We sent 27 cats for surgery, plus one for rabies only and one for Convenia only, to DCAS on September 29th. 5 friendlies, 22 ferals, 15 males and 12 females. The cat needing rabies vaccination had been too young on a previous trip and Wolcott had terrible URI, not a candidate for surgery then – but has decided to be friendly!
On 9/30 we sent 13 cats to ADOPT, 5 friendlies, 8 ferals, 9 males and 4 females.
Our totals to date: 107 for September, 555 for the year, 13,769 since 2007.
Feral cats pee out the end of the trap! = newspaper on the floor to blot up quickly. Cats for 9/29, on hand already for 9/30, etc.
This is 9/30 AM - cats that went in yesterday, new ones going in, constant movement.
Last Feral Trip for the Year
Reminder - Our last feral trip will be October 13th.
We are ending our feral trapping early this year. Many reasons:
S/n slots will be sharply curtailed after 13th due to vet availability
Volunteer EXHAUSTION (two trips a week, almost every week, even if they are back-to-back)
Fewer volunteers than ever = we are all doing double-duty+
Trapping = kittens coming in and not enough fosters to support more
Year-end tasks = fundraisers and more!
We hope you understand and know we will continue to help in all the other things we do in addition to trapping, but we want to continue doing TNR in the future and we have to have a break of some sort. We will still be posting about surgeries – we have kittens on hand to neuter yet and a small number of other incidental cats will occur. But all out trapping has to cease until next Spring – when overnight temperatures are above freezing consistently. It can be much easier to say “yes” and suffer the consequences but now we have to say “no” for a while. I’ve been told repeatedly to slow down, “There will always be cats, but there is only ONE of you.”
Adoption Event Saturday October 8th
Come to our building (330 Eisenhower Lane North in Lombard) and visit our adoptable cats/kittens on Saturday from 11 to 3! Fill out an Adoption form in advance – it will speed up the process a lot! We will have almost 20 cats/kittens on hand and information about the other 80 adoptables we have in foster. We have gotten a reputation for being the most knowledgeable about the felines in our care, resulting in so many happy adoptions! We also have dozens more awaiting fostering families, please consider! To learn more about fostering, click here. Hope to see you there!
“As If They Were Our Own” Results
Thank you to everyone who donated to “As If They Were Our Own!” We received $ 12,874 in total donations, $4,774 donated to match and $8,100 was donated to be matched – still donated despite not being matched. This is tremendous, considering the state the world is in. Thank you all for caring about the cats, we will do our best to do our part!
Thank you for your donations!
These two were initially bottle babies. Mom was trapped two days later and we were able to reunite them - mom is always best! Took many people working together to make this happen!
End of September Updates
Written by Tammy McAuley
Fundraising is complex. There’s the knowledge that expenses are always going to go up. The knowledge that pretty much everyone is in that same boat financially. Just like our donors, we have to have more in the bank than our foreseeable output. We’ve seen the chaos happening around us, who knows what next year or five years from now will bring? That is why we continue to fundraise, asking for funds to cover that next spay/neuter trip that can range from $65 to $2,000, depending on how many cats, how many snap tests, how many vaccinations are covered in those trips. Right now, dentals are a huge expense for us – one of our adoptables went in for a dental last week – after Rescue discount - $1,200. Ouch! Six teeth removed - he is a much happier cat now! One cat. We take care of all of them “As If They Were Our Own.” Cats are living longer – years ago this cat may not have survived to the age to need a dental! So many factors!
Fundraising can be very emotional for me – how much do we ask for? How much can our donor base really contribute? Do our donors see what a difference their donations can make? Are our donors getting enough information to make informed decisions? I hope so, try very hard to give a positive slant with our story!
This will be the last blog post before our current fundraiser As If They Were Our Own ends on September 30th. As I write this, we are at 36% of our goal. There is always a last-minute rush to donate and make the goal, hope you can be a part of the rush!
Thank you for your donations!
Headed Towards the End of The Year – Already!
Already the end of September! Reminder - Our last feral trip will be October 13th.
On September 22nd, we sent 22 ferals to DCAS, 9 females, 13 males. Of those, all but three were black or black/white. Good thing we label everyone’s traps so clearly – confusion could result!
