If the above links do not work, click here to access the GivingGrid fundraiser.
Practicing and Promoting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in DuPage County, Illinois
It's the Holiday Season!
New Coronavirus in Cats in Greece
The headline of this article implies that cats from Greece have Covid, upon reading the body of the article you learn that it is a new coronavirus, similar to what causes FIP. Just in case this takes off in the media, the symptoms involved should always be watched for in kittens and cats. Viruses change frequently, as we have seen recently in dogs as well.
This article has a less alarming title and has much more information. Including both articles to show what is going to be out there in the media.
WoofTrax Instead of ResQWalk
ResQWalk is no more. WoofTrax will donate the same benefits to Feral Fixers and while the focus is on dog organizations, we are a listed charity as well. Take a walk, be healthy, do it for Feral Fixers!
You Need to Adopt One of Our Furry Friends!
- Saturday, 12/2, 11am-3pm, PetSmart in Finley Square (1550 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove)
- Saturday, 12/16, 11am-3pm, Feral Fixers building
This Thanksgiving, think about how much a new furry friend (or two) would add to your enjoyment of the holiday. Use the “Want to Adopt” link on our Home Page and start the pre-approval process. We had 8+ adoptions this past week but a feral, last intact female from a long-term location – gave birth to at least 4 kittens while at the building awaiting surgery – she is so tiny, we had no idea, we say “at least” because she was moved into a feral cat den and may have had one more for a total of 5 after moving. Our count may be down to 100 kittens – it is a moving target as you can see! Help us make more space available by adopting our wonderful cats! Share with friends and family and come visit!
Add Another 16 TNRs
On 11/17 – ADOPT – 5 ferals, 10 friendlies, 5 males, 10 females. Of the ferals, 3 came from hoarder house that the residents suffered from dementia and at one time had 20 cats, 1 feral was the mom had given birth right before we trapped her, has spent the last six weeks in foster but has not decided she wanted to stay in a home, the fifth feral had been avoiding a trap for months. All five were relocated as Working Cats to have better lives than from where they came.
On 11/20 – DCAS – one friendly male had shown up too late for last week’s s/n trip and our next opportunity will be on 12/1 – too long to wait! DCAS was able to squeeze him in. Hartman is a sturdy orange tabby who unfortunately was outside long enough to acquire FIV but has no symptoms as of yet. When he gets those hormones fully out of his system, he will be a lovely cat – right now, in between trying to escape from his crate, he makes happy paws constantly.
Next trip 12/1 and do NOT plan on any ferals, still neutering kittens on hand!
Numbers for November - 44, 2023 – 882, since our start 14,834!
After Thanksgiving, there is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and then our Black Cat Giving Tuesday! Our annual fundraiser on Giving Tuesday is a celebration of all of the black and black/white cats that we help each year. Percentage of all coat colors is down a little this year – is it a trend? Are we having an impact on the genetic makeup of the feral cat population? We have donors who like to see their donation grow and Black Cat Giving Tuesday is the opportunity for that to happen. We have $24,000 pledged at this time and hope to match that number – by far the most aggressive amount we’ve attempted but you may have noticed that we’ve been soooo busy we haven’t had a lot of fundraisers this year! This fundraiser starts 12:01AM Tuesday morning (11/28) and ends 12/31/23 at 12:00PM. Most charities use Giving Tuesday as a one-day event, we fundraise the whole month, giving people plenty of time to participate although we hope you will join in quickly and show others what a worth-while organization Feral Fixers is! We love seeing the pictures on the Giving Grid, many alumni, many heartfelt stories. Whether your donation is $5 or $500, it all goes to support our endeavors for all of the cats we care for in the coming year. Thank you to all of our donors as we could not do this without you!
Frosty Claws Is Coming
November News & Notes...
Furry Pal Before the New Year
We have a “Want to Adopt” link on our home page where you can start on the pre-approval process. Many of our kittens are at the 4 – 5 month old age and we know them so well! The count this week was 109 kittens on hand, 8 adults, all looking for the best home possible. There are still kittens out there, with our limited resources we cannot take them all in, help us make more space available by adopting our wonderful cats! Share with friends and family and come visit one or more of our upcoming Adoption Events!
On 11/3 – ADOPT – 5 friendly, 6 feral, 3 male, 8 female. Moms of kittens we’ve nabbed previously, males that may turn friendly later, all of the cats have their own stories.
On 11/10 – ADOPT – 14 friendly, 2 feral, 7 male, 9 female.
On 11/10 – GEAH – 1 friendly female kitten who needed an eye enucleation and a hernia surgery in addition to her spay – what a day for Ruffles!
