We had a wonderful collection of 3 adult cats (GoGo, Harper, Grayson) and 18 kittens (Emma, Eloise, Eureka, ChaCha, Dumpling, Dublin, Claire, Chloe, Kevin, Kyle, Spangle, Honor, Stripes, Star, Felix, Fernando, Felina, Fettucine) at the adoption event on 9/11 at our building in Lombard. For all but 3 of the kittens, this was their debut appearance at an adoption event. While a few kitties took a little time to adjust to the situation, everyone did very well.
Two pre-approved families attended the event, which resulted in the adoption of 1 adult cat and 2 kittens. There was also a good amount of foot traffic to keep us busy and interact with the cats and kittens.
Momma cat, Dusty, and her daughter, Durby, were adopted by a very nice family in Lombard. They were committed to give Dusty plenty of time to adjust, and Durby is likely to be an instant playmate for their two sons. They also have an extremely gentle senior dog, who will let the cats take the lead on interactions.
Honor was the pick of a great family from Oak Park. She did very well with the children and will start out as a home office buddy for mom and dad.
In addition to these adoptions at the event, 3 adult cats and 14 kittens were adopted in the 3 weeks since our last adoption event in August.
Oscar - Adopted by a gal in Naperville who was referred by her daughter who previously adopted a kitten from us.
Othello - Adopted by a couple in Aurora who met Othello at our last adoption event at PetSmart. Othello and their large but very gentle dog have become fast friends.
Edith - Adopted by the mom of Edith's foster mom, who previously adopted another kitten from us. The two kitties have become best buddies.
Churro - Adopted by a family in Lisle with 3 other cats for her to play with.
Dunkin - Adopted by a couple in Chicago with a 2 yr old female cat companion.
Gloria & Glory - Adopted by a gal in North Aurora as her first fur children on her own.
Brunswick & Brummel - Adopted by a gal in Naperville who adopted another kitten from us in January 2021.
Gracie & Graffitti - Adopted by a family in Chicago with a 3 yr old male cat and a fondness for Gracie's similarities to the Turkish van mix they previously owned.
Windsor & Winn-Dixie - Adopted by a couple in Arlington Heights with 2 very well-behaved dogs, with whom Winn-Dixie was especially interested in getting acquainted.
Winchester - Adopted by a PhD student in Chicago who was missing the cats she grew up with.
Clement - Adopted by a family in Downers Grove as a companion for their teenage son - they have bonded. Clement stood his own with their dog - hopefully they will become friends with time - introductions are going slowly.
Thatcher - Adopted by a gal in Wheaton with an energetic 1.5 yr old Bengal who needed a playmate.
Brubaker - Adopted by a couple in Hoffman Estates with a 4 mo old female kitten to be his buddy.
We closed out the month of August with 27 adoptions, and have completed 13 adoptions in September so far. It is wonderful to see all of these kittens and cats, whom our foster families have carefully nurtured, transition into loving homes.
Many thanks to the foster families who brought their kittens and cats to the 9/11 event (Cheri, Diane, Agnes, Ari, Becky, Nancy, Richard/David). Special thanks to the majority of these fosters who were also able to stay during the event to interact with our guests and reassure their fosters.
Many more thanks to the volunteers who made this event possible. Steve, Whitney & Arielle - for the excellent and efficient set-up. Candy & Trista - for the great job with adoption counseling and interacting with our guests. Candy - for the photography and videography during the event, including a special Facebook live feature with our kittens born on Memorial Day (Star, Honor, Spangle, Stripes). Sara - for helping with the laundry even though she couldn't be with us. Steve - for supplying the professional-looking cage cards, coordinating the lunch run and donating the lunch funds to Feral Fixers!
Our next adoption event will be Saturday, 9/25, from 11am-3pm at the PetSmart in Wheaton (63 Rice Lake Square). Hoping to get some good foot traffic in the store. Please mark your calendars!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Updates On Previous Post Challenges
Wanted to give an update on the three cats mentioned in the last blog post.
