With a final push of donations, we went past the $37,000 mark, surpassing our goal of $36,700 and we received emails of donors dropping additional checks in the mail still to arrive.
This was a very optimistic fundraiser with a very high goal, considering how generous donors had been at year end we really did not know if we would make it but we had to ask as we had those matching funds waiting.
Feral Fixers donors came thru once again!
Our supporters have been very patient and we will ask once again for your patience as we get our building ready for full use. With the current pandemic, things may move slowly. There are some basic repairs, modifications, before we have an open house and even at the time of the open house we won't be fully renovated - we want you to see the progress we will be able to make thru your efforts as you come back and visit again and again.
So much has been "hurry up and wait" and that is still going to the needed plan but we can do that with the security that you have provided.
Please take care of yourselves and those around you and we hope to be able to see you in person soon!!!"
Today Is The Day!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Today we closed on our building!
What a long process! Looking back at emails, we started looking at buildings LAST February! So much time spent on looking, trying to find the right fit. Our first visit to this building was last April!
We would like to express our extreme gratitude to one member of the team that got this done. Last January, when she attended Frosty Claws, we had an offer from one of our supporters, Danna Horton, a lawyer with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Chicago to help us with our process. Danna, her team and Katten, are the reason we have been successful. Hours and hours of work have been pro-bono. So many details that we or most lawyers might have missed and has saved us so much in negotiations and closing costs. Danna wished to adopt one of our cats but found that she was too allergic and is doing so much to support Feral Fixers while using her incredible talents for our benefit.
As our process goes on, we will be thanking the other contributors to Feral Fixer's success. It is a long list and we wanted to get started!
And always, thank you to our donors! You have all made such a difference!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Situations Happen – 7 More
Yesterday we sent 7 ferals into ADOPT Pet Shelter for neuter, 4 males and 3 females. One female had been let into the house because she was obviously in heat and the caretaker did not want any kittens – she also was one big mat of hair so got shaved so definitely will be spending some more time inside til the weather warms up and her coat grows. Two males came from a house where the owner had passed – she had a tendency to let cats in, neutered or not – these two will be relocated, there is a location waiting. Three came from one of our relocation clients – the female in the trio has an entropion eyelid on her right eye. That can get worse and when would we be able to nab her for future treatment? She goes for surgery to correct on Tuesday. And number 7 is a very feral male who was going to make trouble. All of these have a solution to the return issue, thank goodness! With these 7 ferals we have neutered 8 so far in March, 12 for the year and 11,697 since our beginning.
A 5 year study by Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine, reported by Catster, have concluded FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is not transmitted through normal daily interaction between altered cats. That means FIV positive and FIV negative kitties can live safely together. And that means there's no need to euthanize cats simply because they test positive for the virus or bar them from placed into homes or managed colonies with negative cats in residence.
The key to safe co-existence is spaying and neutering. FIV passes from cat to cat when the virus enteres the bloodstream. That happens when intact cats inflict deep bite wounds during mating battles. Fixed cats who know one another don't interact that way. Normal daily behaviors, like grooming and sharing food and water bowls, pose no risk of transmission.
The same study also debunks another longstanding belief by concluding FIV positive females do not pass the virus on to their kittens. The research was conducted by Dr. Annette Litster of Purdue University and was published in The Veterinary Journal where it is available for purchase. A webinar presented by Dr. Litster after she had conducted her preliminary research offers an in-depth look at her initial findings.
Written by Tammy McAuley
With the rapidly changing situation and recommendations, we have decided to cancel our Kitten Shower on April 19th.
We did mail out our invites over the weekend, not expecting the new restrictions.
If we are able to re-schedule, we will do so, but it is looking like months instead of weeks while the world goes thru this. Many other organizations are saying "See you next year." If you know someone who normally attends but does not participate in social media, please let them know about the cancellation.
We don't want anyone to be in a situation where they are exposed to a potentially fatal illness. Done.
