If the above links do not work, click here to access the GivingGrid fundraiser and click here to learn more about our spokescat, Jujube.
Written by Tammy McAuley
Feral Fixers is very grateful for everyone who has helped and continues to help us in our goal of reducing cat overpopulation and euthanasia. Please take a moment to think about everything you have helped us to do and know that we appreciate you!
Even More Cats Neutered!
Forgot to mention in the last blog post, 1 feral male went to Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital on 11/10/22. He had an almost completely opaque right eye, but the vets thought it would not get any worse and he had some vision out of it, so we did go ahead and neuter him on that day. He is FIV+ but he will be coming inside with a friend of his caretaker and his health will be monitored.
On 11/18/22, 4 ferals and 6 friendlies went to ADOPT, 3 males, 7 females. One feral female has been with her kittens in foster but has not decided the indoor life is for her. Another female came from a recycling and disposal yard and will be relocated as that can be a dangerous place to live. The caretaker of a third female felt a strong bond and wanted to give her every chance to come inside, and she is now warm and cozy in a crate. The fourth was returned to her colony. Each feral gets as much individual consideration as we can give them!
This brings us to a total of 49 for November, 686 for the year and 13,900 since our beginning.
May look like chaos but it's 5 ferals and 5 friendlies coming back from surgery and 5 new kittens in crates to be evaluated on 11/18/22.
Giving Tuesday Black Cat Fundraiser 2022
You may have already been bombarded by the volume of non-profits participating in Giving Tuesday this year – it has become a very popular way to raise funds! We try not to over solicit, but don’t be mistaken, these funds have huge impact on the expenses in the following year. Many groups limit their Giving Tuesday efforts to one day, our Giving Tuesday fundraiser ends on 12/31/22, giving people that last chance to easily make a donation at year’s end and make a difference for the cats we will be caring for in 2023. Make a donation in the memory of a pet, a person, a place. Whether you donate $5 or $500, it all comes together beautifully to make a lasting impact. Our spokescat for Black Cat Giving Tuesday, Jujube, was near death when she was scooped up out of a yard – with the resources we have come to count on from our donors, she is now a lovely cat, so happy, and waiting for the right home!
November Already OMG!
Written by Tammy McAuley
November Already OMG!
Halfway through November already and we've been busy, busy, busy!
On 10/20 a cat came in with a facial injury. Sure that he would need to be euthanized, thankfully, the xrays showed a soft tissue injury around the eye – would heal - and an upper right canine with pulp exposure. It had been a hard week with not being able to save injured cats – since he was already sedated and I had a microchip in my pocket, we went ahead and did a dental and neuter, the works! His people were planning on bringing GrayBoy in the house, glad we could save him!
On 10/21 we sent 16 friendlies to ADOPT, 8 females, 8 males. 3 litters from Addison, Villa Park and Countryside – kittens do not know from being a mile beyond county boundaries.
On 10/28, we sent 3 friendlies to ADOPT, 1 female, 2 males.
On 11/4 we sent 8 ferals, 6 friendlies, 9 female, 6 males to ADOPT. How do you not help a group of 15 ferals who are living around a dumpster? And, current day, some of those are now friendlies. One friendly kitten hitched a ride in a storm drain pipe with his 3 siblings that started out in Lake Villa and when they arrived at O’Hare, workers heard them. They got 3 out and thought they were done. This little guy was heard the next day, Dan stood on the top of a ladder, reached in and got Mickey – he now lives in Elgin. Cats do travel!
11/8, DCAS had some surgery time they could use for us and we sent 8 ferals, 3 female, 5 male. Most of these were from an industrial area that we had already neutered 72 cats/kittens over the last 9 years, add 4 adults and 4 kittens to that total. Cats hitch rides on trucks and end up in totally new locations.
On 11/11, we sent 3 ferals and 13 friendlies to ADOPT, 9 female, 7 male. The ferals came from a yard with several shelters, we hope they will do well after surgery despite the coming low temperatures. Look for the kittens to be up for adoption in about two weeks – they are adorable!
