When you want Winter, where is it? Aarrrgghhh! As long as cats are in garages or have access to really good shelters, we’ve started up, giving in to the conditions we’ve been dealt.
On 3/17 we sent one friendly male to ADOPT, Ricardo is such a nice cat!
On 3/24 we sent 15 ferals to ADOPT, 8 males, 7 females. Another 2 were from the barn location, maybe 3 more to go there? 3 of these are from a lady who was overwhelmed within a year, 5 cats showed up one day and there are about 25 total we are working on now. We have several locations like that on our list to do, will we reach 15,000 this year? Wouldn’t THAT be something!
This brings us to 34 for March, 65 for 2023 and 14,017 since our start.
See that carrier in the crate on the left? A cat jumped in someone's car and would not leave. Diane put a the carrier in the car and he jumped right in. Unfortunately, he was NOT happy. Where's the gratitude?
Easy Donations – Spark Good at Walmart
Written by Tammy McAuley
On 3/10 we sent a total of 15 cats to ADOPT. One male had been previously trapped a year and a half ago and had terrible mats – ADOPT was kind enough to sedate and brush out the mats – he didn’t have to be shaved! There were 6 females and 9 males. One of the males had a head wound, we treated and held for a week, he was doing great – some unknown reason he passed while in recovery – he had been doing so well! His caretaker is very sad. Also in this trip were 3 more cats from the barn situation, bringing that location total to 25 cats, 14 of which were females.
Total for March is at 18, total for 2023 is 49 and we have now reached 14,001!
Our first milestone cat was #5,000 in 2013, Culv Meadow. 10 years and 9,000 cats later we have Hitz Honey #14,000!, a 4 year old, many times a mom feral.
Thank you for your help in getting us here!
Not her idea!
Ready to go...
Hitz Honey - #14,000!
Best Friends Seminar
On 3/9, DuPage Animal Services hosted a seminar for local law enforcement presented by representatives from Best Friends Animal Society. Focus was interacting with the public and animals. I was able to attend the Community Cats & Wildlife segments and learned some new things.
I also learned that racoons have a different sort of roundworms that are extremely toxic to humans – be sure to wash traps and be extremely careful if you encounter raccoon feces – I had never heard of this!
In addition, I was able to meet 3 different PD employees in person and hope to develop lines of communication with them that we had not had previously! Very grateful to DCAS for inviting me to attend!
Break? What Break?
Written by Tammy McAuley
From an article from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine:
“Petco Love is making the internship possible with a $510,000 grant to train two interns each year for three years. The organization, which invests in animal shelters, spay-neuter programs, disaster responses, and programs to help keeps pets with their families, has observed first-hand how the shrinking veterinary workforce is leaving the most vulnerable organizations without critically needed care. The internship program is designed to start filling those gaps with practice-ready veterinarians who can step in and make a difference right away.”
This is a great benefit and is definitely a move in the right direction. Keep in mind that nation-wide, it has been estimated that we are lacking 15,000 veterinarians.
Latest from Smile
We received our latest donation for the time period 10/1/22 to 12/31/22 - $696.30! We will still receive the donations from money spent from 1/1/23 to 2/20/23 and a bonus based on a 3 month average. So many donors have expressed their frustration with the removal of this way of showing support. We are searching for additional alternatives, we will keep you posted. Check out whether your company has a matching charity program, there are those who match twice your donation. Look into an automatic monthly donation thru your checking or PayPal.
Our goal is to make donations as easy as possible! Thank you all for your generosity!
Break? Not So Much
On 1/30, our last friendly kitten of 2022 was neutered at DCAS. Edward was promptly adopted by his foster, she could not let him go!
On 2/23, we sent 23 ferals to DCAS. 15 females, 8 males. These came from a barn location and were able to be returned to the barn and stay warm, no matter what weather came our way. This means we averted a minimum of 60 kittens being born - 15 x 4 (avg litter size). We have GOT to get ahead this year. Cats are doing well as of this writing. Can’t wait for reliable, over 30 degree temperatures and surgery slots!
2/27, a feral male went to Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital with a severe eye injury. Usually, it is very difficult to put a one-eyed cat back outside. His caretakers wanted to try bringing him inside, so he did have potential support, he tested negative and was very healthy otherwise so we went ahead with eye removal. He did not magically become friendly, so we will see how he does in the next few weeks at their home.
On 3/2, 4 friendly male kittens went to DCAS, all born in December, cats do not watch the calendar!