Valley Girl has doubled in size in a week, the bot wound on her shoulder has healed and while her left eye is still scary alien eye, bulgy and opaque, she is doing tons better. She is so tiny that finding a manufactured Elizabethan collar is just about impossible, the paper plate collar is working well, preventing her from scratching that eye. She still has that eye removal in her future but things are definitely improving.
Ralphie had FOURTEEN teeth removed this past Tuesday. One left in his whole mouth. Why not take that one, you ask? Why remove something that is healthy? His foster-to-adopt comes today to pick him up. Please cross your fingers that the girl cats there welcome him to join their family!
More has been added to Landon's story. He is scheduled for a dental on the 21st – hope he gets to keep more teeth than Ralphie! His picture from the last post was seen, recognized as a cat on Pawburst – a site for lost pets – and we were contacted. Seven years ago, at the estimated age of 4, he was brought in. Over the years, more cats were added to the household and he decided he would rather be outside. Loves humans but too many other felines made him uncomfortable and he would demand to be let out. When cats want something and will yell to get it, loudly, its hard to say no. He's been doing okay but he has been spending more and more time outside, he's getting older, there's that dental he needs, and its time to try to find the right home for him, which we will be trying to do. Landon is a large, 10+ lbs, tall black/white cat. He needs a home that will give him individualized attention, no other pets (got sniffed by a Siberian Husky in the waiting room at the vet – Yikes!) and an adopter with the strength of will to keep him inside. That's a lot to ask of an adopter but we need to try for this great cat, making the second half of his life safe and healthy.
Fundraiser - ends Sunday night!
As I write this, we are at 78% of our goal for the As If They Were Our Own Fundraiser. These funds allow us to care for those cats that need extra support. They might not have a dedicated caretaker or a caretaker that cannot afford $600+ for a dental. There is an incredible need out there and we are doing our best to care for just a small number of cats that need help. $1,755 more in donations will allow us to meet our matched funds goal of $8,100. Please help us meet this challenge, share with your friends and family, the fundraiser ends Sunday at midnight! Also, Roxbury who is mentioned in our Campaign Details for this fundraiser has been adopted! Yay!
Donation Realty Nonprofit Program
On 9/9 we sent 15 cats to DCAS, 8 ferals and 7 friendlies. Of those 3 were females and 12 were males. This brings us to 35 for September, 510 for the year and 12,959 since our beginning. Yee-Ha!
Checking them off the list before loading up in the AM.
We appreciate the DCAS vehicle so much! Friendlies in their carriers in the windows awaiting surgery!
Loaded up for the trip home - orange dots mean "done"!
Mom was trapped today and the deck these kittens were under had to be disassembled to get at them. Big thanks to the caretakers who were willing to put in that effort!
(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version)
Labor Day Weekend Updates
Written by Tammy McAuley
Every Day Brings New Cats, New Challenges
I'm going to describe just part of today, Saturday September 4th. At the beginning of the day I responded to emails, restricting it to an hour or so – sometimes, with phone calls that can turn into four hours. Then, headed off to the restaurant supply store to see what I could find in the way of metal buffet pans – hadn't tried there before and they make great litter boxes. Then to the post office to check the mail and then to the building. Kittens in the TNR room needed meds, upgraded a cat named Landon to a big litter (buffet) pan – he was struggling with a regular litter box, perching so carefully, moved an injured kitty from a transfer into a crate, started washing transfer traps (all were used) and got a call. Girl had found a kitten, bad eye, wound on shoulder, so bad, no answers anywhere she called and it was after 12 so County was closed. I told her to bring it over. We do not share horrible pictures and this would have been something extreme – I will describe it tho. I managed to get in touch with Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital and was able to take the kitten over there. I rinsed her before I left and thought I had gotten everything off of her. Turns out that Valley Girl had a bot in her eye – had never encountered one in the eye before and a bot in her shoulder that had been there so long that it was almost mature. At the vet, while waiting, with the warmth of the water and the towel wrapped around her, a nickel sized mass of something hatched out – maybe maggots, maybe something smaller. I've dealt with some horrible injuries but this almost put me over the top. The easy thing would have been to euthanize her, but my feeling was that we should try. The vet removed the bots, rinsed off the wigglies, gave a Convenia shot and sent me home with 2 different eye medications and kitten Revolution. So far, she is set up in a crate with a heating pad, got a couple drops of Revolution, packed the bot wound with Neosporin, did both medications in the eye, fed KMR mixed with Wellness – she's only 5 weeks old at the most, did I say that? We'll go thru all this again in a couple hours, maybe more food earlier than that, twice a day going forward at least. The eye meds are not to save the eye, it is probably destroyed but to hold infection at bay for a future eye removal if she makes it thru this. FYI – eye enucleations are $300+ even for us.