We will still be doing TNR. We will stay in close contact with DCAS and ADOPT and are still planning on kicking off full trips in April. We absolutely do not want to lose ground. If caretakers are stuck at home, we might be busier than previous years!
We have cats waiting to be trapped already!
We hope to be able to close on our building this week – much can be done electronically but people have to actually be in their offices to receive and process. Scheduled for March 19th, the ending date of our Fund Our Ferals' Future fundraiser. We'll keep you posted on that front also.
When some normalcy returns we will have an Open House at the new building but cannot plan that date yet.
In the meantime, please take care of yourselves!
This is a global situation with local ramifications.
You may already be tired of hearing about it but this is not over yet, and Feral Fixers needs to update you one what we're doing.
We have no choice but to continue to do our work. We cannot lose ground, must continue to care for the cats. As long as none of us are sick, we will evaluate our own contacts with the public, which is usually one-on-one. We ask that anyone we will encounter consider our safety.
We have an event scheduled for April 19th, the Kitten Shower at the VFW in Villa Park. At this time, the VFW has had no issues, they are wiping down all surfaces after each event they host. This is still 5 weeks away and so much can change in just 5 weeks with this situation. The numbers could be worse or we could be on the downside with numbers going down dramatically. There's so much to do before the day of an event, we'll be sending out postcards today, working on gift baskets, etc.
Right now, we are still planning on holding the event. Attendance is usually 150 to 200 people, below the limits recently set by Governor Pritzker. We are not an excessively touchy-feely crowd, we will be supplying everyone with their own pens, providing hand sanitizer, figuring out the food. We do not have the resources to turn this into a virtual event on short notice and there isn't an alternate time period in the year we can move it to.
We will be monitoring the situation and may still cancel the event. So many enjoy the Kitten Shower, it may be the only time in the year we get to see our supporters and it is one of our major fundraisers.
We'll see what this looks like in a few weeks and keep everyone informed of our plans, it is a very fluid situation. DO NOT plan on attending if you feel the slightest bit ill or concerned. Your health is the most important thing here. You can turn it into your own virtual event!
Wanted to let everyone know where we are with this!
It's the New Year!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Completely Unpredictable Weather
With the snow on Halloween, the forecast could have been cold, cold, cold thru March. What we got was 50 & 60 degrees for several days at a time it was least expected. Supposedly, it’s the angle of the sun that determines when cats start mating. I'm not so sure. If it is temperature, we could be looking at litters by the end of February – 9 week gestation period. Everyone keep their eyes open and pay attention to big tummies suddenly going flat. If a mom has a good shelter with sufficient straw and plenty of food to keep her milk up that is close to the shelter so she doesn't have to go far, the kittens should survive.
Our fosters that house moms and babies do not become active until about April and those are few and far between. Please think about becoming a mom & babies foster or talk to your friends and family.
So Many Adoptables
We still have a large number of kittens (who are rapidly becoming adolescents) available for adoption. 40 cats are posted on our Petfinder and 19 of those are black and black & white. It should be that a cat is a cat is a cat with each being judged on their personality and not their coat color. We hope that having so many of the same color is not holding back adoptions. We haven't wanted to count how many of what colors were adopted last year, but we did have an overwhelming number of black and b&w kittens. As mentioned above, the 2020 kittens may be coming sooner than we would like and the fosters are already booked. Where will they go instead? Please share our adoptables with family and friends and as always, please consider fostering for us! There will be 16 black and b&w cats at our Saturday Adoption Event – come on by!!!
Below are some of the black and black & white cats and kittens that will be at our Adoption event on Saturday.
Imagine If There Really Were More Homes?
HB 1391 proposes that housing discrimination against people whose families include dogs, cats and other animal companions be banned in New Hampshire – the first state to consider such legislation. The precedent-setting bill by Representative Ellen Read addresses one of the most pervasive challenges faced by renters whose family includes an animal: lack of pet-friendly housing.