On September 23rd, 11 cats went to ADOPT, 5 friendlies, 6 ferals, composed of 2 females and 9 males.
This brings us to 67 so far in September, 515 for 2022, 13,729 since our start.
In these two trips, 12 cats came from a hoarder house. They are fearful, not adoptable, surprisingly healthy compared to many hoarder situations, they will all be relocated to a barn location where they can continue to live together with the cats they know. And, after being so sure the last had been trapped, #13 was trapped yesterday. The people did not know how many cats were in the house. Please, if you know of situations like this, tell the Health Department, Code Enforcement, get these cats some help – they do not choose to live like this. We rarely do hoarder situations; they are so overwhelming, and a large percentage of the cats may need to be euthanized – too much for us to handle!
Cats for 9/22, cats already for 9/23, kittens awaiting foster, cats awaiting relocation, BUSY room!
5 friendlies & 6 ferals on 9/23/22
We mentioned Fries a few blogs ago – she had her left front leg amputated. She WAS a sad picture, she would sit up in the corner of her crate, resting her non-functioning paw thru the squares. Ayyyy! Now, such a happy kitten!
Fries does not miss her left front leg - didn't work anyway!
Fries does not miss her left front leg - didn't work anyway!
We shared video of Regina’s surgery in the last blog – she is now able to breathe normally and become a normal kitten! Her eye is inflamed because the polyp was anchored behind her left eye – steroids and time should make a big difference!
Regina on her way to being a normal kitten!
Thank you to everyone who helps us make a difference!
National Feral Cat Day Event – Oct 16th
We’re having an Open House for National Feral Cat Day! On Sunday, October 16th from 12 to 3pm, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard, join us for a bake sale, gourd sale, door prizes and our Boutique sale (t-shirts+). Donations from our Wish List will be gratefully accepted! Socialize with other cat people! Hope to see you there!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Black Kittens Galore!
Our next Adoption Events are Saturday, 9/24 and in October on 10/8. This year has seen a big surge in black cats. Of the 45 cats currently posted on our Petfinder, 12 are black and 15 are black/white. Rescues battle the “black cat” myths all the time and perhaps because of that, adopters of black cats treasure their family members all that much more when they DO adopt them. Personally, I have found that black cats try harder, as if they know they need to put a little more effort into the game. There are personality traits that coincide with coat colors – the thousands and thousands of cats I’ve encountered has made that clear to me – black cats often have a different look in their eyes, more of an effort to communicate. Check out the cats posted on our Want to Adopt? page and fill out an adoption questionnaire in advance. Many cats may be at the Adoption Events before being posted as well. Hope to see you there!
Two More Trips!
Pressure is on as the temperature drops. It appears our last big trip (more than 10 cats) will be on October 13th due to vet availability. If that changes, be aware that TNR of ferals will still be drastically reduced/stopped as of October 28th. Cold overnight temperatures negatively affect recently neutered cats – bare abdomens and vaccinations play a part in their recovery, and we do not wish to do harm.
On 9/15 we sent 20 feral cats, 15 males, 5 females to DCAS. We received a thank you from a caretaker who did not know she shared “Titus” with someone else and he showed up for dinner sporting an ear tip! They have now communicated, and both know more about this guy!
On 9/16 we sent 4 ferals, 3 males (one already neutered), 1 female. It is so important to microchip cats – if we had found a microchip on the already neutered male, he would not have had to go thru the process, we could have contacted the chip owner and returned him that much sooner!
September total 34. 2022 total 482, to-date 13,696!
TNR room is always in constant motion - nobody waiting to go to foster, cats awaiting relocation in crate by window, 20 for s/n!
Four on the end headed for ADOPT 9/16
This is Konen, neutered 9/15, has since decided he might like a home. Still needs a snap test, then can go to foster!
“As If They Were Our Own” Fundraiser
Update on Regina - Regina was a mess when she came to us. Due to a nasopharyngeal polyp, her breathing was restricted, her eating, even sleep was disturbed by the struggle to breathe. We treated her for URI, eye infection, ear infection and finally she was ready for her procedure on 9/20! Her size was a big concern – 2lbs at 14 weeks is very small. You cannot imagine the relief at the report of a grape size polyp being removed from her sinuses! Immediately, she was breathing normally. After recovery, just hours later, she was eating normally! On steroids to reduce the post-surgical inflammation, she is playing and has found her voice – she rarely meowed before, her appetite for canned food is huge! She can sleep deeply, such a happy kitten!