Including pictures of Ralphie, he's a 9 year old brown tabby that we had neutered in 2016 at a trailer park that is being torn down, there was nowhere else for him to go and we couldn't say no. He's 11.5 lbs and so affectionate! He had initial blood tests and if they are good, he is scheduled for a dental on Tuesday when he will have his upper canines removed at a minimum – cost $300+ not sure how many more might have to come out. A volunteer is really attracted to him and may adopt him, we will see what next week brings.
Ralphie says Hey!
Ralphie now has a large metal litter box!
Ralphie demonstrating proper technique to accept head-scratches...
I mentioned Landon – he is also 9 years old – that is what the vet aged him when we sent him for neuter to find out he was already neutered and not chipped and she found that he needed 3+ teeth removed. He is an absolutely lovely black/white boy who loves to talk, he did get all other services and does now have an eartip. Haven't had the time to try for an appointment for him yet.
A Volunteer commented that his mom cut his hair - bowl cut!
This is the long way of saying that we need your contributions to ourAs If They Were Our Own Giving Grid fundraiser. We don't spend funds frivolously, we do as much as we can ourselves but we absolutely have to have vet care for these cats. Just these three cats will amount to +/- $1,200. Which would you choose not to care for and give a chance?
We did receive a pledge for $500 more to be matched which brings our goal to $8,100. That is a big number and we are hoping our donors can step up once again as they have in the past. There are just 8 more days left in our fundraiser, we're currently almost halfway there. Please donate and please share our mission with your friends and family. You will make a difference for so many cats!
Labor Day Already!
This year is whizzing by!
On August 26th we sent 23 cats to DCAS. Would have been 24 but once again, Blessed Event! 4 kittens, brown tabbies and gray tabbies. Of the 23, 7 were feral and 16 were friendly, 14 females and 9 males.
Here is mom & babies in their feral cat den, awaiting a trip to their new foster.
Ready to head out!
On September 2nd we sent 21 cats to DCAS, 13 feral and 8 friendlies of which Landon was already neutered, so 7 females and 13 males were neutered.
This brings us to 53 for August, 20 for September so far, 495 for 2021 and 12,944 since our beginning in 2007.
New Law Can Affect Fostering
Time for public comment has passed but you can still contact your State representatives regarding amendments proposed to the Illinois’ Animal Welfare Act regulations which could make fostering too costly for shelters and burdensome to foster care homes. The Department of Agriculture should make these adjustments to the proposed rule changes to the administrative code [25.1.40]:
* Section 2 requires foster homes to register with their county of residence. However, the local animal shelter owns the dog or cat until adoption occurs. Therefore, registration should be in the county where the shelter is located.
* Section 3 requires Daily Exercise Logs. It is hard enough to find foster homes for dogs and cats but expecting foster homes to keep a daily log of exercise for each dog, cat, puppy, or kitten would be extremely difficult. It would also be problematic for shelters to keep a daily exercise log for cats and kittens and would require more staffing on the part of the animal shelter, resulting in a cost to taxpayers.
* Section 4 would require fosters to have a working relationship with a veterinarian. The foster should work with the shelter’s veterinarian -- not their personal vet. This section could force volunteers to take their foster dogs and cats to their personal veterinarian, which would add additional expenses that would have to be paid by the animal shelter and would be costly to taxpayers.
