It's already Thanksgiving! This year has flown by and we would like to take the time to express how thankful we are for all of our volunteers, donors, people who support us in so many different ways! Every time you mention to someone else how much we do, what we've done, that helps all the cats we take care of. Bringing us and TNR into everyday consciousness is huge! Generosity with time and money – can't tell you how much we appreciate that! Thank you all for making such a difference for the cats and kittens and for Feral Fixers!
Slowing Down For Several Weeks!
We've stopped trapping but still report cats being neutered, there are still kittens on hand to be done. We will be making one more trip in November but then hope to take several weeks off – we HAVE to! So far this year we have adopted out 270 cats and kittens – depending on when you are reading this 😊. We still have 28 cats officially posted on Petfinder, 30+ who are recently neutered, not posted yet and over a dozen that still have to be neutered. Submit your own and tell your friends to fill out adoption applications.
On 11/16 we sent 9 cats to DCAS, 8 friendlies, 1 feral with 6 males and 3 females.
On 11/18 we sent 13 cats to ADOPT, 12 friendlies, 1 feral with 7 males and 6 females.
On 11/23 10 cats went to DCAS, 7 friendlies, 3 ferals with 5 males and 5 females.
We'll be holding onto the ferals a little extra time, making sure they have shelters to go back to so that they stay healthy – their conditions merited neutering them at this time. One of the friendlies had been a bottle baby found in a Jewel parking lot – been getting great care since, surprise! it's a boy! Sometimes things are a little questionable in that area. Lovely kitten! Look for Jewel joining our ranks of adoptables soon.
DuPage Foundation Community Needs Grant Recipient
Feral Fixers was one of 31 not-for-profit organizations to receive a grant through DuPage Foundation’s Community Needs Grant Program (Community Needs). During the fall, 2021, Community Needs cycle, DuPage Foundation awarded $432,193 to organizations working in the areas of education, arts & culture, environment and animal welfare. Feral Fixers received a grant in the amount of $7,000 to provide veterinary support for stray, feral and adoptable cats and kittens – adding funds to our "As If They Were Our Own" efforts. DuPage Foundation is the philanthropic leader in DuPage County and we are very proud to receive this grant to help the cats in our community. These funds enable us to help the injured, the sick and those that do not have designated caretakers to provide funds for their care. We do not hesitate to provide care and grants and support from our donors give us the freedom to do so. We are very grateful to DuPage Foundation and the donors who benefit their community thru donations to DuPage Foundation.
Two More Adoption Events Yet This Year
We will be having two more Adoption Events this year at the building – December 4th & December 18th. We have so many wonderful kittens and adults hoping for a home! We generally have 20+ cats in attendance at these events in crates in the main room, small rooms for meet & greets as families make their choices – and our cats choose them as well! Filling out adoption applications in advance helps the process immensely. Additional pre-arranged adoption interviews are possible if you find someone on our Petfinder page in advance, too. Hope to see you there!
Getting ready for the trip on 11/18!
End of day on 11/23
November 13th Adoption Event
Written by Sue Lee
It was a chilly fall day for our adoption event on Saturday, 11/13, at the Wheaton PetSmart as part of PetSmart National Adoption Week. That did not stop our kittens from showing how charming and cute they could be!
14 kittens were the stars of our show (Baker, Dorito, Rindi, Davey, Dabney, Dawson, Morie, Morty, Damsel, Damitri, Darrow, Dalton, Weston & Weigela). We were positioned in the back of the store which was great for proximity to the meet 'n greet rooms and away from the dog training, but not the best for visibility. Fortunately, we used Steve's telescoping stand for our banner so shoppers could see where we were located.
The event started out slow, but foot traffic picked up an hour or so into the event. We hosted several meet 'n greet sessions with Dorita, Davey & Dabney, Dawson, Morie & Morty, Damsel and Damitri. Our kittens did very well showing how adorable and loving they can be, and some applications were received.
Only 1 adoption occurred at the event:
Damsel was adopted by a terrific couple in Elk Grove Village as a companion for the male kitten they adopted from us in 2017.
