49 more today (even the harder way)... Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Feral Fixers brought 49 more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic today to be fixed. 28 of these cats were ferals while the other 21 were 'friendly ferals'.

Today was a very 'interesting' one. Because my car is still in the shop (Transmission. Problems. Expensive.), Feral Fixers Board member Sue (once again) allowed me to borrow her van so that I could bring in many of the cats to PAWS today. However, in driving the van over to Tammy's this morning, the engine started 'steaming' and I saw that the engine temperature guage was pegged at the highest level. Not good. I pulled over to the side of the road and allowed the engine to cool down and then drove the rest of the way to Tammy's. I popped the hood and opened the radiator cap - no coolant liquid in sight. I asked Tammy for a gallon of water, hoping against hope, that the level was just low and that some water would make things right. I poured the entire gallon into the radiator and then watched in dismay as it immediately began leaking out of the system. This car wasn't going to go anywhere until repaired. If we're lucky, just a hose, but more probably a leaky radiator. Super-volunteer Jennifer was the other half of today's transport in, so we loaded up her car with 28 cats and headed off to PAWS. Meanwhile, Tammy called super-volunteer Dedra to see if she could possibly come by NOW and pick up the rest of the cats and bring them to PAWS. Being the rock-star volunteer she is, she said 'yes' and immediately headed over to Tammy's. Tammy also then called Sue to deliver the bad news about her car.

Jennifer and I arrived at PAWS and unloaded 'our' 28 cats and brought them inside. Then Jennifer headed off to work while I started the paperwork (doing paperwork on 49 cats is a long, tedious process). An hour or so later, Dedra showed up with the rest of the cats and we proceeded to unload them and bring them inside. Then Dedra helped me finish as much of the paperwork as we could. Because not all of the Check-In reports had been prepared, we soon reached a standstill, waiting for the rest of the PAWS paperwork so we could finish our part. Knowing that Dedra was going to have come back in the evening to help bring the cats (she had been previously scheduled to do this) I sent her home and stayed at PAWS and finished up the rest of the paperwork when I could. Then I spent the afternoon at PAWS, keeping busy by helping the employees there do one of their least-favorite tasks, cleaning out the storage room. I got my exercise today!

PAWS said the cats would be ready at 5pm and they were. As mentioned earlier, Dedra had been scheduled to come to PAWS in the evening to help transport cats back to Tammy's, but I was supposed to be the 'other half' of that transport team - and I had no vehicle. So, Tammy had to come to PAWS herself and help pick up cats (like she doesn't have enough to do already, but there was no one else to do it). Once both cars were at PAWS, we spent some time getting all of the cats, except one friendly, into Tammy's and Dedra's car. Tammy headed home with her load. I rode with Dedra, with the extra friendly we didn't have room for in the back of the car sitting in my lap. Once at Tammy's we unloaded all of the cats and then Dedra kindly drove me to Sue's house so that I could pick up my car and drive home.

A long day for everyone involved and we are looking forward to the break next week even more. Thanks Dedra for doing both parts of the trip today (as well as doing the pickup on Tuesday - see previous blog post) and for taking me to pick up my car! Thanks Jennifer for driving in a bunch of the cats (and me!) to PAWS this morning and also coming back to Tammy's this evening to help take care of all the kittens in her basement. And Thanks Judy for being at Tammy's both this morning and this evening, helping out with everything that needed doing. And finally, sorry Sue, for the car trouble...

All 49 cats received surgery today - I think this is the largest number of cats we've ever brought to PAWS where everyone got done. No one was rejected for health reasons, no one was too small - no exceptions.

With these 49 cats, Feral Fixers has now processed 169 cats for July, 645 cats for the year and 6,621 overall.

10 more on Tuesday (the hard way)... Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Feral Fixers brought in ten more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic on Tuesday to be fixed. All ten of these cats were ferals and seven turned out to be female (with the remaining three being male, of course).

This was a day where not much went right. Super-volunteer Charli was supposed to pick up the cats from Tammy's and take them to PAWS, but when she got to Tammy's, her car would no longer start. Board Member Kurt came to the rescue, coming to Tammy's and picking up the cats and bringing them to PAWS. Super-volunteer Dedra picked up the cats from PAWS and brought them back to Tammy's for recovery and distribution. However, she didn't get back to Tammy's until nearly 8pm - PAWS had a difficult dog surgery that really put them behind and so everything got backed up from there. Ferals are the last animals operated on and so this made everything very late for Feral Fixers. Super-volunteer Jennifer was helping out with the cats in the basement and in the garage getting everyone fed and tidied up for the night. So, thank you Charli, Kurt, Dedra and Jennifer!

With these 10 cats, Feral Fixers has now processed 120 cats for July, 596 for the year and 6,572 overall since we began operations in late 2007.

39 out of 39... Print E-mail
The Feral Blog
Written by Ted Semon   
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today, Feral Fixers brought in 39 more cats to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic to be fixed. 30 of these cats were ferals while the other 9 were 'friendly ferals'.

Super-volunteer Charli helped me pick up the cats from Tammy's this morning and bring them PAWS (Thanks Charli!) while super-volunteer Dedra helped me pick up the cats from PAWS this afternoon and bring them back to Tammy's for recovery and distribution (Thanks Dedra!). Super-volunteer Judy was at Tammy's both for the morning and afternoon activities, helping out with everything that needed doing - Thanks Judy! Also, a new super-volunteer, Toni, rode to PAWS this afternoon with me (and then back with Dedra) to get an immersive experience with our Spay/Neuter transport. Thanks Toni! And, as my transport vehicle is in the shop (Transmission. Awful. Expensive.) I had to borrow super-volunteer and Board Member Sue's van to do my portion of transport both ways - Thanks Sue!

