This has been a great and exhausting year! We’ve neutered 1,289 cats for the year and 7,276 since we began, as I write this. Between March and October we made the trip to PAWS almost every week and many times went in two and three times in a week. In those trips we may have taken just one cat or in most cases, three dozen! at a time. We started the year with the friendlies – kittens left over from the fall and early winter and we ended the year with the same. But every year we neuter more ferals than friendlies means we are getting to the colonies before there are kittens born – our most important goal – and once again we achieved that.
We’ve learned a lot of things, changed how we do some things and helped a lot of cats and people along the way.
In order to cope with the huge number of friendlies that are part of doing TNR, we have an aggressive adoption program. We do not have a facility, so we depend on our Adoption team, led by Sue Lee, to field the hundreds of applications we receive in order to match those potential adopters to our incredible fosters. We depend on those fosters, coordinated by Judy Walker, to keep those kittens healthy and adoptable.
Some Of Our Stories
One of the reasons I say that we have neutered 1,289 cats to date is that Homer is going in for eye surgery on 12/29 and will be neutered at the same time. We’ve been waiting for Homer to get big enough and healthy enough to have his eye removed. When he came to us at about 5 weeks of age, his third eyelid on his left eye was trying to grow together. We opened the eye and almost immediately it filled in, leaving just a tiny opaque hole that he might see light & dark thru. Instead of continuing to put him thru failed attempts to make the eye more normal, we waited. He is such a happy little guy, just having one usable eye is not a problem for him, it is all he’s ever known. He’s now 2.5 lbs and we can now remove that constant irritation that eye is causing – the tear duct drains into his sinuses instead of outward as a normal eye would and he’s always at risk for developing an upper respiratory infection due to that drainage. Removal of the eye should help his overall health tremendously! We will keep you posted. Homer came from an industrial area in Westmont and the toxins in the area are sure to have impacted the health of the colony. Luckily, we have now neutered all of the adults and there should be no more kittens in 2015 from this area!
In October we received a call from an extremely distraught lady, a kitten had been stuck in a fence, they could not figure out where the cries were coming from – it was intermittent over the course of two days – until they found him lodged in the fence, his leg was caught in such a way that he could not free himself. He had even started to try to gnaw off his own foot in attempt to get loose. In freeing him, he had escaped and went under a stoop, could we come help? It took a day, but he was trapped and taken to our vet. Truly feral cats do not do well with limb amputation – even if they survive the surgery, the aftercare is just too much for them as interacting with humans and being confined is more than they can deal with, resulting in failing overall health and ultimately euthanization. So we hope for clear indications with a limb injury as to whether a cat is friendly or feral. Well, Royal was handleable from the moment he was taken out of the trap and purred constantly during the exam and has not had a grumpy or feral day since! The injuries to his leg were too severe to heal, so his leg was amputated three days later and he was in a foster home ten days after that and never looked back. He is currently at ADOPT of Naperville, up for adoption with another of our three-legged friendlies, Chatter.
Cat #7000, Wamsutta, was returned to his colony – a townhome complex. This area has always had a large number of ferals which we have worked on – the multiple residents complicates getting every cat neutered – there’s always food somewhere! Two months after his return we were contacted by a resident who had been feeding him and seen his tipped ear and, being the manager at a veterinary office, took him in to be scanned. She lives a few blocks from his original caretaker. Wamsutta had decided to be friendly and became determined to come inside. He is now being fostered by this woman and is available for adoption on our Petfinder! So many of our “milestone” cats go on to have a bigger story!
All of our stories about the cats we neuter and care for are not about life-saving surgical interventions, but without our donors to provide the financial resources that can make 1,289 spay/neuters possible in a year, allow us to use our local vet for routine and emergency vet care, permit us to purchase the huge amount of food and supplies that this many cats need for pre- and post-operative care and in foster…we simply could not have stories with positive outcomes!
Come Join Us At Frosty Claws!
As always, Frosty Claws promises to be a fabulous event! Donations for our Silent Auction have started to arrive – see our facebook for updates of what will be available for bid – so far the Tiffany bowl is a standout item and we will have jewelry, wine baskets, cat trees, cat shelters, a big variety as usual!
If you wish to donate to our Silent Auction, please be sure to have it to Tammy’s house by January 14th so that it can make it into the event. Please contact Tammy at 630-881-3977 if you have something to donate.
We will be expanding to four hours for the event in order to accommodate the large number of people who wish to attend and run out of time to fully enjoy everything that is available! We will have door prizes, the stick raffle, lots of food and great cat-loving people to talk to! We may be crowded but it’s a good thing!!! Please check our facebook for updates!
2015 Holiday Card Competition
You’ve seen this year’s photo of Ringo – what a handsome boy! In order to be selected for our next Holiday card, please submit your feral photos – they should show eartipped cat(s) and snow in a positive setting. Deadline will be April 1st, 2015. It will be interesting to see what the weather brings us this year! So please take the opportunities as they are presented – don’t miss a chance to share your favorite feral with our wide circle of Feral Fixer friends! E-mail your favorite feral photos to
What Will 2015 Bring?
Every year I hope that we will actually neuter fewer cats than the year before because there are fewer cats remaining to be neutered. So far that hasn’t happened but I still have hope! We continue to go far above and beyond in our efforts to reduce cat overpopulation and euthanization in DuPage County. For the second year it appears that DuPage County Animal Care and Control will have zero euthanization of cats deemed adoptable. This is a phenomenal achievement! We do not rest though, perhaps in 2015 we can expand and hope for zero euthanization of all cats that are healthy, despite their behavior – returning ferals to their colonies after they are neutered instead of being euthanized because of being unadoptable. This may take years to achieve but it is the next goal, please join us in working towards that by talking about TNR whenever possible to whoever will listen!
Please help us in spreading the word about TNR and Feral Fixers at every opportunity so that we can prevent so many kittens being born that could have been prevented, creating homes for the cats that are already here and already friendly and just asking to come in. We would prefer to be exhausted from neutering than from fostering and finding homes for kittens and friendlies! So, grab some of our business cards – when you see that someone is feeding cats, and don’t want to talk to them yourself, leave our card tucked into their door, under their windshield. So many people are happy to hear that we exist, that we don’t plan to kill their cats and the cats come back! If you see 10 to 20 cats without eartips, PLEASE let us know! We need to get there sooner than later for cats sake!
Our thanks to everyone
who has joined us on our journey to
Feral Fixers’ 8th year!