From Best Friends - Great news! On Friday, August 27, Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 1711 into law, making Illinois the fifth state to enact a humane pet sales law statewide.
Now, instead of supporting the inhumane practices of commercial breeding facilities (aka puppy and kitten mills), pet shops that wish to continue selling cats and dogs will need to source them from animal shelters or rescue groups.
The new law takes effect 180 days after signing, so mark your calendars to celebrate a more humane state on February 23, 2022!
Next Adoption Event
Our next adoption event at the building will be on Saturday, 9/11. Right now, as I write this, 9 of the 20 cats posted on our Petfinder are currently black. We have more black kittens that are awaiting surgery and fostering. The adopters of black cats give us rave reviews, they love them so much! Maybe it's on its way to becoming a status symbol, "I adopted a Feral Fixers black cat!" Say it proud! Fill out an adoption application in advance and come visit the cats on Saturday! Will Clifford be there?
Our Working Cats Program Is Doing Great!
One of our Working Cats doing his job
Amazon Smile Quarterly Report
We received our quarterly donation from Amazon Smile, covering April 1, 2021 to June 3, 2021 - $518.73! We receive .5% of what our donors spend which means that you all spent over $103,000 and designated Feral Fixers on each purchase! Thank you for sharing our info and selecting us as your charity. Yay!
The Kittyman Sea Shanty
Written by Tammy McAuley
Something to brighten your day...
What A Year!
Written by Tammy McAuley
If nothing else has come of this year it has brought us all new appreciation for what we have, what we have lost and what we are able to do to make things better for ourselves and others.
We appreciate all the people who have continued to care about the cats. Many new caretakers had the time to resolve the cats around them. Extra time spent at home led to lots of new fosters and some foster failures as those families adopted their fosters, unable to part with them. People spending more time at home led to many more kittens being brought in and the longest "kitten season" we've ever experienced with the extended balmy weather. We formed tighter bonds with the area rescues as we all went thru the same challenges.
All those kittens took a toll on our fosters, our s/n transporters and Sue, our adoption counselor. There were individual kittens that actually received 40 – 50 inquiries EACH! But each of these kittens go to the best home possible for them as individuals and the alumni stories we receive validate the effort put into that goal. Please take the time to read the foster story included in this newsletter, we have some very impressive volunteers.
Thru it all we kept going as our physical interactions with people are limited and usually outdoors. A few fosters experienced COVID, most of us have been able to remain healthy.
Our ability to fundraise has been greatly impacted as cat people are much more social with other cat people than one might think and they greatly enjoy our in-person events!
A Few Notes About the Building
We try to wash and disinfect our traps before they go into Winter storage so they can be used immediately in the Spring. We were able to transport them all to the building, the railing spacing on the ramp made it very easy to get them into the building, the new washtub was able to hold 4 traps (3 large, 1 small) at once, so simple! And there was plenty of room for spraying with a blast of disinfectant, rinsing and shipping off to storage!
Just a few more days of our Black Cat Giving Tuesday Fundraiser. We hope the 2021 Feral Fixers Happy New Year! Raffle helps to replace our Frosty Claws event and provide something our donors will enjoy participating in.
For many reasons, I receive emails from a great many non-profits. That means that I see how they promote their organizations and ask for money. We do our very best to be different, low-volume and specific about our needs. I can't imagine how weary some of you must be, bombarded on a daily basis by every group for human, environmental, political and animal needs. I could say negative things about those other groups but would instead reaffirm that funds donated to Feral Fixers work to benefit the cats in this geographic area. Surgeries, medications, food, transportation, supplies, a building to house them in, it all goes towards the cats. The percentage of funds used for fundraising (administrative costs are often a high percentage of total costs) is minimal. We adapt ideas and make our asks as enjoyable as possible 😸. We will never be able to give up fundraising but promise to keep the annoyance to a minimum!
We have personal relationships with our donors and we appreciate them so much!
We wish you a Wonderful Holiday and the Best Possible New Year!
Thank you all for your personal messages this year, they are greatly appreciated. Wish we could thank you all individually!