Numbers for October - 28, 2023 – 866, since our start 14,818!
We’ve had single kittens come in and they are lonely and their appetites just are not the same. We need to be sure everyone is healthy before we combine kittens so we end up using some of the more uncommon and fine ground pate foods to tempt them. Churus, baby food, for sure but also Authority, Wellness, etc., can do the trick. We have found that chicken broth can make a difference. Our supply of the more unusual and yes, more expensive foods has dwindled and we could use more donations along those lines. Cuddling goes a long way but unusual foods to tempt them are very helpful. Please consider sending some our way thru Chewy or Amazon or dropping donations at our front door.
Year End Financial Donations
For donations by mail, the IRS considers the postmark date to be the delivery date of the contribution. UPS and FedEx may have different delivery schedules. For donations by credit card, it is the date the card was actually charged. If you need to make a donation in person, please contact us to arrange meeting you at the building. Transfers from a bank or money market fund may take a few days to clear. Donations of stock and mutual funds must be intiated by December 1st as it may take several weeks to complete. Qualified Charitable Contributions are dated when the gift leaves the account, not when initiated.
Many donors have questions at this time of year, here are some dates that may be helpful when making year-end donations:
December 1 - Initiate electronic mutual fund transfers, Checkbook IRA/QCD (Qualified Charitable Contribution) contributions
Imagine my surprise when a caretaker called that we had helped before, her life had been out of control and she had more unneutered ferals. She also had five of our traps for the last five years! With all of the details to keep track of, volunteers often are not able to go back to previous locations to check for traps, caretakers do not realize how vital the traps are to our continued operation, but five years???? Please check your garage, shed, wherever and make sure you get traps back to us now! We need to get our traps back, clean and maintain them for next year, which will be here before we know it! We will resume trapping when the overnight temperatures go back to above freezing. Chicago weather – you never know!
Microchips Are Forever
Lots of calls this past week about cats that have been found. If we do not have your current information, we cannot reach you. So many caretakers care deeply about their ferals and when a cat they have been feeding for years disappears, they worry. Adopters never know when a cat will slip outside. If we do not have a current address or phone number for you, we cannot let you know when we are contacted. Even if we need to let you know the cat has passed, it gives you closure. We will be mailing out the yearly newsletter and Holiday card soon and if you have moved, letting us know in advance would save both money and time on our end. An email would be great!
Winter is Coming...
Winter Is Coming
The phone is still ringing as people realize that winter is coming. So many are worried the cats are going to die. The reality is that cats seek out spots where they can be warm enough to get thru til Spring. Under decks and porches, the foundation of a house can stay 50 degrees even tho it is freezing out there. They grow thick winter coats – if a cat is sitting in a trap on a table in TNR and you lift the trap and feel the table – it can be hot to the touch. If ferals were all going to die from the cold, we would need an entirely new crop every year. The cold can be the last straw if they already have health challenges. Continue to provide good quality food with a high fat content – using kitten food can help – and provide water. There are DIY ways to keep water from freezing for several hours, same with canned food to keep their fluid levels up.
Speaking of the phone – in order for people to hear the outgoing message, many calls are going to voice mail. Trying to keep it from being full, please be patient. Six calls a day is an average, just imagine talking to each person, the outgoing message answers many questions from the start. Repeating – we have to slow down and take as much of a break as we can with trapping at this time of year.
Facebook Makes Things More Difficult
We’ve had great donations with Facebook Fundraisers. Facebook has changed the way they manage the money – now they send it thru PayPal and have removed the ability to see who donated. Previously, those funds would be part of your yearly donation and you would receive a tax letter from us that included those amounts. We’ve complained to Facebook but it looks like you will have to keep track of your donations made in this manner yourself. If we discover additional information, we can let you know, but even if you tell us you did, there is no way for us to verify currently. Looks like PayPal will be sending you a receipt separately from us.
Cats Are Obligate Carnivores
According to the New World Encyclopedia:
“An obligate carnivore (or true carnivore) is an animal that must eat meat in order to thrive (Syufy 2008). They may eat other foods, such as fruits, honey, grains, and so forth, but meat must be included in their diet. Try to feed food with fewer non-meat ingredients and food dyes.
On 10/26 – DCAS – 4 friendly, 26 feral, 14 male, 16 female. Cats hide illnesses so well, two ferals were euthanized when it was discovered during surgery that they were FIV+ and symptomatic with stomatitis and infected tonsils, so glad they are no longer in pain.
