Today, I brought in nine more cats (5 ferals and 4 'friendly ferals') to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic to be fixed. One of them already had been fixed, so this trip wound up with eight more cats being fixed by our efforts.
This was our last scheduled trip until February 1st of 2010, so we wound up having 868 cats fixed this year due to our efforts. This is a very large increase over the 2008 totals of 525 cats and, with the 86 cats we had fixed in 2007, brings our "Grand total" up to 1,479 cats that have now been spayed/neutered (and ear-tipped and micro-chipped and given rabies & distemper shots and treated for ear mites and fleas and de-wormed) since our inception. The vast majority of these have been feral cats; street cats; "community cats", or whatever you want to call them.
I am hopeful that this large number of feral cats being fixed has measurably and significantly cut down on the number of cats being brought into shelters this year - I wait with great anticipation as to the year-end numbers from the various shelters in DuPage County, especially from DuPage County Animal Care & Control. After all, that's our goal - to humanely reduce the number of homeless cats and to make every cat wanted and to have a good home.
This is a good time to thank everyone who has helped in this effort. Our volunteer base is large and growing and is one of the major reasons why our numbers have made a significant jump this year. Some volunteers take care of colonies, some do transport, some trap, some help with recovery, some help represent Feral Fixers in various community events and some do more than one of these activities. To our volunteers, THANK YOU - WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU!
Our donor base has also significantly grown this year. We now have well over 300 people and organizations which have donated money to Feral Fixers. Much of these donations are from the colony caretakers themselves - recognizing the extremely inexpensive means we offer them to spay/neuter all of the cats in their colony. But much of it is also from other people who agree with what we do and 'donate to the cause'. We also have received donations (of money and food) from corporations and we are honored and thankful that the Village of Bensenville is, in part, reimbursing us for the cats in that community that we spay/neuter. Our ChipIn campaign for new traps was very successful as was our Jewel Shop&Share Program (thanks Diane!). To all our donors we say, THANK YOU - WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU!
We also need to give thanks to PURRS-Naperville, an excellent organization that has taken many friendly cats from us and found them homes where they will be loved and cared for. In addition, PURRS has donated money and cat food to us - donations which we have put to very good use. To PURRS we say, THANK YOU - WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU!
In addition, we have to recognize Triple-R-Pets, an organization that was founded to rescue animals that found themselves homeless and/or in need due to natural disasters and also has a very active TNR Program. We have a good working relationship with Triple-R; sometimes they pick up our cats, sometimes we pick up theirs. We also refer phone calls to each other (we work out of DuPage County while they work out of southern Cook County) and, in general, help each other out when necessary. To Triple-R-Pets we say, THANK YOU - WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU!
And we certainly need to give humungo-thanks to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic where we have brought 99% of the cats we have to be fixed. Their extraordinarily inexpensive cost to spay/neuter cats, ear-tip them, give them rabies and distemper inoculations, treat them for ear mites and fleas and de-worm them, as well as inserting the micro-chips we purchase is a real key to our success. In addition, trappers don't need to make an appointment with them to bring in cats (unless it's a big group - and even then, they are very accomodative) to be spayed/neutered. This is very helpful for us, of course, but is even more helpful for those unsung heroes out there who are "just" taking care of the cats in their neighborhood. PAWS understands that you can't schedule feral appointments like you can for pets. Ferals may or may not enter those traps - there's no guarantee. Knowing that PAWS will take the feral cats, whenever you can get them, is just wonderful.
PAWS also donates food to Feral Fixers (and many other organizations). During this most recent trip, I brought back over 20 large bags of cat food that PAWS donated to us, cat food that will be distributed to our growing base of colony caretakers. PAWS would have given us more, but my car was full. This is not the first time that PAWS has donated food to us and I know it won't be the last. Finally, over the past 2+ years, Feral Fixers has enjoyed a very good and deepening relationship with PAWS and everyone who works there. They appreciate what we do and we appreciate what they do - it is truly a WIN-WIN situation.
To PAWS-Chicago we say, THANK YOU - WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU!!!
Finally, I would be very remiss if I were to not mention the efforts of our President, Tammy McAuley. Tammy and I were the original organizers of Feral Fixers in 2007 and I can honestly say that a) I admire her ability to keep everything coordinated and working (she's the one who organizes all of our TNR activity) and b) I really enjoy working with her. Even in difficult times, when the pressure (and the phone calls!) are happening fast and furiously, she somehow manages to keep it all together and to keep everything moving. Tammy, you're the best - Feral Fixers is what it is largely due to your efforts - you deserve enormous credit for our success...
And so on to 2010. Our first event of 2010 will be our second annual Frosty Claws gathering / fund-raiser. January 17th at the Lombard Lagoon - SAVE THE DATE - details will be posted here and in our newsletter as they become available.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone - thank you, one and all...