You can also donate to our Fund Our Ferals' Future campaign by CLICKING HERE.
We Keep on Keepin' on...
Written by Tammy McAuley
153 So Far This Year!
Amazingly we are still finding colonies of 10+! And now, in locations that we TNR'd ten years ago, as the previous cats disappear, fresh, new unneutered cats are showing up. Our approach is much more specific, thankfully, being able to get the mom and her kittens before an explosion happens but it doesn't look like we are going to be "done", the size of the area and the people involved and the economy all play a part in our ongoing work – but we are making a difference in all their lives! Total of 19 in additional April trips, 60 for the month, 53 so far in May, 153 for the year and 13,367 since our beginning in 2007, almost 15 years ago!
May 2nd trip to DCAS Whether 1 cat or dozens, each s/n trip is worth it!
Ronald R. Bork Fund of DuPage Foundation Grant
We are very grateful for the grant we have received from the Ronald R. Bork Fund of DuPage Foundation which is to help us provide funds for the spaying and neutering we do for the next year. The $15,000 will equal services for approximately 250 cats in the coming months. We could not continue to reduce the feral overpopulation and euthanasia without support like this from our community!
Helping Outdoor Cats
In the May issue of the DuPage County Animal Services (DCAS) Newsletter, there is an article about helping outdoor cats. From the article:
Talk to your neighbors to see if anyone is providing food or shelter
Trap/Neuter/Release is the most humane way to keep feral cat populations under control
Don't Kitten-nap! Kittens do best with their mom until old enough to be socialized. If you find a kitten on its own, mom may be out getting food. Give mom a chance to come back and monitor the kitten for signs of distress. Speak with a rescue organization before bringing in a kitten.
Kittens come in and are housed in crates temporarily until they settle down enough for "Cats In Transition"
Fund Our Ferals Future Fund
Our Ferals Future Giving Grid Campaign ends May 31st. As I write this, we have raised only 14% of our total goal. So much is happening in the world, gas and food prices, so many people and other organizations in need, it is not surprising. Who knew so much would happen in such a short period of time? Our donors are so wonderful, we know that if they are not directing their donations towards Feral Fixers, they are still doing so much good in the world, how could we feel badly if we do not meet this one goal? Fundraising is a constant, there will be more opportunities to support us! Please do your best to share and invite others to participate, it would be tremendous to meet our goal! In the meantime, hug your cats, give 'em some catnip, some extra treats and remember how lucky you are to be able to do so! Thank you all for what you do! We have $18,000 in pledges to be matched, we can get quite a lot done with that! Please help us to continue to make improvements, make our building safer!
Things that need to be fixed in our Parking Lot!
Another picture of the Parking Lot and the Back steps that need to be improved.
We have had a rush of ferals with constipation issues! Be sure to put out water and to mix water in with canned food you are feeding them!
The graphic below shows the progression of kittens from Newborn through 10 weeks. It is difficult to read, so you can see an easier to read and more detailed explanation at the Alley Cat Allies Kitten Progression page.
When kittens come in, fresh from being trapped, they take awhile to get used to being handled.
When cats are under stress, the pads of their feet actually sweat!
Hard day - trapped, handled by humans for the first time, need some rest!
This family is still with their mom in Caturnity (the mom & kitten ward in the building). Out for play time, they will be going to foster soon!
When we encounter moms & kittens, depending on age and situation, they come to the building, kittens are put in a feral cat den and mom is transferred to join them. This mom settled down right away and started nursing! The den is then placed in a crate which gives everyone plenty of room to move around and get comfortable, there's a port hole on the side.
These guys were comfortable enough to come to the front of the crate but still needed to be close to each other.
(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version)
Written by Tammy McAuley
Two more trips...
4/19/22 DCAS, 2 ferals, 1 friendly, 3 males. Bixby is another 9-month-old from a location where the cats are turning friendly.
4/22/22 ADOPT, 1 feral male.
This brings us to 41 for April, 81 for 2022 and 13,295 since our start. Rain was not our friend this week! Slots went unused ☹.
TNR Workshop – May 1st – Don't Forget!
Still on for the TNR Workshop on Sunday, May 1st at our building, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard, from 1pm to 3pm. We will do a demonstration of different traps, equipment, methods and answer questions. Masks optional, may change to required if positivity rates change. Learn to trap! Visit our Facebook Event announcement here, learn more about the workshop and tell us if you're going to attend.
Fund Our Ferals Future
Fund Our Ferals Future Giving Grid Campaign kicks off on May 1st and ends May 31st. We have two projects we would like to pursue:
Replacing our parking lot! The snow plow has been having quite a battle with the uneven pavement and holes!
