On 4/17 we got a 6 month friendly female spayed at GEAH, we were grateful to make the call at the right time – right after a cancellation! Timing is everything, she has already been adopted!
On 4/27 we took advantage of PAWS experimenting with following Coronavirus/Social Distancing protocols and sent 3 ferals in, 1 female and 2 males. It went very well!
On 5/7 we sent another 7 ferals to PAWS, 5 females and 2 males.
Also on 5/7 we sent a male feral with an injured paw to GEAH, so swollen it looked like a club instead of a paw. The paw was treated and he was neutered and vaccinated. His caretakers are keeping him in a crate and he's being a very calm boy, he's already gone back for a bandage change – you can't do that with many ferals, of course he has to be sedated every time. Toffee probably will NOT end up living inside but should have a great life as a feral.
That brings us to 11 in April, 8 in May, 38 for the year and 11,723 since our beginning.
With adequate social distancing, we will be starting to do more ferals on 5/14. Initially, we'll be working on the cats that are already known to us. We'll see how this goes!
We know of many litters already born out there, wish us luck in nabbing the kittens!
Astoundingly, Petey has done okay! We went from his having to be force-fed to gradually being able to eat from a very low dish with the cone on, a second surgery when his eye abscessed, to stitch removal. When he could not groom himself and was itching all over, I could actually groom him! Two days after cone removal he was back in attack mode at the slightest provocation. No gratitude whatsoever! He is now at a relocation site and doing well! Still in the cage for acclimation, he's faking it and rubbing up against the wire, like "Oh yeah, they were wrong, you can trust me, you can pet me." They were warned not to trust him, it will be interesting to see how he is when not confined in a 48" crate!
You can see more of Petey, including a Video of him at the Morton Ave Ferel (sp) Cat Colony Facebook Page.
Ever Done A Re-Hab?
We knew we had a lot of work to do when we pursued purchasing our new building. One project is the removal of the vault. Yes, a vault with a 5" thick vault door in a metal frame, cement ceiling and cement block walls. We have absolutely no idea what prior tenant needed a vault for. This is the space where our laundry/storage is going, the vault needs to go. You can see the pictures, the vault takes up half of the space and it is a safety risk. Who would have thought that would cost us $6,700? In this space we will be installing a sink that we can wash traps and crates in, another small wash tub for smaller items, a commercial washer that we can disinfect carriers in, clothes washer and dryer. We intend to start out as we intend to proceed. Stopping work to make adjustments later is much more expensive in the long run and, we would have to stop what we're doing! What we are planning should require no adjustment for the next decade or more (crossing our fingers here!). The cement floor is already being cut for the plumbing and the gas lines, the appliances and sinks are on order. We're all tired of the coronavirus but it has even impacted our plans. We were not going to plunge into this work until July or later, but with the contractors available now and looking for work, we needed to do this now. We've looked at our budget and these costs coming sooner than expected will make things tight. Everyone is asking for donations right now and we never want to be excessive in our asking, but the reality is that we thought we had two more months before this expense. If you can donate towards the $6,700 demolition of the vault (not any of the other costs associated with this area of the building) Feral Fixers would be grateful in the extreme!
DuPage Giving Days
Thank you to everyone who has donated to our DuPage Giving Days! This ends on 5/14, we're just days away! Please help us get to our matching funds goal! Until we can have an in-person event, this is the only way we can fundraise! The kittens are coming, trapping is resuming, giving us more of a financial cushion for our ongoing expenses will make all the difference in the world! FYI, a gallon of fenbendazole (dewormer and yes we go thru at least a gallon a year), costs us $400. Yikes! And we use a minimum of 3 different dewormers depending on what the kittens and adults need treatment for – the intestinal parasites are getting more resistant, treatments are given for a longer duration than they used to be in order to knock these critters out for good. Those behind-the-scenes expenses add up! Please donate before 5/14 to help us out!
(You can see a larger version of any of the pictures by clicking on the picture thumbnails)
Written by Tammy McAuley
On Thursday, so much happened at the building! We knew prior to purchasing the building that all three HVAC units on the roof were going to have to be replaced, one was just limping along, who knows how long the others had been out of commission. These guys are doing great work, our contractor for the project is CT Mechanical in Addison and while this is a huge expense, CTM is working with us to get as much donated as possible - the crane work was donated!!! We will have three different zones in the building as different rooms will have different needs. Inside work includes separate venting for the Isolation Room, Cats in Transition Room and the TNR Room.
We will try to keep updating on work performed as it happens.
(Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version - click on the movie link to view a short video of the work)
Look What You Did!
Written by Tammy McAuley
With a final push of donations, we went past the $37,000 mark, surpassing our goal of $36,700 and we received emails of donors dropping additional checks in the mail still to arrive.
This was a very optimistic fundraiser with a very high goal, considering how generous donors had been at year end we really did not know if we would make it but we had to ask as we had those matching funds waiting.
Feral Fixers donors came thru once again!
Our supporters have been very patient and we will ask once again for your patience as we get our building ready for full use. With the current pandemic, things may move slowly. There are some basic repairs, modifications, before we have an open house and even at the time of the open house we won't be fully renovated - we want you to see the progress we will be able to make thru your efforts as you come back and visit again and again.
So much has been "hurry up and wait" and that is still going to the needed plan but we can do that with the security that you have provided.
Please take care of yourselves and those around you and we hope to be able to see you in person soon!!!"
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!
