In October’s newsletter, I alluded to the changes we have gone thru, how much greater the need for TNR is than I ever imagined before Feral Fixers came about. This month I would like to tell you more about what’s happening with us.
I am writing this a little early, before October is over, actually, but we have made our final trip for October into PAWS and our final numbers are: 124 cats for the month, 731 for the year and 1,342 since we began. Perhaps we repeat the statistics too often, but we know that if we had no idea of the volume of cats, no one else did either and we need to impress on everyone the enormity of the task still ahead of us.
The economy has given us a new challenge – PAWS Lurie Family Spay Neuter Clinic has been forced to increase its rates for ferals. It is only $5 more per cat, but when neutering hundreds of cats, it has a definite impact. So far, we have asked people to donate $30 per cat to cover our costs, we will soon have to ask for $35 in order to keep doing what we do and remain solvent.
Often, being able to donate to cover the cost of getting their cats fixed is a point of pride with caretakers. I have run into several that won’t take “charity.” And the cats remain unneutered, producing kittens and sometimes the colony is unhealthy. Even when I have said not to worry about the money right now, the most important thing is the cats, they won’t budge. In one of these situations, the colony did become very ill, some of the cats still have a very bare coat and now that the caretaker has agreed to TNR, it came a little too late and another litter has been born. But, we have TNR’d 14 cats at that location with only 3 more adults to go. This process is an education for everyone involved. When you start out to trap and neuter cats, little do you realize how much interaction must take place with people in order to do this. TNR and feral cats are often very emotional issues, our volunteers are becoming very adept at handling some tough situations. The knowledge of just how much you can or should do to help a person is developed with practice, and we can’t seem to help the cats without helping the people too! So far we have been able to obtain donated food that we give to caretakers who are barely scraping by. It feels wonderful to be able to hand them 3 big bags of dry food and know that they can feed their cats for at least a month without having to buy any. We do wish we had access to more canned food, but that shows up every once in awhile, too. Like everything else, cat food has become very expensive.
One of the reasons that we microchip is so that when cats are picked up or “found” we know where the cats should go back to. One of the really great benefits has been that three of the cats that we have micro-chipped have gone and found themselves homes. We get a call from a vet, asking if we know the cat that belongs to a particular microchip number, of course we ask why and find out that they have clients that have taken this particular cat in. Or the person on the other end of the phone says, “I have your cat.” Sorry, you will have to be more specific than that, there are 1,300+ of them out there! The new families worry that we will want to take back these cats that they have fallen in love with. What would we do with them? The cats have chosen these people, the people have very responsibly taken the cats to the vet to have them checked out and have then contacted us. Who could ask for more? The cats know. And the people are so happy to learn that the cats have been vaccinated and neutered! We do warn caretakers that once the hormones have dissipated, the cats could become very friendly. No caretaker could possibly object to learning that their feral has a home, it’s what we all want for the cats, for all of them to have homes and stay inside. But until the cats agree, the outside life it will be.
Due to the lack of fosters and adoptive homes, Feral Fixers has TNR’d a lot of 3- and 4-month old kittens this fall. Taming a kitten that age can take months indoors. It will be interesting to see how many make the decision on their own and go forth and find themselves homes. I would be happy if I was kept busy tracking down micro chip numbers and changing our database to reflect their new location. Currently, most humane societies are experiencing a big drop in adoptions, resulting in the cats staying in the shelters longer and longer before finding a home. With so many ferals turning to the friendly side, the competition for homes will be even greater. As they say, things may get worse before they get better, but hopefully next year there will be a lot fewer kittens born, resulting in more adoptions from shelters.
There is another Jewel Shop & Share this month, please print the coupons and pass them out to your friends and co-workers. This is as close to “free” money as we can get!
A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who has donated and passed on the information about our ChipIn campaign to raise funds for traps. As I write this, we have received many donations in the form of checks that were not processed on the website, so we have surpassed our goal! We will be placing an order soon – I’m sure there will be pictures when we get our shipment! What a great way to recognize National Feral Cat Day!
We have all been working so hard to fulfill our goals this year and have done an amazing amount of work. There is more to doing TNR than processing cats, though and we need time to do all those other tasks. We are announcing that we will be taking December 15th to February 1st off from doing trapping and transporting. We will be doing our best to stick to that resolution, please help us with that. We need a break!
Please put Frosty Claws on your calendar for January 17th (one of the things we will be working on) and come tell us about your cats and learn how many wonderful people care for feral cats!
As always, thank you so much for your support, we could not do it without you!