Usually with this many cats, some do not receive surgery. Some may be too small or too ill or some other condition may manifest itself to the Vets and they say "Not this one today". But not today - all 39 received surgery. That's very satisfying when it happens - it is like an extra bonus for the trip! And, of today's load, 25 were females and 'just' 14 were males - pretty much the opposite of the last trip...

With these 39 cats, Feral Fixers has now processed 110 cats for July (the fifth month in a row of 100+ cats and there are still two weeks to go in the month), 586 for the year and 6,562 overall.

Two more stories, Conference & Kittens, and the Starfish... Print E-mail
From The President
Written by Tammy McAuley   
Friday, July 11, 2014

I think I’m going to continue sharing our stories with you guys, you seem to like them and it helps you get the big picture about what we do! And I’m never going to run out of stories!

Got a call today from a lady, she’s 86 years old, retired 26 years ago from AT&T, didn’t expect to live this long, she says! She has a barn and two horses and she’s doing okay taking care of everything still but she went and fed these two cats. Now, there’s 12 adults and 8 kittens. Could we help? She feels really bad, but just can’t stretch her finances further than donating $100 to offset our costs. She thinks the kittens are 9 weeks old. I’m torn between wanting them to be 7 weeks or less or more than 10 weeks old. 7 weeks or less are usually easily tamed (although there is nowhere to put them) and 10+ weeks can be put back, hard as it is to see the little guys out there. The upside of this, even tho she is outside of DuPage County, we have a wonderful volunteer out there on the edge of our service area that may be able to help somewhat. You do the math tho, if all 20 are done as ferals, that’s $700 to us. If the kittens are sent thru as friendlies, that’s $20 more each, bringing the total to $860. A long way from $100 but we cannot let this situation explode into 40+ in the Spring. I’m hoping we can get out there this coming week, cross your fingers for us!

Got a call from a girl on Wednesday = we go to PAWS on Thursday, you know. She had put off calling us in order to save up money to get a few of the cats done. In the meantime, the total had grown to 14 cats or so. Clearly, it does no good to wait, the problem will always grow beyond the resources! Imagine her relief when I told her that since she lived in Addison, we get reimbursed for the s/n! I told her that we would get to her as soon as possible. I Mapquested her and realized that one of our indispensible trappers takes care of a colony within two miles of her. Called her up, she went over there after work and brought four cats in that evening for surgery the next day!

This is all made possible because we have willing volunteers who rearrange their lives in order to reduce the numbers of feral cats. It is made possible by our donors who create that cushion of money that enables us to front the costs in Addison to be reimbursed later, to be able to neuter all 20 cats and kittens that have suddenly erupted from one location. It is made possible by each person who friends us, forwards and shares our info, participates in our events.

Thank you!


I recently attended the Illinois Animal Welfare Federation Prairie States Conference in Bloomington. Attended by employees and volunteers of animal controls and shelters for the most part, I seemed to be the only attendee from a TNR focused organization there. I felt I was spreading the gospel at times in talking to different people. Most were receptive but I was amazed at the number who did not think it was important to microchip ferals – even representatives of national organizations were clearly befuddled that we were “wasting” our money. I’m reminded of the starfish story, you can’t toss all the stranded starfish back into the sea, but its very important for the ones that you are able to do so for – and so it is for all of the cats that we have microchipped and had their lives changed as a result and we are lucky enough to know their stories!

On the whole, these were friendly, receptive people who attended and hosted the event. Remember, these are “animal” people, they don’t normally relate well to humans! But, I think that conferences like this break down the barriers and fears that our overwork and isolation produce in animal rescue.

I was able to talk to a few vendors and have promised to share some of our experiences with their products with them. I enjoyed talking to the Tomahawk trap representatives!

One of the seminars that I attended was dedicated to increasing donations, maintaining communication with donors. You know there are some organizations that have full-time, paid employees that all they do is solicit, groom, schmooze donors? They go to lunch with prospective donors or at the very least, meet them for coffee. I walked out of there feeling that I had let you guys down – you know I have every INTENTION of keeping up with thank you cards & letters, right? I just can’t seem to keep up with that when there are still cats to neuter, kittens to tame, and all the wide and varied duties that are part of doing TNR that no one ever sees.

One entertaining seminar was devoted just to ticks and the illnesses they spread. Itched the whole time. The life of a tick is much more complicated than I had any idea!


Our shelter partners have done their best to take kittens from us this year but now they are maxed out for the most part and we have dozens and dozens of kittens on hand. This is over and above the friendly adults that have come our way. We will be participating in a few adoption events in the next two months, please stop by and say hello and let your friends and family know our schedule. And of course, when you stop at a shelter – ask to see the cats that came from Feral Fixers!

Every call we get these days involves moms & kittens. In March and April and even May, we can be pretty certain the kittens are going to be young enough to tame easily, but now we are getting into those kittens that are older, if they haven’t interacted with humans already, they will need to go back where they came from – we cannot afford the months of taming that they will require to be adoptable. This is why people should not wait until they see the kittens come up to the food bowl and then try to find an answer – it can be too late. There are a limited number of adoptive homes and fewer foster homes than that. Please help us get ahead of the kittens! The next rush is due in just a few short weeks – they are out there mating now! Don’t delay! Spay today!

And finally, the story of the Starfish...

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

What if cats said "Hey"... Print E-mail
Audios / Visuals of the Week
Written by TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsKatt   
Friday, July 11, 2014

I was digging through the archives (not my litter box) a few days ago and found this "oldie but goodie"...



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