Adoption event, Google, As If They Were Our Own and more...
Written by Tammy McAuley
Upcoming Adoption Event
Kittens do happen and there are times in the year where there seem to be only black kittens on hand. There are also times when there are only gray kittens or orange tabbies, very strange. Black is a dominant color in the cat gene pool and that shows up in multiple litters of only black coats. We currently have 15 wonderful black kittens on our Petfinder – more have not yet been posted. On our Facebook you will see posts from families who have adopted not one but sometimes three of our black kittens at once – they are very passionate in their love and support of black cats! We have an adoption event at the Danada PetsMart on July 24th, check out our black kitties on Petfinder, come in person to the event, fill out an application for pre-approval – we do not do same-day adoptions but pre-approval helps. Many of our fosters will be there in person with their kittens and have the inside scoop on the behaviors of these great kittens – as a recent post said – "Feral Fixers kittens are magic." This will be our first in-store adoption event since the start of the Pandemic – we don't know how these guys will react to the noise and activity, our recent adoption events at our building have been fabulous – no stress there! If you cannot make the 24th, meet and greets can be arranged. As other organizations are experiencing the same immense volume of kittens, we need to say that we do not have "sales" on adoptions – same all year 'round. Visit our Adoptables!
Google And Feral Fixers' Location
We've had an ongoing battle with Google, trying to get our correct address displayed. We did adoptions at the Danada PetsMart and somehow, Google grabbed that info as our physical address. It now displays 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard! We still have a few more tweaks that we hope will take place, but hopefully people will have fewer frustrations as a result of this change. Currently, we still do not have set hours at the new building, everything is by appointment still. We are working on accumulating the right volunteers to staff for open hours but that may still be months away. We do things the right way as much as possible, we're not going to hurry up and regret it. Frustrating for some of our supporters but we are in strange times when it comes to bringing people together in person. We are using the building for meetings, adoption events and so much TNR! Great to have air conditioning, a bathroom, running water and not using my garage!
"As If They Were Our Own" Fundraiser
This year is moving along so quickly! Our next fundraiser is the As If They Were Our Own Fundraiser which raises funds to cover those medical expenses in addition to spay/neuter. These are the costs of additional vaccinations that did not take place at the time of surgery – kittens get a total of three FVRCP injections, and Rabies vaccinations if they were not old enough to receive at the time of surgery. These are the cots of bot fly removals, updates on vaccinations of those previous ferals who have now decided to come inside and find a home, dentals, wound repair, eye enucleations, amputations, antibiotic injections – this list is actually not complete on the wide variety of care that we provide for the cats we encounter. We do our best to keep costs down, we have wide experience with medications that we administer on our own, we have a volunteer who is a vet tech that schedules FVRCP vaccinations on our adoptables, but the Rabies vaccine can legally only be given by a veterinarian. A shout out to Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital for the support they give us, sometimes many visits in a week – not easy in today's vet world! We have neutered over 12,800 cats now – as the cats age outside, their needs increase and we do our best to help them, in addition to neutering and vaccinating.
Our additional vet care costs can average $3,000/month – our total for last year was over $40,000. We promise, we are not doing excessive care, just meeting the needs of the many cats that need extra help beyond spay/neuter! We will be starting our As If They Were Our Own Giving Grid on August 1st, ending on September 12th. We have $7,600 in pledged funds to be matched! That would mean a total of $15,200 to provide care for these cats who need our help! An aggressive goal, but we hope that with your help we can get there! Vaccinations, antibiotics, oh my! Please look for upcoming information about this fundraiser and share with all your friends and family - $10 can make a huge difference in the future of these cats, every dollar can be matched up to $7,600 – how amazing is that!
Animal Care Can Be Stressful All Around
Veterinarians have a higher rate of suicide than many professions. Crushing debt, compassion fatigue and work schedules compound to such a degree that suicide may seem the only way out. This is important information for all who care for animals. While experiencing your own frustrations, please think of those who are doing their best.
While I did not find much research on the rescue community, I feel that "animal care personnel" could be inserted in place of "veterinarian" in most of this information. This is an old post (2014) but still relevant and isn't that worrisome?
This information from 2015 is the only data I was able to find about animal rescue personnel across the board – animal control to pet-sitters, it happens to everyone. Do not mean to confuse you, at the end of the article it asks for donations for Montgomery Humane Society – we are not intentionally soliciting donations on their behalf but sharing a news article that includes that plea – we didn't want to attempt to take that information out of the article, just did not seem right.
Another 61 Cats!
We've made three more trips for spay/neuter this month so far, two more trips scheduled still in July.
On 7/1 we sent a total of 32 cats, 23 friendlies, 9 ferals, plus one kitten for a hernia repair only. Cats can suddenly develop unexpected symptoms – 5 kittens did not receive surgery, Upper Respiratory symptoms, sudden explosive diarrhea and one kitten decided being adopted was not in her future and bit a staff member – placed on Rabies Observation. 12 females and 15 males did receive spay/neuter.
On 7/8, 16 cats were sent plus one for a dental. The dental unfortunately needed a whole mouth extraction, too many hours for DCAS to perform in a high-volume spay/neuter situation. Of the 17, 7 were friendlies, 9 ferals with 10 females and 6 males.
On 7/15, 18 cats made the trip, 7 friendlies, 11 ferals with 10 females and 8 males. The kitten that had completed her Rabies Observation was included as one of the ferals – with a snap test just in case at the last moment she decided that the inside life was for her – but no, feral all the way.
We've now done 61 cats so far in July, 378 for 2021 and 12,827 since our start in 2007.