We don’t tell our cat stories until we are pretty confident of success – there are many more stories that we do not burden our supporters with but be aware we treat every cat “As If They Were Our Own!”
We have 7 days left in our Fundraiser. We have reached 23% of our goal of raising $6,000 in matching funds by September 30th. When you donate, you motivate and share your support of Feral Fixers. These funds help us meet our goal to do all the vaccinations, upper respiratory treatments, wound care, congenital abnormalities! that come our way. Fall is usually even busier for some reason when it comes to that extra care that ferals need. You, our donors, make that possible. Share a pic of the important cats in your life and help us to continue to support the many ferals of DuPage County! Whether $10 or $500, it will be matched for a net of $12,000, please share with friends and family and continue to help the cats!
Immediately below is a brief video showing the removal of the polyp. While this may be a bit distressing to look at, please remember that the cat was under sedation the entire time and was not suffering. The suffering happened before this surgery and the surgery ended the suffering.
While Regina was able to eat dry food well, canned food was much more difficult - post surgery.
This study contains a lot of information, not an easy read but very informative. In the last two years we have “lost” millions of spay/neuter surgeries. If you are wondering why we still have so much work to do, know that there are many factors that impact our ability to do TNR. Data from 212 clinics surveyed shows the effect of COVID on this industry.
“In total, 190,818 fewer surgeries were performed by the 212 studied clinics in the 24 months from January 2020 through December 2021 than would be expected had 2019 levels been maintained. If a similar pattern was experienced by all 3,000 estimated spay-neuter clinics in the US, it would suggest a deficit of more than 2.7 million spay-neuter surgeries have accumulated by the end of 2021.”
“Conclusion: At the beginning of 2020, a cohort of 212 spay-neuter clinics that collectively performed more than 1 million surgeries per year were on track to increase surgeries by 5% over the previous year. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown resulted in a drastic reduction of surgeries, from which the industry has not yet recovered. The high level of spay-neuter achieved over the past five decades is the single most important driver of reduced pet overpopulation and euthanasia in animal shelters. Veterinarians and animal welfare organizations should collaborate to prioritize recovery of spay-neuter capacity with a special focus on serving populations most at risk for unintended reproduction, poor welfare, or entering the animal shelter system.”
Our donors and volunteers are the driving force that will enable us to regain that lost ground. Thank you for your help and continued support!
Is your veterinary clinic individually owned? Or has it been sold to a chain? That is a developing concern in some parts of the country and a complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission. As many of us turn to emergency and specialty facilities for the best care of our pets, this is important information to be aware of. Competition in any marketplace is important for consumers – including pet health!
“The Federal Trade Commission today (6/13/22) took action to protect competition in markets for specialty and emergency veterinary services by requiring the owner of a chain of veterinary clinics, JAB Consumer Partners, to divest clinics in California and Texas as a condition of its proposed $1.1 billion acquisition of competing clinic operator SAGE Veterinary Partners, LLC. The Commission also is imposing robust prior approval and prior notice requirements on JAB’s future acquisitions of specialty and emergency veterinary clinics.”
“The complaint alleges that as originally proposed, the acquisition is likely to be anticompetitive in three geographic markets for various types of veterinary care in Texas and California.
In and around Austin, Texas, for internal medicine, neurology, medical oncology, critical care, and surgery veterinary specialty services, as well as emergency veterinary services would be harmed by the acquisition.
In and around San Francisco, California, for internal medicine, neurology, ophthalmology, and surgery veterinary specialty services, as well as emergency veterinary services would be harmed.
In and between Oakland, Berkeley, and Concord, California, for internal medicine, medical oncology, and surgery veterinary specialty services, as well as emergency veterinary services would be harmed.
All of these markets are highly concentrated, and the acquisition would substantially increase concentration in each market, leaving the combined firm as the only provider in some markets, and one of only two providers in other markets."
Those lovely tufts of fur in your cat’s ear – they are called Ear Furnishings! Check out even more cat ear facts.
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?