We've made two more trips to ADOPT since the last blog. On 12/23/20, 16 friendlies, with 10 males and 6 females. On 12/30/20 – today, we sent in 2, one friendly and one was done as a feral as we don't know if she will tame but is getting the opportunity to try – a male and a female. These 18 bring us to 49 for the month of December, 764 for the year and 12,449 since our beginning in 2007.
Of those 764 cats this year, 294 were neutered at ADOPT, 457 were neutered at DCAS, 10 at PAWS and the rest thru Glen Ellyn. With COVID19, isn't it miraculous that we were able to do that many cats??? Last year we did 714 cats in the whole year.
Our 2020 Not So Bad T-shirt did very well for a first time out and short notice!
We're down to the wire on the Black Cat Giving Tuesday fundraiser as I write this. As always, our donors have really stepped up to donate and we've more than matched the funds! It is great to see the pictures of alumni and the written posts are great, too! We were really worried about our financial future but this helps a lot!
The 2021 Feral Fixers Happy New Year! Rafflehas gotten off to a good start and we hope to see many more ticket purchases over the next two weeks. The cut-off is January 12th so make your selection soon! So many times we have heard at Frosty Claws that people would like to have more of a chance on some of the larger items. Here you go!
We've passed a first hurdle of an Occupancy Permit! We still have so much to do to enable us to move in and use the building on a daily basis but we're getting there. One issue was a safety rail on the roof – its to protect workers as they maintain the HVAC units up there. Our contractor got a deal on eBay – unused and $500 – a huge savings! Remember the big hole between the building and the ramp? Now filled, protecting the foundation, and will be ready for planting in the Spring. Next, we will be working on the adoption rooms – cages will be needed for the ISO room and Transition room – those are NOT cheap! Yep, more building fundraising in the future!
Messages this year:
So many personal messages this year, they are greatly appreciated. Wish we could thank you all individually! These are a representation of just a few of the notes of appreciation we have received. They mean so much to us!
"I adopted my cat after the death of my loved one. He has given me incredible joy and companionship. Thank you so much for the great work you do."
"Merry Christmas to you and all the kitties! Thank you for being there when we needed help with ferals. Warm wishes."
"Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! Thank you for your help with our trapped feral when everyone else was closed during lockdown. Stay well."
"Dear FF staff, we'll always be grateful to FF for helping Stratford Lakes."
End Of The Year Shut Down
Our trapping is shut down and we are only responding to emergencies at this time. We've helped people get shelters for those cats who are still out there needing TNR – I just don't know how they do this out South, all year long! The phone calls are actually much longer as you are telling someone "No" and trying to offer them suggestions on how to keep the ferals healthy thru the Winter. In almost every case, the callers are very appreciative of the advice – much more so than in the past! And the hope of being able to possibly do something maybe at the end of March makes a difference. The phone is going to blow up then! We never know what the weather is going to be around here, so some additional patience might be necessary. The hope is to trap like crazy before kittens arrive, spread the word!
Wishing you the Best Possible New Year!
2020 – A Bit More Yet!
Written by Tammy McAuley
ADOPT was able to let us back in with a trip on 12/2!
On 12/2 we took 9 friendlies in, 1 male, 8 females.
On 12/9 we took 11 friendlies, 5 male, 6 female.
On 12/16 there were 10 friendlies and 1 feral. The one kitten was done as a feral as he just keeps changing his mind as to how friendly he's going to be – hoping the neuter will make all the difference! Of the 11 there were 5 males and 6 females.
With these cats we neutered 31 in December so far, 746 for the year and 12,431 since our start.
Barring any surprises, we have 16 kittens in the queue left to neuter. Kittens were born late this year, what a year! We are just plain exhausted!
Our newsletter will be out soon, so instead of duplicating information, we'll be brief here.
As always, thank you so much for your help and all the good wishes we have been receiving along with donations! Take care, stay healthy – 2021 will be better!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Feral Fixers wishes you all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving! No matter how you will celebrate, do your best to be positive and think about all the wonderful things you have enabled us to do this year. As of this writing we have neutered 705 cats, increasing their health and longevity for years to come. We have also found homes for 287 cats this year alone! Thank you all for your continued support of Feral Fixers!
One More Trip
On 11/18 we made another trip to ADOPT with 10 friendlies. There were 4 females and 6 males, bringing our November total to 45 cats, our total for the year to 715 and our to-date total is 12,400! These kitties will be showing up on our Facebook and Petfinder soon.
Covid 19 Impact
We were scheduled to make another trip to ADOPT on 11/20. On 11/19 one of their clinic staff tested positive and we had to cancel that trip. We don't know when they will be able to do surgeries for us again – any positive test extends the quarantine period, they are staying in touch. In the meantime, DCAS is going to try to squeeze in a handful of surgeries a week – really, they will try to do 4 a week since the mobile unit does not operate well in the cold and they are already so busy and on a government building level lockdown themselves. All other clinics are slammed as no one really caught up this year with s/n surgeries. Looks like we are ending the year as we began, cats on hand and waiting for slots. As we are waiting, a few of the kittens that we had no hopes of taming have done a 360 and decided to be friendly after all, this is an interesting time! I've had the opportunity to talk caretakers thru bringing cats indoors themselves, how to make the s/n appointments and what they should ask for. We may end up with a more educated public as a result of the restrictions we're under!