This brings us to 7 for January, 24 for February and 4 for March so far, 35 for 2023 and a grand total of 13,987 since our start in 2007. So close to 14,000!
23 cats, warm & ready to go for s/n!
Edward is ready for his neuter trip!
Kittens arrived Wednesday afternoon for neuter on Thursday 3/2, so spent the night in crates in TNR
Feral Cat Care
We provide care for the ferals outside – who else? This can be wounds, worms, Upper Respiratory and more. Sometimes it is a difficult decision that must be made. Wanted to share Smokey’s story – he was TNR’d in 2019. We were contacted by his caretaker that he was not breathing well and she had managed to get him into her garage, volunteer trapper Cheri got him into a trap and on 2/20 he went for exam. First step was to get the infection under control so he got injectable antibiotics. Back to the building, his coat was soooo thick with mats, uncomfortable, so grooming was needed! An hour of using a Furminator resulted in a cat sized pile of fur! On 2/28 he went to have his sinuses scoped to make sure he did not have a polyp and he is clear. He may be susceptible to breathing issues as a result of being FIV+. Loves tummy rubs and will be going to foster soon on his road to adoption.
Fluffy boy Smokey!
All of this came from Smokey after just one hour of Furminating! He will need upkeep but luckily enjoys it!
Letter From The President - With Your Help
Written by Tammy McAuley
731 spay/neuters of cats and kittens. We brought in +/- 320 friendly cats & kittens. Some of these were previously neutered adults who decided to become friendly after being neutered. There have been approximately 300 adoptions, but still have 33 officially posted for adoption and many more in foster homes. We have helped many cats with injuries and conditions from simple upper respiratory to congenital defects the cats were born with. We have provided food for caretakers. Removed feral cats from inside homes when there was no other way to get them out. Seen the change in cats who were completely feral transitioning into loving lap cats. Relocated cats that could no longer stay where they were due to overpopulation or change of circumstances. You have helped us do so much! So much goes on behind the scenes beyond our reports of spay/neuter trips and you are all part of caring for the stray and feral cats of DuPage County!
What Can We Expect In 2023?
We continue to face the unknown. Who could have expected that across the nation, we are short 15,000 veterinarians? Who could have expected that our nation could be short millions of spay/neuter surgeries? So many different factors are affecting daily lives, it will be interesting to see the impact on cats outdoors, how many kittens will be born to these unneutered females still roaming that no one was able to get to. Prices have gone up for cat food, cat litter, gasoline to take them to appointments & adoptions, and on and on. What can we do? We can continue to get as many spay/neuter appointments as we possibly can and to FILL those appointments, making caretakers aware that they must contact us as soon as a cat is consistent in attendance. It is the ONLY way to lower costs in the future. Once those kittens arrive, we will care for them, using resources for current day expenses, not for preventing even greater expenditures in the future – that is unsustainable and returns us to the past when feral cats were euthanized regularly.
Trapping will resume around the end of March, beginning of April. Keep an eye out for ferals in your area, talk to your neighbors, help us help you to care for those cats.
What Can You Do?
The Amazon Smile donation in November, which covered purchases made between July 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022, came to $606.70. That means that our donors spent $121,340 in that time period and .5% was donated by Amazon Smile – Yay! Use AmazonSmile and designate Feral Fixers – could not be an easier way to raise funds!
Visit our wish lists at Amazon & Chewy – we always need food; canned food in particular goes fast when you are supporting so MANY kittens! Gift cards allow us to purchase what our greatest need at the time is – paper towels, bleach, laundry detergent, litter boxes – amazing the variety of things we purchase to keep going!
Spread our information to coworkers, family, social media – we have donors across the country! Cats have a ripple effect, they don’t stay in one place and affect wider resources than those on their street, in their town, in their county – even in their state! New people are volunteering with us due to sharing information, but we need more volunteers, many more. Trappers, transporters, cleaners in the building, animal care in the building, fosters, event volunteers, the list goes on. You tell us what you want to do to help, and we try to make that fit for both of our benefits!
Frosty Claws in 2023
We seem to be returning to some degree of normalcy. As a result, we will be holding our 2023 Frosty Claws on Sunday, January 15th from 12 noon to 4pm at the Villa Park VFW. We may have huge attendance that day because of skipping years, please be patient. This is an event for our caretakers, adopters, donors, to talk about cats and network with some fundraising and food. We are about to start assembling our Silent Auction and door prize items – we may not have as much “stuff” as in previous years – we will post items as they are created, as soon as we have a chance. We look forward to seeing everyone who can attend!
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.