

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