Written by Tammy McAuley
DuPage Giving Days
For the last two years Feral Fixers has participated in the DuPage Human Race. In its history, weather has played a huge part in the success of the event. Due to this, Giving DuPage decided to have a one-day virtual event. With the arrival of the pandemic and the huge impact on the non-profit community, it is now a month long, May 14th is the last day. You can donate or become a Fundraising Champion and raise funds yourself for Feral Fixers! We have a matching donor for $2,400! Giving Days will replace the funds we normally receive for the Human Race and counteract the cancellation of our Kitten Shower, so we are looking forward to many supporters participating! Funds will go to our general account and used to support the medical needs of the cats we help "As If They Were Our Own." Please go to the GivingDuPageDays website and search for Feral Fixers (the direct link to our fundraising page is here.). You can set up your Fundraising Champion page now and donations can be made starting Tuesday, April 14th. Be creative, still go for a run or walk – weather permitting – and support Feral Fixers!
S/N Still Shut Down
While we cannot hold spay days yet, cats continue to come our way. On March 25th, one of our volunteers picked up a cat that was supposed to be friendly – the people had even put a collar on him and a leash before they picked him up and put him in a carrier for our volunteer. Gets to my garage – totally different behavior, hissing on the sight of me. That happens sometimes. He had an ear tip but a really bad eye – looked mushy. Left on its own it might have just dried up but he looked to be in pain. Cases like this are very difficult, ferals cannot be treated the way friendlies can – no topical meds, limited oral meds, it can be a battle. Don't take this the wrong way but unfortunately he had nothing else wrong with him! It was a real 50-50 situation. I opted for eye removal, with the hope we would have a supportive relocation site available for when he healed. Petey refused to eat on his own, we finally negotiated that I would hold his cone with my left hand while syringing a gruel of baby food and fine pate into him, while he growled and chomped on the syringe. After a few days he would eat small amounts from the saucer overnight. Day 8, there was an abscess behind the incision and back he went for a re-do. Cultured the material and Bayril was the right antibiotic. Liquid med is causing an amazing amount of drool so going back to the vet for tablets that can be crushed and mixed with a small amount of food and syringed. Wish me luck! He is not grateful in the slightest! We cannot give all the cats we encounter this level of care but I am trying with Petey – one of the cats we treat "As If They Were Our Own."
Despite the shut-down, we are able to do some work on the building. IT wiring will happen very soon and we are fine-tuning the layout and changes. We will be moving some doors and putting in new ones, taking out a wall, removing the vault – we have no idea why the building had a vault with an enormous, heavy door – like a bank! We will be changing the types of doors on the rooms so that we will be able to see what the cats are doing before we step in, lots of changes! Once we get a permit, double doors will be installed on the back of the building, providing easier access for cats in traps, etc. This will entail a ramp going up to the doors from the parking lot.
There's always something new! We thought it was great when they came up with the pole microchip scanner but the round scanning end does have its issues. Now, with this model, a cat could be scanned in almost any situation and claims to be reliable two inches away from the chip. We get feral cats in carriers, traps, crates, and using the round scanner can have its risks. Looks like this could be threaded into any container. If you are looking to donate equipment, while not an emergency need, it would make our lives just that bit easier!
Food Donation Program Volunteers Needed
We receive food donations from Rescue Pack, paying only the shipping costs. The canned and dry food is delivered to a trucking company in Carol Stream. We also can receive litter and other supplies. We support feral cat colonies and low-income families with limited resources. These donations are palletized and can weigh 1,000 to 2,000lbs for each skid. We are limited to two vehicles doing pick up on a distribution day. We store the supplies and pass them out to the people we support.
The volunteers who have taken care of this for the last 3 years are moving out of the area and can no longer do any part of these responsibilities. What we need:
Availability on a Saturday AM – sometimes due to inclement weather, distribution can get bumped to the next day. Distributions can be every one to two months depending on product availability.
Access to a vehicle (truck, large SUV, etc.) that can be loaded by forklift. Special arrangement needs to be made for hand loading and it really slows down their process. They service about 90 organizations on that one day distribution. There are truck rental companies that give us a discount on rental but we need someone comfortable driving a large delivery truck.