In addition to protecting families, the law also protects landlords, with reasonable restrictions and a pet deposit. A study of landlords who allow companion animals shows that concerns about damage are often exaggerated and easily addressed, as they are in the bill. Studies also show that such policies are likewise popular with tenants who do not have animals or don’t necessarily want one of their own. As a result, landlords will have happier tenants, longer-term tenants, and fewer vacancies.
More information about this ground-breaking legislation from the No Kill Advocacy Center can be found here.
2 Cats So Far
On 1/2/20 we sent 2 friendlies to ADOPT, one male, one female, they weren't big enough for a 2019 trip. That makes 2 for January and 2 for the year and 11,687 since we started in 2007!
Holidays are Here!
Written by Tammy McAuley
Rescue Pack Chicago (formerly Rescue Bank) distributed a value of over $4 million in food and supplies to local animal welfare organizations in 2019! One of the ways to help them obtain those supplies is to visit The Animal Rescue Site and click to donate. "Click here to Give – It's Free" is as simple as that. Corporate sponsors advertise on the website and in exchange donate food. The Rescue Site also has an online store which donates a portion of the products sold. It should be noted that The Animal Rescue Site is NOT a non-profit organization and does not claim to be one. However, it has helped feed animals in need by raising funds for millions of pounds of much-needed food. The donated funds are then distributed by GreaterGood.org and Rescue Pack Chicago is one of the recipients of donations. The local groups pay for shipping costs at a rate of 12cents per pound. That means that a skid of 1,000lbs of food may cost an organization $120 – many times that is less than a tenth of what it would cost off the shelf with much less handling and damaged product in obtaining. Rescue Pack does a great job on Distribution Day – coordinating 60 to 100 groups with up to two vehicles each, benefitting so many so that funds normally spent on food can be allocated differently. This helps us help so many ferals and adoptables while using those funds towards surgeries! A legitimate program and while a daily email and a few keystrokes every day may seem a very strange way to donate, you can make a difference for the animals of Chicagoland!
New Spay/Neuter Clinic in Joliet
SNIP Society Clinic opened in Joliet in September of this year. Their goal is to provide low-cost spay/neuter for the dogs and cats of the Joliet area. Currently they are open for services on Wednesdays and Thursdays, visit their website for more information. We get many calls for help in the Joliet area, we hope that SNIP Society will assist in reducing the number of cats that end up outside as strays and ferals, further improving the lives of cats all over the Chicago suburbs!
New Tomahawk Trap
Our friends at Tomahawk are always experimenting with new ideas.
Recent Legislation And How It Affects Feral Fixers
There are three new bills signed by the Governor this year that affects Feral Fixers.
The first is Public Act 101-0210, requiring alarm systems, sprinkler systems and staffing of kennels while dogs or cats are on the premises, taking effect January 1, 2020. Our first estimate on a sprinkler system for the building we are looking at is $40,000.
The second is Public Act 101-0295, which includes many definitions, including "shelter", the 'Return' in TNR and fine structures. Took affect 8/9/19.
The third is Public Act 101-0299, requires rabies vaccination for all cats four months of age or older that are companion animals. Takes affect 1/1/20. All feral cats must be vaccinated at sterilization. This affects Feral Fixers as we often neuter at 2.5lbs, which is usually under 3 months, so will impact the feral kittens that we trap that are not yet 4 months, but not expected to become tame. We will be trying to figure how to address this issue.
Many changes, most just common sense, which shows that our legislation is becoming more reflective of current needs.
Changes To Spay/Neuter Trip Schedule
Due to veterinary availability, we may be switching from almost every Thursday to Thursdays and Mondays and not every week. PLEASE contact Feral Fixers to be sure when we are making a trip in, so that cats do not have to remain in traps longer than necessary AND you may be able to trap for a longer number of days = greater success in getting all of the cats in your colony! This may result in larger numbers trapped along with increased down time in between trips so that we are all not as exhausted by the end of the year! We're still working on this, stay posted!
Holidays Are Here!
Thank you to all of our donors, caretakers, fellow Rescue partners! Everyone who helps us every day in so many ways! We could not do this without your impact and with your help 2020 is going to be a great year!