On 10/27, ADOPT – 9 friendly, 2 feral, 4 male, 7 female. Part of the friendlies were a fostered litter of 6, next day the 7th kitten from that location was trapped! She will hopefully join her siblings soon as she is very lonely without them.
Two adult friendly males went to WSHS for adoption, one from each of these trips! They were also able to take in a litter of 5 six week olds at the same time – that helps so much!
Numbers for October – 135, 2023 – 838, since start – 14,790!
Upcoming Adoption Events
- Saturday, 11/4, 11am-3pm, PetSmart in Finley Square Shopping Center (1550 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove)
- Saturday, 11/18, 11am-3pm, Feral Fixers building
- Saturday, 12/2, 11am-3pm, PetSmart in Finley Square Shopping Center (1550 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove)
- Saturday, 12/16, 11am-3pm, Feral Fixers building
Click on our “Want To Adopt” link on our home page and get pre-approved. This week 8 more kittens found their way to us, we’re doing our best, but resources are limited with us, and every rescue and we cannot take in all of them. Help us make more space available and adopt our wonderful cats! Many kittens are 4 – 5 months and we know so much about them which can be a bonus when adopting! Share with friends and family and come visit!
What Is That Cat Saying?
Scientists have studied feline facial expressions – discovering almost 300 unique combinations used to communicate their feelings and reactions to each other and to us!
Letter From The President - With Your Help
731 spay/neuters of cats and kittens. We brought in +/- 320 friendly cats & kittens. Some of these were previously neutered adults who decided to become friendly after being neutered. There have been approximately 300 adoptions, but still have 33 officially posted for adoption and many more in foster homes. We have helped many cats with injuries and conditions from simple upper respiratory to congenital defects the cats were born with. We have provided food for caretakers. Removed feral cats from inside homes when there was no other way to get them out. Seen the change in cats who were completely feral transitioning into loving lap cats. Relocated cats that could no longer stay where they were due to overpopulation or change of circumstances. You have helped us do so much! So much goes on behind the scenes beyond our reports of spay/neuter trips and you are all part of caring for the stray and feral cats of DuPage County!
What Can We Expect In 2023?
We continue to face the unknown. Who could have expected that across the nation, we are short 15,000 veterinarians? Who could have expected that our nation could be short millions of spay/neuter surgeries? So many different factors are affecting daily lives, it will be interesting to see the impact on cats outdoors, how many kittens will be born to these unneutered females still roaming that no one was able to get to. Prices have gone up for cat food, cat litter, gasoline to take them to appointments & adoptions, and on and on. What can we do? We can continue to get as many spay/neuter appointments as we possibly can and to FILL those appointments, making caretakers aware that they must contact us as soon as a cat is consistent in attendance. It is the ONLY way to lower costs in the future. Once those kittens arrive, we will care for them, using resources for current day expenses, not for preventing even greater expenditures in the future – that is unsustainable and returns us to the past when feral cats were euthanized regularly.
Trapping will resume around the end of March, beginning of April. Keep an eye out for ferals in your area, talk to your neighbors, help us help you to care for those cats.
What Can You Do?
The Amazon Smile donation in November, which covered purchases made between July 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022, came to $606.70. That means that our donors spent $121,340 in that time period and .5% was donated by Amazon Smile – Yay! Use AmazonSmile and designate Feral Fixers – could not be an easier way to raise funds!
Visit our wish lists at Amazon & Chewy – we always need food; canned food in particular goes fast when you are supporting so MANY kittens! Gift cards allow us to purchase what our greatest need at the time is – paper towels, bleach, laundry detergent, litter boxes – amazing the variety of things we purchase to keep going!
Spread our information to coworkers, family, social media – we have donors across the country! Cats have a ripple effect, they don’t stay in one place and affect wider resources than those on their street, in their town, in their county – even in their state! New people are volunteering with us due to sharing information, but we need more volunteers, many more. Trappers, transporters, cleaners in the building, animal care in the building, fosters, event volunteers, the list goes on. You tell us what you want to do to help, and we try to make that fit for both of our benefits!
Frosty Claws in 2023
We seem to be returning to some degree of normalcy. As a result, we will be holding our 2023 Frosty Claws on Sunday, January 15th from 12 noon to 4pm at the Villa Park VFW. We may have huge attendance that day because of skipping years, please be patient. This is an event for our caretakers, adopters, donors, to talk about cats and network with some fundraising and food. We are about to start assembling our Silent Auction and door prize items – we may not have as much “stuff” as in previous years – we will post items as they are created, as soon as we have a chance. We look forward to seeing everyone who can attend!
The Kittyman Sea Shanty
Something to brighten your day...
What A Year!
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!
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:
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!