Physically able to assist with unloading.
Storage availability for 1 to 4 skids of canned and dry food – garage or warehouse space. Litter and other supplies could be stored elsewhere. Arrangements can be made for recipients to come pick up same day as much as they can transport but that is not always possible. Availability for pickup from your location at pre-arranged times by our recipients. Our new building will not be able to hold this volume of donations and we need to have an alternative. Unexpected donations from other sources can happen, too.
One person does not have to be responsible for all aspects of the program. There is usually a two-week warning of an upcoming distribution.
Due to the pandemic, we don't know when the next distribution will take place as resources are being concentrated in hot spots.
Thank you to everyone who continue support us!
Stay Safe! Stay Healthy!
The story of Honey, and other updates...
Written by Tammy McAuley
Winter Feral Cat Care
Remember that cats put a fat layer on, starting in the Fall so that if it is necessary, they can hunker down for days if needed. Try not to call them out for food when you are worried that you haven't seen them. Coming out, their shelter cooling, getting snow on their fur, can cost them more calories than they can consume sometimes. It is very hard to leave them alone but provide food, look on our website (Cold Weather Care) for ways to keep food and water from freezing – at least for a short period of time, provide Kitten Chow for the extra fat content and be patient. We've had several calls about cats who are not doing well and have helped where we can, most calls are a result of age and injury, not just the cold. Providing shelter and food is sometimes the best you can do!
Still Not Trapping, But…
While we cannot plunge into full-fledged TNR, there have been situations that we were able and had to respond to. On 2/3, Blizzard (male, feral) went to Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital with an abscessed wound on his tail. Since he had to be sedated to care for the injury, he was neutered at the same time. He has NOT decided to be friendly but is now healed and as soon as the weather improves, will go back outside. We received a call from a guy who had gone to great lengths to care for a group of ferals – renting a garage just to house them. The landlord discovered this and said they had to go. We were contacted 4 days before the deadline. Luckily one of our volunteers had the use of space to house them temporarily. Most were able to be loaded into carriers by the caretaker, one had to be trapped. These 8 cats would sing (okay, yowl) most of the night for the first 3 nights – this happens as cats try to make themselves feel better about such a huge change. They suddenly became more settled on the 4th day, only one continuing to yell – but that seemed to be because she wanted to be petted! A man was threatening to shoot the ferals in his yard. He wasn't going to change, cats needed to be trapped and removed. They seem to come from down the street, we'll be pursuing that location as soon as we can for TNR. First cat turned out to be quite friendly, 2nd is not super feral, we'll see. On 2/16, we sent 10 cats to ADOPT, since we needed to be sure we wouldn't have to go back and eartip later if they did not become adoptable, they were all done as ferals. With these, we've done 11 cats so far in February, 15 for 2021, our grand total is 12,464! Again, we are dragging our feet on further surgeries until the weather improves around the end of March.
Another Microchips Are Forever Story – In May 2011, we removed a total of 19 cats from a trailer in Plainfield, back when we were more likely to do hoarding situations. Those cats had a range of outcomes. Some were too feral and were relocated to a pig sanctuary that needed cats to cope with mice in the grain storage area. Some went for adoption to PAWS and to PURRS, some were adoptions from Feral Fixers later in 2011. Microchips are forever and we have new information about Honey. She was adopted thru Feral Fixers. Those adopters had a life change, surrendered her to DuPage County Animal Services in May 2020. We had no place to put her (2020!) and she was transferred to Chicagoland Animal Rescue from DCAS (CAR takes in a lot of older or less easily adoptable cats from DCAS – thank you!). After a brief stay with CAR, Honey AKA Oksana was adopted by a wonderful man on 7/15/20. What a long road and we're very glad to have played a part in it!
Honey aka Oksana in her new home
Petting A Cat Releases Endorphins
We knew there was more to petting a cat than just making the CAT happy, right? Turns out it increases our endorphins, making US happy, too! Does having one cat make us want more because of our physical response?