That brings us to a total of 82 for October, 38 for November, so far in 2022 we’ve neutered 675, since our start - 13,889.
Doing our best to mop up a few locations and nab the way-too-many kittens that are still out there but we are trying very hard to not trap adults til next year. Shaved tummies and vaccinations can challenge their immune systems and we cannot do more harm than good. Contact us in April and get ahead!!!
Impressive when you line up 16 kittens in carriers, isn't it?
11/4 There's always more cats!|
Mopping up the feral stragglers - we were able to send 8 cats to DCAS!
In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need.
Don’t be a Grasshopper – call us when you see cats in April!
November 19th we will have an Adoption Event at our building, 11 – 3pm with about 20 of our adoptable cats & kittens. Get pre-approved by filling out an application by noon on 11/18 – takes time to check out the information provided. Last tally as of 11/7 – 113 kittens and 23 adults ready for adoption. When you visit the adoption event, consider donating food for the ferals so they can continue to do well this Winter – nationwide donations of food are down, and our stock is low on dry and canned – nutrition level of Cat Chow and above would be greatly appreciated! Our donors and adopters are great folk – look forward to seeing you next weekend!!!
Frosty Claws Planned!
National Feral Cat Day was very well attended – it was great seeing familiar faces and meeting new people! Everyone seemed to have a good time!
Amazon Smile – most recent donation - $596.15. With holiday shopping coming up, remember to select Feral Fixers as your AmazonSmile donation recipient. It ALL adds up!
November is Adopt a Senior Cat Month – with the volume of kittens we deal with, a senior cat to us is 5 years old or more 😊. Jujube is a lovely 5-year-old black cat that came to us in terrible shape but with the best of personalities! Check her out and share her info: At 9 years old, Matthew is our oldest adoptable on hand and needs a quiet home for his retirement.
Facebook Fundraisers – they are now front and center on our Facebook page! Easy to donate, easy to show that you support your friends and the cats. Currently, Christie is celebrating her birthday by asking for donations to Feral Fixers, this creates so many positive emotions, thank you Christie!
Gruel kittens - Everyone has heard of bottle babies, right? We’ve had a large number of kittens that are able to eat from a plate but the canned food needs to be mixed with formula for the higher nutrition, is easier to eat and smells like milk = gruel. They still plow thru the mixture but do so well on it as a stepping stone to regular food. Gruel is also helpful for those older cats who need extra encouragement to eat due to health issues. We mix up a lot, so always need KMR on hand. Think about it when your own cat has problems and needs a little extra!
And finally, even though Halloween is now in the rear-view mirror, who can resist kittens in costumes?
Open House - Join us!
Written by Tammy McAuley
National Feral Cat Day Event – Oct 16th 12 - 3pm
Come for some cupcakes! Get a new snuggly sweatshirt! Your kitty would love a new kitty kicker! Join us at our Open House for National Feral Cat Day! On Sunday, October 16th from 12 to 3pm, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard - bake sale, gourd sale, door prizes and our Boutique sale (t-shirts+). Donations from our Wish List will be gratefully accepted! Cat people to share with! See you Sunday!
October Is Here!
Pushing to neuter as many as we could!
On 10/6, 21 ferals went to DCAS, one feral female was in terrible shape and was euthanized, 9 females spayed and 11 males were neutered.
On 10/7, 5 ferals and 6 friendlies went to ADOPT, composed of 4 female and 7 males.
On 10/13, we sent 22 ferals to DCAS, 9 males, 13 females but one was already spayed, no chip – an approximately 5 year old beauty, purring in her trap when she came back – now in a crate, very happy.
On 10/14 9 friendlies and one feral went to ADOPT, 5 males, 5 females.
This brings us to 62 cats for October, 617 for the year and 13,831 since our start in 2007.
Those crates have cats/kittens getting ready to transition to foster or awaiting medical, 22 ferals in traps in the middle, Oh My!
Big trips and little trips, they all gotta go!
Where does one start and the other end? 5 almost 5 wk olds. What is 'Kitten Season'?
Thank you for your help in making a difference for all of these cats!
When the cat wants in!
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?