The back steps to the single door are an awkward height and its hard to get in the door if you are carrying anything – need more space and probably a railing.
Just these two items could take quite a chunk of money! We still have to get firm quotes.
We have $18,000 in pledges to be matched, we can get quite a lot done with that! Please help us to continue to make improvements, make our building safer!
The first two are part of the 12 pallets of donated litter we received from Cats Pride. This was noted in the last newsletter/post but pictures weren't available 'til now.
And the last picture is a load of mulch from Dawson's Tree Service - thank you! - that is subsequently being spread around the property by volunteers - thank all of you too!
Cases of Litter donated from Cats Pride - again, thanks to CTMechanical for storing it for us!
Mulch donated from Dawson's Tree Service and spread by volunteers!
(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version of the picture)
April – Off We Go!
Written by Tammy McAuley
It is not ideal to do multiple s/n trips in a week, very tiring, but you do what you gotta do.
4/12 DCAS, 3 ferals, 2 male, 1 female. Jacque was in this trip – he needed intervention!
4/14 DCAS, 5 ferals, 2 male, 3 female. Switch at the last-minute do to one female having a Blessed Event – Birdie had 4 kittens!
4/15 DCAS, 1 feral male. Bistro put us over our limit at ADOPT and couldn't wait a week.
4/15 ADOPT, 12 ferals, 7 male, 5 female. Supposed to only have 10.
Many thanks to ADOPT for letting us go a cat or two over our estimate and for DCAS fitting us into their normal workday so we could get these cats processed! We have been dragging our feet since the overnight temperatures are still pretty cold, but the cats are not paying any attention! This brings us to a total of 37 for April, a 2022 total of 77 and 13,291 since our start in 2007. We are at 27 newly born kittens, can always use mom & babies fosters!
7 for April 1st!
Took time to sweep the floor before pic! 4/8 trip to ADOPT!
Cats that came back from 12th and 14th trips and awaiting 4/15 trip
Back to double-stacking
Around The Building
Load of mulch delivered this week – thank you to Dawsons Tree Service! – planning on Saturday, 4/23 for spreading the wood chips – let us know if you can help on this or another landscape project! Also, the semitrucks have been gouging out the parkway on the North side – looks like we need more boulders. Happy to adopt more for our border to protect our landscape, we can get them moved into place.
Rescue Pack had freebies this month. We received 30 medium beds which filled Tammy's Element, most went to storage unit.
Shipman found his Rescue Pack bed - appreciates it!
TNR Workshop – May 1st – Don't Forget!
We've had TNR workshops in the past but have had to rent a location, etc., and then, of course the pandemic!
We will be hosting a TNR Workshop on Sunday, May 1st at our building, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard, from 1pm to 3pm. We will do a short demonstration of different traps, equipment, methods and answer questions. Masks optional, may change to required if positivity rates change. We'd love to share our experience with you!
Litter For Good!
Wonder what happens when you designate Feral Fixers to receive litter from Cat's Pride? And then a pandemic and rising gasoline costs delay distribution a bit – 12 skids of litter show up at once! Thank you all for nominating Feral Fixers! We have to use clay litter for all the kittens in foster and Cat's Pride is kind enough to listen to our needs and send us clay. Huge thank you to CTMechanical in Addison for storing our supply – no way it could fit in our building!!! It will be interesting if this year's kitten volume will use it all! Keep on nominating us – you never know how many kittens will show up!
Birdie and her newborns Born 4/13
Time For a New Feral Fixers Vehicle
Our Transit lost its transmission battle and is no more. The Transit Connect is just the best all-round vehicle for us and we want to get another – the only vehicle we will consider. Would prefer a gently used one but will cope with a new one if we have to (have you noticed how new vehicles seem to attract damage?). Both new and used are in short supply, as is our time for shopping. This is just in case our donors may know of someone who wants to divest themselves of a Transit Connect – many businesses are down-sizing, etc. I believe that if you don't ask, you don't get!
2022 For Love Of Cats Raffle
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2022 For The Love Of Cats Raffle! We had 2 more raffle items than last year and our participants doubled. Thank you all so much! We wish we could give everyone a prize!
In An Instant
Everything A Cat Needs
Valentine Bears & Crafts
Coffee To Go
Surround Yourself With Cats
Spring Hearts & Flowers Quilt
Dream A Little Dream
Cats Can Decorate Quilted Wall Hanging
A Wine For Every Month
Jacque has long hair - his entire back was one huge mat and came off in one piece
Jacque - giving a crate a try
It is kinda scary in here
Being held for the first time went pretty well!
Jacque - liking the touching!
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?