2008 National Feral Cat Day
From The President
Written by Tammy McAuley   
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Clicker, Clara, Wil Shrimpy, D P Coal, D P Oreon, D P Justine, D P ACDC, D P Fog, Bat Kid, Bat Kiss, L G Blackie, Fair View, Fair Way, Fair Field, Fair Lady, Fair Haven, Fair Ness, Fair Wood, Swiftly, Liz's Meow, Liz's OJ, Liz's Sweetie, Liz's O B 1, Bonnie's Little, A Precious, A Presto, Med Boy, Medster, Cross Post, Cross


The above are the 32 cats that traveled to the PAWS Lurie Family Spay Neuter Clinic on October 16th in celebration of National Feral Cat Day. While they traveled from my garage on that day, in the previous two days they came from: Keeneyville, Darien, DesPlaines, Batavia, WillowSprings, Downers Grove, Lombard, Naperville, Elgin, Addison, Medinah and Wheaton. Some of these town names may be unfamiliar to you, tiny municipalities that they are, they still have feral cats. And, yes, Feral Fixers is based in DuPage County and is trying to concentrate in DuPage County, but when someone calls and they have cats and need help quickly, we can’t turn them away.


Three of the cats were what we call “friendlies.” Adoptable, hoping to get into a shelter. One of the ferals, Swifty, announced his willingness to be a “friendly” after he was neutered as a feral, a good thing, too, as he seems to have a problem with dry food or any food that has grains and who knows how long he would have survived outside? Most of the food that caretakers can afford does have a high amount of grain. He’s going for longer and longer periods without throwing up and we hope he will be in a foster and on to adoption soon. Having ferals turn out to be friendly is wonderful, but a huge responsibility, too. We simply do not have the resources for the number of cats that are turning out to be tameable. Some day, all cats will be wanted, and this will be much easier.


Several of the groups of cats came from first time trappers. We try to enlist the aid of the caretakers themselves. They have the greatest likelihood of success, the cats know them, their sounds, their smells and will still come around even if their caretakers insist on putting dinner inside this strange metal object (i.e. a trap!). We had planned on 25 cats that day and I was worried that we would not make our target, and then the cats just kept coming in! That can happen; on the day with the worst weather, cats can seem to jump in the traps, while on a balmy, nice day, no action whatsoever. We could not be helping so many cats without so many dedicated caretakers!


You might be curious as to how such a large number of cats is processed.


A month before NFC Day, we reserved space at PAWS, asking for a minimum of 25 slots. Once approval was given, we started scheduling, returning the many phone calls, holding some sites back for that day. In the week before, we passed out traps, trained caretakers, everyone set up their schedules to have time to trap their ferals, transport them to us if they were able. We started picking up and receiving cats on the 14th and the last one came in around 10 PM on the 15th. Each cat gets a name that helps us identify where it came from, a microchip assigned to it, and we fill out check in forms to help PAWS’ staff with data entry.


October 16th, 6 A.M. -  Loading up!  We have a wonderful volunteer who loans us her van when we have large loads of cats and another who is willing to drive into PAWS constantly. We are so lucky! Try as we might that day, we were only able to fit 28 cats in that van, so we had to take a second vehicle!


The trip into PAWS was uneventful, and we got parking places in front of the building! Yea!!!


And, there were other feral “people” there besides us, now I’m drawing a blank, but I think there were 15 more – fabulous for National Feral Cat Day!


Checking in went very smoothly, the vet on duty saw our friendlies and we were on our way back home, to return later that day to pick up our felines, where once again we got great parking spaces!


The cats returned back to my garage to spend the night and then go home the following day, neutered, vaccinated and ready to live out the rest of their lives in the place they are comfortable. Of the 32 cats, 19 were females.


I’m very glad we were able to make such a significant contribution on this day! And, I’m very, very, glad that we have such wonderful volunteers and caretakers who made this possible!

 

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