We have shirts to celebrate our milestone of 13,000 cats! Please click on our link and check out the three styles offered. We love to get the word out about what we've done and hope people will have a sense of pride in participating in our success! We're doing this online due to the lack of in-person interaction and storage of inventory, this is a huge time saver for us to do it this way and hope everyone can appreciate that! The purple looks really cool, can't wait to get my own! Sale is on until November 16th, order soon so we reach our goal! Thank you all so much!
Adoption Day – October 23rd
Kittens are not stopping this year! We have 80 kittens in foster, more waiting to move into foster and more to be trapped! We need adoptions to keep this train moving! Please check out our Petfinder, attend our Adoption Day on October 23rd at 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard from 11 – 3, get pre-approved and share our adoptables with friends and family, share our facebook posts about all the fabulous cats we have. There is no cat like a Feral Fixers cat! We've had an abundance of black kittens, they seem to come in batches of colors, now we have a surge of brown tabbies! Please consider an addition to your family!
Kittens continue to come in. Here are 5 that are awaiting a foster home.
National Feral Cat Day
Saturday was a great day! While chilly, it was a clear day and everyone was in a great mood! Thanks to everyone who showed up, donated and shared! So glad we could have this small event. We're trying to figure out how to hold a larger event in January with so much that is still unknown 😊.
We Need Help!
I make every effort to be as positive as possible – who needs to hear more negative stuff, right? But. Our current Feral Fixers volunteers are backed up in our Feral Fixers responsibilities, AND our personal responsibilities have taken huge hits. Life happens - someone volunteers to do yard work, they get a new job and cannot devote time to weeding. Someone washes crates and traps, their personal life changes dramatically and there is no one to take up the slack of keeping traps and crates washed, disinfected and in supply for the next cats to be trapped and the kittens to be cared for. Cleaning the bathrooms once a week can be a valuable contribution. To be very blunt, we've had people apply to volunteer yet do not have the skills and personalities to be a good fit. It also takes time to bring a volunteer on board, first contacts are important. Our most successful volunteers have been those individuals we have helped thru trapping and neutering, event attendees, they see the need and want to sustain our efforts. We have grown farther than we have the volunteers to support us. If you have the time and ability to do even one of the tasks we need taken care of, please contact us – showing up in person at an event is always the best way, shows a real interest and an initial investment of your time. For example, in regards to that growth, we need someone with experience who could move up in our Foster Program – 300 kittens adopted in a year require a lot of fosters. We could use someone to shoulder building maintenance – upkeep in and out – small repairs or scheduling work. And so on. Again, being blunt, you need to be a good fit and work with everyone comfortably, unique individuals to be sure.
End Of The Trapping Year ALREADY!
Hard to imagine how quickly the year has gone and here we are already with our last trip for ferals on October 29th. There will be surgeries for the kittens we have on hand as they mature enough to get surgeries. We have approximately 60 kittens that will need s/n in the coming weeks. But beyond that, winter is coming, can't do feral surgeries when their shaved bellies and impaired immune systems post-surgery might harm them and we need a break from at least that part of what we do.
On 10/15 we sent 10 cats to ADOPT, 7 friendlies, 3 ferals, with 6 females and 4 males. This brings us to 59 for October, 628 for 2021, and 13,077 since our beginning!!!
One more trip next week!
10 more cats going to ADOPT for s/n on 10/15!
Pumpkins Are Coming!
Written by Tammy McAuley
This Saturday, October 16th, is our National Feral Cat Day Celebration at Feral Fixers' building (330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard) from 11 to 3. We'll have a Bake Sale (fifteen different bakers have signed up!), Boutique and Pumpkins! We'll have a raffle of a 72" cat tree, a 52" cat tree and 3 Halloween-themed baskets! Please wear your mask while indoors as we comply with Covid rules. Check out our wish list and drop off items – the volume of cats we care for has increased and therefore our canned food needs and cat litter needs. The weather is supposed to be a clear 60-degree day, cross your fingers!