April, 2020 Updates
Written by Tammy McAuley
You might not think that the Census would have anything to do with cats, right? Actually, thru the years I have used Census statistics to substantiate grant proposals, show how many cats per residents we have done in a town, justify our future activities. Number of residents, income levels, type of housing all impact the number of feral cats in an area.
The directions for filling out the form says it takes ten minutes. It took me three. Even at 10 minutes it is a very worthwhile investment of your time – and it benefits Feral Fixers!
The virus has impacted Feral Fixers in many ways.
Our Kitten Shower has been cancelled, resulting in fewer donations. We will be working on other ways to make up for those donations but we cannot replace the good will generated by the event – face to face makes a big difference, our people really enjoy getting together.
Work on the building may be slowed due to restriction of numbers of people and "Stay At Home."
Area vets have limited appointments. S/N is NOT considered an essential service. ADOPT Pet Shelter clinic has closed til further notice. We used the DCAS mobile unit this week, using safe distancing and PPE in the vehicle but the possible overall risk is too great and we will not be able to do s/n until further notice.
Many people are at home, doing Spring Cleaning and want to donate items to Feral Fixers for the building and this year's Garage Sale. We will not be putting anything in the building until we are done with improvements and we have no date for the Garage Sale as of yet. Hopefully, you have stored the items for this long, perhaps you can hold onto them a little longer – now you have them boxed up in a space-saving fashion 😊! And, please, when we are able to get together again, we will appreciate donations for our Silent Auction and door prizes.
Monetary donations – while the Required Minimum Distribution has been postponed for 2020 – many donations come from this source, the Covid-19 stimulus bill allows deductions for $300 charitable contributions in 2020.
Rescue Pack – this is the major source for our food donations. Due to the panic buying, supplies of donated pet food have been severely impacted. Temporarily, the focus has been shifted towards moving available donated food supplies to central locations, like animal controls, who may see an immediate impact in the number of animals they care for and have the largest staff numbers on hand in order to accommodate deliveries of food, most shelters have a skeleton crew at best right now. Supply of food has been cut pretty much in half but they understand the need and will be working hard to hold the next food distribution.
Trapping – this is so frustrating! We do not want to lose ground and have numbers surge again but we can't do neuter surgeries ourselves! You know, if I was able, I'd do it myself!!! We will have to consider each situation and do what we can to mitigate the impact. If that means nabbing and fostering kittens or leaving them all in place, we will have to judge on the basis of our resources at the time. So, no solid answers, we'll all have to work together for the best outcome we can achieve. Last year the surge of kittens happened on April 10th, calls are starting now.
Numbers To Date
On March 16th we ended up with two ferals that were trapped without notification, DCAS neutered them for us, both males. On March 19th we sent 5 ferals to ADOPT, 2 males, 3 females. Our last trip to DCAS, for the foreseeable future, was on 4/2 with 7 ferals, 2 males, 5 females. This brings our March total to 15, April total to 7, year total to 26 and 11,711 since our beginning.
Lots more to say, will post again soon, everyone stay healthy!
Written by Tammy McAuley
With the rapidly changing situation and recommendations, we have decided to cancel our Kitten Shower on April 19th.
We did mail out our invites over the weekend, not expecting the new restrictions.
If we are able to re-schedule, we will do so, but it is looking like months instead of weeks while the world goes thru this. Many other organizations are saying "See you next year." If you know someone who normally attends but does not participate in social media, please let them know about the cancellation.
We don't want anyone to be in a situation where they are exposed to a potentially fatal illness. Done.
We will still be doing TNR. We will stay in close contact with DCAS and ADOPT and are still planning on kicking off full trips in April. We absolutely do not want to lose ground. If caretakers are stuck at home, we might be busier than previous years!
We have cats waiting to be trapped already!
We hope to be able to close on our building this week – much can be done electronically but people have to actually be in their offices to receive and process. Scheduled for March 19th, the ending date of our Fund Our Ferals' Future fundraiser. We'll keep you posted on that front also.
When some normalcy returns we will have an Open House at the new building but cannot plan that date yet.
In the meantime, please take care of yourselves!
This is a global situation with local ramifications.
You may already be tired of hearing about it but this is not over yet, and Feral Fixers needs to update you one what we're doing.
We have no choice but to continue to do our work. We cannot lose ground, must continue to care for the cats. As long as none of us are sick, we will evaluate our own contacts with the public, which is usually one-on-one. We ask that anyone we will encounter consider our safety.
We have an event scheduled for April 19th, the Kitten Shower at the VFW in Villa Park. At this time, the VFW has had no issues, they are wiping down all surfaces after each event they host. This is still 5 weeks away and so much can change in just 5 weeks with this situation. The numbers could be worse or we could be on the downside with numbers going down dramatically. There's so much to do before the day of an event, we'll be sending out postcards today, working on gift baskets, etc.
Right now, we are still planning on holding the event. Attendance is usually 150 to 200 people, below the limits recently set by Governor Pritzker. We are not an excessively touchy-feely crowd, we will be supplying everyone with their own pens, providing hand sanitizer, figuring out the food. We do not have the resources to turn this into a virtual event on short notice and there isn't an alternate time period in the year we can move it to.
We will be monitoring the situation and may still cancel the event. So many enjoy the Kitten Shower, it may be the only time in the year we get to see our supporters and it is one of our major fundraisers.
We'll see what this looks like in a few weeks and keep everyone informed of our plans, it is a very fluid situation. DO NOT plan on attending if you feel the slightest bit ill or concerned. Your health is the most important thing here. You can turn it into your own virtual event!
Wanted to let everyone know where we are with this!