Thanksgiving brings all those shopping and fundraising "Days" – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and of course, Giving Tuesday. To support Feral Fixers we need to join in the chaos but hope to find entertaining ways for you to participate! Keep us in mind as you peruse the Black Friday ads – everyday stuff we use may be on sale! When you shop Small Business Saturday, mention to the owner that you support Feral Fixers – new relationships start in small ways. On Cyber Monday, use AmazonSmile, check out our Wish List and shop BF specials which will result in donations to Feral Fixers. Black Cat Giving Tuesday kicks off on 12/1 and we have an ambitious goal to match $6,000 to fund spay/neuters, veterinary care, basic operations which support the cats for the coming year. Please share all of these "Days" and the ways your friends and families will help us into 2021.
Calls for relocation of cats has gone up but luckily, calls to receive cats that need to be relocated have increased as well. Our Working Cats come from situations where they are in danger, no longer have support, or are making trouble in the area they are in (usually in the neighbor's opinion 😊). Our ability to relocate is dependent on people seeking to employ our Working Cats so it can be a bit of a juggling act. Story of a recent case: Woman brings a feral cat she had trapped to DCAS, demanding that it be euthanized. Chipped to Feral Fixers, we were contacted. We are always notified when a cat with our chip comes in. A healthy five year old, DCAS was not willing to euthanize but clearly he could not go back where he had been living as this resident would trap him again and who knows what she would do then. His original caretaker had moved two years ago but clearly the other residents were caring for him well (weighs over 10lbs). While I could not speak to the person who was said to be feeding him the most, another neighbor said they fed him every time they saw him and had no problem with him. He was updated on his vaccinations, received treatment and antibiotic for an ear wound and then I held him awaiting a relocation site. Shanty complained the whole time as he would rather be out and about, but was very comfortable. He was relocated to Our Sustainable Journey and is doing great! We DO NOT advocate interacting with the cats we relocate but sometimes those animal friendly kids just go ahead. While he is not an indoor cat, he clearly likes people and is comfortable with them and this will be a great place for him to live! Please share our Working Cats info to anyone who needs their services – offices, warehouses, farms, stables, rural backyards, so many situations the cats fit so well!
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!
April, 2020 Updates
Written by Tammy McAuley
You might not think that the Census would have anything to do with cats, right? Actually, thru the years I have used Census statistics to substantiate grant proposals, show how many cats per residents we have done in a town, justify our future activities. Number of residents, income levels, type of housing all impact the number of feral cats in an area.
The directions for filling out the form says it takes ten minutes. It took me three. Even at 10 minutes it is a very worthwhile investment of your time – and it benefits Feral Fixers!
The virus has impacted Feral Fixers in many ways.
Our Kitten Shower has been cancelled, resulting in fewer donations. We will be working on other ways to make up for those donations but we cannot replace the good will generated by the event – face to face makes a big difference, our people really enjoy getting together.
Work on the building may be slowed due to restriction of numbers of people and "Stay At Home."
Area vets have limited appointments. S/N is NOT considered an essential service. ADOPT Pet Shelter clinic has closed til further notice. We used the DCAS mobile unit this week, using safe distancing and PPE in the vehicle but the possible overall risk is too great and we will not be able to do s/n until further notice.
Many people are at home, doing Spring Cleaning and want to donate items to Feral Fixers for the building and this year's Garage Sale. We will not be putting anything in the building until we are done with improvements and we have no date for the Garage Sale as of yet. Hopefully, you have stored the items for this long, perhaps you can hold onto them a little longer – now you have them boxed up in a space-saving fashion 😊! And, please, when we are able to get together again, we will appreciate donations for our Silent Auction and door prizes.
Monetary donations – while the Required Minimum Distribution has been postponed for 2020 – many donations come from this source, the Covid-19 stimulus bill allows deductions for $300 charitable contributions in 2020.
Rescue Pack – this is the major source for our food donations. Due to the panic buying, supplies of donated pet food have been severely impacted. Temporarily, the focus has been shifted towards moving available donated food supplies to central locations, like animal controls, who may see an immediate impact in the number of animals they care for and have the largest staff numbers on hand in order to accommodate deliveries of food, most shelters have a skeleton crew at best right now. Supply of food has been cut pretty much in half but they understand the need and will be working hard to hold the next food distribution.
Trapping – this is so frustrating! We do not want to lose ground and have numbers surge again but we can't do neuter surgeries ourselves! You know, if I was able, I'd do it myself!!! We will have to consider each situation and do what we can to mitigate the impact. If that means nabbing and fostering kittens or leaving them all in place, we will have to judge on the basis of our resources at the time. So, no solid answers, we'll all have to work together for the best outcome we can achieve. Last year the surge of kittens happened on April 10th, calls are starting now.
Numbers To Date
On March 16th we ended up with two ferals that were trapped without notification, DCAS neutered them for us, both males. On March 19th we sent 5 ferals to ADOPT, 2 males, 3 females. Our last trip to DCAS, for the foreseeable future, was on 4/2 with 7 ferals, 2 males, 5 females. This brings our March total to 15, April total to 7, year total to 26 and 11,711 since our beginning.
Lots more to say, will post again soon, everyone stay healthy!