Rush Is On
Every year there is a rush starting at the end of September to get cats done. People realize that winter is coming and want to do everything they can for the cats they have been caring for and to prevent kittens from being born in the middle of winter. We will do our best but the reality is that there are only a limited number of surgery slots available and we do not neuter ferals when the temps drop below freezing. In addition to the females having shaved abdomens, both sexes get vaccinated, which can lower their immune systems and reduce their resistance to the weather change. If we can't get to your ferals, provide the best shelters you can, provide good food and water and contact us in March 2022.
As I write this, there are 40+ kittens in foster who have not had spay/neuter yet due to their age. There are more to be trapped and more foster homes are still needed. Some foster families can only help with one litter a year, some foster all year round, but kittens do not stop to suit our schedules, we still encounter kittens at this time of year. Every shelter I speak to is still full of kittens, supply is outpacing capacity. Our adoptions have been great, please tell your friends and family about our cats and if they cannot adopt, ask them to consider fostering and being part of our success!
On 10/7 we sent 15 cats to DCAS, 7 friendlies, 8 ferals, with 7 males and 8 females.
On 10/14 we sent 31 cats to DCAS, 3 friendlies, 28 ferals, with 13 females (1 already spayed) and 18 males (one already neutered). This brings us to 49 for October, 618 for 2021, and 13,067 since our beginning!!!
Yet another town has authorized an initiative to spend city funds on TNR! Delray Beach, Florida has allocated $25,000 per year to fund Trap/Neuter/Return efforts in the city. That towns are recognizing this need is a tremendous step forward! At a time when city budgets are strained to the limit, it is amazing that they are spending those funds in this manner! Just in case you might have the ear of your local government, additional information for DuPage - $25,000 would neuter 375 cats in this area – pass it on!
TNR Room prior to 10/14 trip - 31 ferals and friendlies and a couple being held in crates!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Our 13,000th cat was neutered during our September 30th trip to DCAS! We expected Gee Whiz to be a male - big, long-haired tabby – but was a female! The naming wasn't planned to work out this way, but the caption that DCAS gave on their Facebook"Gee Whiz #13,000!!!" is very appropriate! In the beginning I thought we would be done at 3,000 cats, oh my! We're very grateful for the help and support of all our donors and volunteers, the vets we count on so much, who have made this possible! Think about it – of the 13,000 cats, if half were females, and if unspayed, those females went on to have even one litter of 4 kittens – that's 26,000 kittens we prevented. There are not enough homes for that many cats. Imagine the pain and suffering we stopped cold. Imagine the joy and happiness we brought to the caretakers who have healthy outside cats to care for the rest of their days and the adoptive families who now are enjoying their feline family members!
On 9/30 we sent 25 cats, 21 ferals and 4 friendlies, of which 10 were females and 15 were males.
Since there are always more – on 10/1 we sent 5 friendly kittens to ADOPT, 2 females and 3 males. Included were Brisco, Brumby & Brie – if there were a contest for longest ear tufts, they would win for sure – they will cause a sensation when they are posted for adoption!
That brings us to 94 for September, 5 for October, 574 for 2021, and 13,023 since our beginning!!!
Ready for the trip...
Dr. Von Waldau & #13,000!
Dr. Von Waldau & Vet Tech Rachel
Got my eartip, can I go now?
21 ferals lined up and ready for transport
There's always more! ADOPT trip 10/1
Feral Cat Day Event
National Feral Cat Day is October 16th – we will celebrate on Saturday, October 16th 11am – 3pm. Drive-by donations of supplies, bake sale, Boutique items, pumpkins available for monetary donations! 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard. Easy to find, take Finley Rd and turn East on Eisenhower at the light, we're at the fork in the road. Short notice, we have been so busy!
We've been in the building for adoption events, but we may still have to limit the number inside for this event – working out those details. The Boutique items will probably be inside and everything else outside. Wear masks inside.
Get your Halloween pumpkins & gourds at our National Feral Cat Day Celebration!
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?