When we started Feral Fixers and I became president, I had no idea of the scope of responsibilities and experiences that would entail. Perhaps it is unique to my interpretation of the responsibilities and what I think should be done by the president of a TNR organization, but it is my job nonetheless.
All of my prior experience has come into play – working in office environments helps with data entry, record keeping. Being a letter carrier has increased my confidence in dealing with people – many in a crisis mode. Fundraising, coordinating a food drive, all have contributed to making Feral Fixers a success. Volunteering at a humane society has given me tons of experience in dealing with the day to day needs of the cats, and was the driving force to help reduce the cat population.
On the new list:
Being on-call. The phone rings all times of the day. It can be a desperate caretaker, a concerned neighbor, a police department or village representative asking for more information to implement TNR, people asking for referrals for vets or a TNR organization in their own town, out of our area. Requests for food, for relocation, what are they going to do?
Consoling the bereaved. You never know how that conversation is going to go. Some caretakers are devastated to hear that their feral has died. Others are past the grieving they did at the time the cat went missing and are relieved that it is not suffering somewhere. Others, of course, are upset if a cat was trapped and euthanized before they had a chance to do something about the situation.
Public speaking. I never considered that I would have to speak in front of a crowd. All we were going to do was TNR. Trap/neuter/return, what could be more simple? Wouldn’t everyone get it? Why would anyone have to be convinced? Radio interview? Oh, my.
Money management. We have no mortgage, no credit to pay off, but we do have an unknown number of ferals still out there, so we have to be prepared to handle the unexpected and keep a good balance on hand in our account, just in case. So, do we get the new t-shirts, caps, etc., to sell? Do we buy new traps, trap dividers? Will we get a donation of food or do we need to buy a skid at regular prices? How much kitten food are we going to have to lay in for the litters we can help? As we get requests to do cats for people who cannot donate, as long as the checking account does not dip below a number I have in my head, we can do it. And, to date, everyone’s generosity has kept us above that number!
So far, I’ve been up to the challenges, thank you for the opportunity to grow as a person and to help this cat overpopulation crisis!
On the radio
I recently did a phone interview for the College of DuPage. I didn’t have a chance to hear it air, please give us feedback on it, I’d like to know what others thought. It was as a result of speaking at the town council meeting in Wheaton, in regards to an increase in fines for feeding feral cats and dogs and wildlife. I and 5 others spoke during an open forum portion of the meeting. We were against the increase and asked that the whole ordinance be examined and removed. Then during the voting portion of the meeting the councilmen did not discuss, simply voted to pass the ordinance. Three different newspapers carried a report of the meeting, with a similar tone – the ordinance makes no sense. I am sure that we have not heard the last of this situation, there are too many people concerned about the possible outcome.
Please look for us in the Memorial Day Parade in Wood Dale on May 31st. Mary Rosa will be in her versatile Jeep, waving to the crowd! In a repeat performance, look for her on July 3rd in Bensenville at their 4th of July Parade!
We will be at the Friends Fur-Ever Festival hosted by the DuPage County Animal Care and Control on June 12th. Stop by, ask questions, purchase some of our boutique items or make a donation! We always see great people at the DCACC events!
It’s not too soon to inform you about our Wet Your Whiskers Cataoke event on July 17th at the Elmhurst Public House in Villa Park. We will have food, silent auction, and lots of great singing! Make us perform for a donation!
Friendlies on the rise!
Last month I told you about Grand, Sunny and T-Bone.
Grand is the FIV+ 9 year old orange tabby. He was getting mighty frustrated with being in a cage, but he is now at Felines, Inc. in Chicago, where he will have a room to roam in, plenty of petting and attention and wonderful care until he finds his new home.
Sunny came to us as an emaciated stray, so thin I thought he was female. He had a lot of challenges, but was eating very well, was on antibiotics for a wound. Appeared to be gaining weight, but his foster family found that he had a blood disorder, was not making red blood cells and was failing. He was euthanized as the condition is incurable. But he had a loving family around him when it happened and it was the best answer for him.
T-Bone just would not eat. In desperation, I opened a can of veal tidbits. Almost no cats like veal, nor those tidbit morsels; they lick off the gravy and leave the rest. Well, he licked off all the gravy, I stirred it up again and he ate the morsels. The next meal, I gave him Fancy Feast beef morsels on a plate, he wouldn’t eat it. Again, in desperation, I put it in an empty, larger can. He ate every bit. The cat only considered it fit to eat if it was beef based, morsels and in a can!!! He went to Heartland Animal Shelter and is doing very well.
We had a cat, Nerdy, that, as a kitten, the caretaker’s grandsons would bring inside and watch TV holding her. As her hormones kicked in, she didn’t want to come inside any longer. She was just spayed and was doing her best to communicate to me that she wanted to be friendly – and would love to watch TV again! Scar boy was returned to his colony after neuter last May. He was recently trapped by a disgruntled neighbor, brought to County, returned to us. He was literally doing spins in the trap to tell me that he was friendly now. Maisey came from a colony that the elderly couple swore last year that they were taking her inside and spaying her. Well, she was trapped this year and is just the sweetest kitty. The elderly couple is under constant care and cannot care for her. They all went to PURRS of Naperville to be adopted.
We had two black cats, one with a skin condition, the other timid but loving. Along with some very bouncy kittens, they were taken in by the Buddy Foundation.
People ask us for cats to adopt. We don’t do adoptions ourselves. We rely on shelters to be specialists in this part of Rescue. Please visit the shelters that help us help the friendly ferals.
What a horrible word, isn’t it? People panic when they hear it! I am having shoulder surgery June 1st. As a result, we will not be doing any TNR for several weeks following. We will most likely start up again after July 4th, on a limited basis, until I have full use of my arm again. This is one reason we were pushing so hard to get as many cats as possible, this has been coming for awhile. We can still help by advising and educating others on how to trap and transport – we just can’t do everything for awhile. It will be very strange to take time off after 2 1/2 years (even in December we really didn’t stop everything).
“June is for Kittens” Fundraiser
We have proclaimed “June is for Kittens!” We currently have about 50 kittens that will soon be old enough to spay/neuter. Then they will be going on to shelters and vet offices that will adopt them out into loving homes. Kittens are expensive; our costs are $55 each for s/n, vaccinations, dewormer, microchips. This is where that bank balance comes into play! We are doing a Chip-In Fundraiser, like we did to raise funds for traps last year, to help us cover the costs of kittens that we take out of their colonies so that they can grow up as loving friendlies, in good homes. Most of the kittens are on target to be neutered at the end of June at PAWS, and while it is a hefty goal, our goal is to raise $2,750 to cover those costs. If you can contribute $55 for one “whole” kitten, great! If you can only donate $5, we promise to put it to good use! We TNR’d so many cats in February and March, these are the litters of the cats that we missed, but we are working very hard to capture the kittens and spay the moms so that this does not go on and on. We are making a huge difference and this will bring us that much closer to stopping cat overpopulation and euthanization. Previous years, we have been so strapped for volunteers and time, we couldn’t help the kittens as much as we wished. Now, with your help, we CAN.
Thank you for an amazing two and a half years!