Good news - please be sure to read the update at the end of this article!
This month Feral Fixers is asking for your help in several ways.
We have Jewel Shop & Shares scheduled for June 15th – 17th. This event requires no additional money out of your pockets, just remembering to hand the cashier the slip when you check out. Even if you forget, if you return to the store before the week is out, they can usually send your portion in with the rest. We’ve had great results with this fundraiser before, please pass this information on to co-workers, friends and family, as anyone who shops at Jewel can contribute in this way.
We have a TNR workshop scheduled for June 20th at Bow Wow Playground, 400 W St. Charles Road, Villa Park from 1PM – 3PM. Please pass the word, we will be showing how traps work, answering questions and it should be very informative!
We have a fundraising event coming this month – “Wet Your Whiskers” - on June 27th – please consider attending, donating if you cannot attend, and passing the information on to anyone who might be interested. It should be a lot of fun, a first time event for us and one that we hope we will be able to repeat.
We also need your help in a way that we have never asked for before. One of our favorite stories is about the nursing home colony. Well, nothing lasts forever and the nursing home is expanding and building on the property that the colony stands on. We have been given several weeks to relocate the cats – June 20th would be the date by which we need to move the cats out. Until today, May 26th, we had been assured that the cats and their housing were welcome and no problem. So this comes as a bit of a shock. We will try to go up the corporate ladder, but with the short time frame, we must start on alternative plans. And it still comes down to a building standing where their shelters are now.
We do not support relocation normally, there are too many hazards to the cats – coyotes, the way they tend to return where they came from, even if its 30 miles away, unfamiliar roads, etc. If we can find alternatives, we will certainly explore them. These cats have been fed exclusively by a Feral Fixers volunteer for the past year, they hang out on that property, they do not seem to venture into the surrounding neighborhood – they haven’t had to. This colony had been merely surviving at the nursing home for several years, until we stepped in there were many kittens born every year that did not survive and the adults were not really healthy. It was a sad state of affairs. The residents of the nursing home brought cafeteria food out to them, it was poor cat nutrition and it was sporadic, leaving the cats to dumpster dive – garbage from a health care facility could have some really horrible things in it.
If we do not relocate, what are the cat’s options? They might work their way out into the surrounding neighborhood – which has a high level of feral population already. Who knows how successful their attempts at relocating themselves might be. We are talking about 20+ cats in all. We know that they will absolutely still come to the nursing home, the residents may resume feeding them inappropriate food, they will resume dumpster diving, as ferals are creatures of habit and once they have received food somewhere, they will continue to expect food there. If the cats continue to show up and we are not allowed to feed them, what will the nursing home management do? Probably contract for their removal and euthanasia or contact animal control.
There is an argument that these cats do not belong to Feral Fixers, but to the nursing home. If we do take that stance, who will attempt to see that these cats have any chance at a good life? The property belongs to the nursing home, we have been guests on that property, we will no longer be welcome.
Even if the cats are relocated, it is highly likely that new, possibly intact cats will move in – but then it is up to the nursing home management to control the residents and ban feeding. This would keep the status quo in the surrounding neighborhood.
I just got off the phone with one of our volunteers who thinks she may be able to absorb several of the cats – that is just wonderful! There is a barn on her property, the property is fenced in, limiting predators. Even if it doesn’t work out, the offer was a high point as we are looking at a long project ahead.
So, good relocation opportunities are few and far between and would have to pass intense scrutiny, all of which must be accomplished in less than 3 weeks, so we would need help in evaluating these locations, and possibly transporting also.
Please help. If you know of someone/somewhere, close enough but not too close, who can absorb 2 or 3 or 4 cats, please call us, 630-881-3977. We do not want to do this, but feel that this may be the best solution to a bad situation. Feral Fixers has microchipped all of these cats and would still feel a responsibility to them, so would need to know where they went and be able to remain in contact with their new caretakers.
Feral cats are part of our community and we need your help to continue to practice TNR and provide support. Please pass on the word of our fundraising events and our need to relocate the nursing home colony. We will be immensely grateful!
Thank you for all of your help!
Update - June 6th, 2009:
The June newsletter was also mailed out to individuals who do not receive it electronically. We have already had a very warm reception to the story about the Nursing Home Cats and wanted to update you as to their progress.
Today, one of our volunteers was able to speak to the neighbors who live next door.
They LOVE the cats!
The shelters were moved into a wooded area at the back of the neighbor’s lot this afternoon. We will continue to feed them there, the neighbors will supplement in the winter, and everything should be fine!
We will speak to the nursing home administrator on Monday, advise him the houses have been moved and the cats will no longer be fed by us on nursing home property and as long as his residents don’t feed them, the cats should spend less and less time there.
I have not met the neighbors personally yet, but hope that this is a long-term relationship we are building here. They have offered to keep an eye out for any new cats joining the bunch and to verify that all the current residents are ear-tipped. They have seen one new cat show up recently, we are planning on trapping it in the near future as soon as the dust settles and the cats are comfortable with the new arrangement.
As of right now, in this location, we will not need to relocate and I am sooooooooo glad! Please continue to think of locations for cats should it become necessary for other colonies, or should the nursing home still be unhappy with the cats, we may have to revisit relocation, but keep your fingers crossed for the cats!!!!