9 other kittens were adopted from their foster homes since our last adoption event at the end of October:
Dewey & Desdemona - Adopted by a couple in Northbrook who had recently lost their senior cat.
Destiny - Adopted by her foster mom in Aurora as a companion for her current cat.
Danby - Adopted by his foster family in Oakbrook Terrace, who have other cat playmates for him.
Moose - Adopted by a couple in Countryside who love black cats and have a senior black male cat buddy for Moose.
Mango - Adopted by a former Feral Fixers foster family in Wheaton who was looking for an orange boy as a companion for their female Russian Blue mix cat.
Amigo - Adopted by a young man, his girlfriend and his family, whom they live with in LaGrange Park.
Glenn - Adopted by a gal in Bartlett as a companion for the male kitten she adopted from us in 2018.
Ophelia - Adopted by a family in Carol Stream as a companion for the female kitten they adopted from us last year. The girls will also have a Golden Retriever to keep them company. This gal is the sister of the gal who adopted Ophelia's 3 siblings at our last adoption event, so the kittens may still have play dates!
Many thanks to the foster families who brought their kittens to this event (Dee/Abby, Jennifer/Jeremy, Lauren/Marina, Jen D, Chrystie, Erin). Special thanks to the majority of these fosters who were also able to stay during the events to interact with our guests and promote their fosters.
Many more thanks to the volunteers who made this event possible. Sarah K - for help loading the van prior to the event. Sara and Steve - for the efficient set-up. Sara & Trista - for the great job with adoption counseling and interacting with our guests. Steve - for the professional-looking cage cards and the stand for our banner. Sara - for the photography during the event and helping with the laundry. Steve & Trista - for coming back to the building after the event to unload the supplies.
We will close out the year with 2 more adoption events at our building:
Saturday, December 4, 11am-3pm
Saturday, December 18, 11am-3pm
There are several kittens who have recently been spayed/neutered or will be in the coming weeks, so there will be a number of new faces at these events.
In the meantime, best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
Between Halloween and Thanksgiving...
Written by Tammy McAuley
Still More Cats!
We made two trips to DCAS –
10/21 with 19 ferals and 6 friendlies, 13 females, 12 males.
10/28 with 29 ferals and 1 friendly, 14 females and 16 males.
Three trips to ADOPT –
10/29 with 6 friendlies, 1 female, 5 males.
11/4 with 1 feral, 9 friendlies, 3 female, 7 males.
11/11 with 1 feral and 14 friendlies, 5 female, 10 males.
This brings us to 120 for October, 25 for November to date, 714 for 2021, and 13,163 since our beginning!!!
Trapping Ends But Still Much To Do!
We have to bring trapping to a close at this time of year. The cats' health is impacted with surgeries and vaccinations so we have to take a break. It may result in additional litters still this year or before we can get to them in the Spring but there is only so much we can do. If there is a litter in your yard, provide them a shelter, food, water and call us first thing when the overnight temperatures are consistently above freezing. We usually start back up late in March, especially if the cats have good shelter. Think ahead and keep our information on hand and we'll do the best we can. Think about how you can help us help you. Spread the word about Feral Fixers, we need more volunteers for cat care, fostering, trapping, cleaning, how you can help us depends on you as an individual, what your skills are and what you enjoy doing. We still have dozens and dozens of wonderful kittens on hand, many who are yet to be neutered and posted, please spread the word about our adoptables. Today, we have 23 cats posted on our Petfinder, please fill out the application to be considered for one of our very special cats. There's nothing like a room of 15 cats at an adoption event wanting their own warm, happy home!
Still Time for #13,000 Shirts
Please click on our Shirt Fundraiser link. We had some supply chain issues where XL shirts were not available for one of the T-Shirts - our apologies for the difficulties. The fundraiser ends on November 16th. Thank you to everyone who has ordered, look forward to seeing you in your new shirts!
What a difference a day makes - trip for 10/28 - full room!
Sometimes the fosters live closer to the clinic so take kittens directly to s/n for us - why you only see 7 here for 11/4. They still get pre-labeled carriers and paperwork in advance.
Elke is just the sweetest - she was transferred to WSHS for adoption after her spay!
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?