July is usually a slow month for us - not this year! Reminder that we will not be making a s/n trip on 8/5. And, due to the volume of calls, we are telling people it will take longer for us to get to them, perhaps not until the week of 8/9 – only so many hours in a day! Very frustrating for us when kittens are involved. Please keep this in mind when you are sharing information about us – the earlier in the year you contact us, the fewer the kittens and the more likely we will be able to get to you before the kittens happen!
32 cats ready to take their spay/neuter trip on 7/1
And, 32 cats loaded up for the 7/1 transport
Cats being staged for the 7/15 spay/neuter run
Cats being staged for the 7/15 spay/neuter run
At the end of the day, 7/8, when all the cats came back
This is Eureka, she is being fostered by her caretaker, she had just been trapped and who doesn't need kitten pictures?
July 10th Adoption Event
Written by Sue Lee
We had our second successful adoption event at our building on Saturday, 7/10. Our 3 meet 'n greet rooms are fabulous and were filled during most of the event. What a pleasure to have a safe and clean environment to have potential adopters meet our kittens!
This was a kitten-focused adoption event with 17 kittens (Rollie, Rocco, Schuyler, Scheri, Schelby, Felipe & Fenton, Scout, Scarlet, Molly & Moira, Nelson & Nestea, Nettie, Necco, Nero, Nemo) as the stars of our show. Everyone did very well interacting with our guests. Our black kittens spent most of the day in their foster families' arms, while the gray kittens were constantly in and out of meet 'n greet rooms. I wish adopters were more color neutral in their selections!
We had a good flow of pre-approved and potential adopters stop by throughout the event, with a huge crowd during the first hour, as usual. 2 kittens were adopted directly from the event and adoption paperwork was completed for 3 more kittens, all by pre-approved adopters:
Nelson & Nestea were adopted by a terrific gal and her friend from Forest Park. They are long-time cat parents and recently lost their last cat. Nelson reminded them of him.
Scarlet was adopted by a family member from the Bloomingdale location from which she was rescued. She will be a good companion for the adopter and his parents. She curled right up in his lap. They are moving so the going home will be delayed a bit.
Monroe & Schuyler were adopted by a wonderful family in Villa Park. They recently lost their last cat. They needed a little time to get supplies, so are planning to pick up their new babies later this week.
Our gray girls (Molly & Moira and Schelby & not gray Scheri) also received lots of attention:
A second visit is being scheduled with Schelby & Scheri by a family who met them at the event and completed an application that morning, which was subsequently approved.
While things did not work out with the families who met Molly & Moira at the event, a visit by a new approved adopter is scheduled for Wednesday.
11 additional adoptions took place in the two weeks since our last adoption event, including 9 kittens (Feldman & Feldspar, Rock Star, Rockabye Baby, Dilly & Dillon, Robby, Rosemary & Rosita) and 2 adults (Ollie, Willow). It looks to be another good month of adoptions even though lots of folks are on vacation.
Many thanks to the fosters (Aimee/Jackson, Annie/Rylee, Bonnie, Jena/Deane, Jenny, Marisa/Dean, Rachel/Sephie) and the volunteers (Sara, Steve, Trista, Arielle & Candy) who made this event possible. Special thanks to fosters Annie/Rylee, Bonnie, Deane, Jenny, and Rachel/Sephie, who were able to stay during the event and help with the meet 'n greets with their kittens. Thanks to Sara, Steve & Arielle for the quick & efficient set-up - it is so nice to have the supplies at the building! Thanks to Sara & Trista for the great job with adoption counseling - it got pretty crazy at times. Thanks to Steve for the professional cage cards and coordinating our lunch run. Thanks to Candy for the great photography during the event.
Our next adoption event will be Saturday, 7/24, at the Wheaton PetSmart (63 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton) from 11am-3pm. This is part of PetSmart National Adoption Week. It will be a little more challenging to have an in-store event again, but hoping for some good foot traffic.
Halfway into the Year!
Written by Tammy McAuley
On 6/24 32 cats went to DCAS for spay/neuter, 13 ferals and 19 friendlies, with 18 males and 14 females. One female kitten had a heart murmur of 5/6 and did not get spayed, will happen when older at the local vet who has much more equipment on hand in case of emergency. Additionally, there was a hernia repair – we've had a few more of those this year than usual. These surgeries bring us to 82 for the month of June, 317 for the year and 12,766 since our start in 2007. This is almost halfway to the total numbers for the year that we did in all of 2020. We do this with the help of our donors, our fosters, and the many volunteers it takes to process this many cats. Thank you all!
The top 2 pictures show the cats for the 6/24 spay/neuter run being staged at our building. The bottom 2 pictures show the cats loaded into our transport vehicle for their trip to DCAS.
Help Wanted – Garage Sale Host
Our Fantastic Garage Sale did very well! People still came out to shop in between the episodes of downpouring rain. Thank you for the donations and the shoppers! Jennifer has hosted our annual garage sale since 2018 but can no longer do so ☹! She has done a wonderful job for the last four years!
No TNR On 8/5
Taking the week off, so do not trap from 7/30 to 8/8 unless you intend to keep them at your house! We all need some time off and the end of the year is always the busiest for us. In 2020 we neutered over 400 cats between August and December. Taking one week off will hopefully help us prepare for the coming volume! Of course, it's only time off from trips for spay/neuter, not from all the other tasks we do each and every day!
Finally, here are four videos showing how older kittens can be handled and socialized. It's important to note that scruffing the kittens in order to be able to handle them is not hurting them. In a normal situation, their moms would be doing it with their very sharp teeth! These videos will also be posted on our website in the very near future.
"The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more." - Jonas Salk
The Kittyman Sea Shanty
Written by Tammy McAuley
Something to brighten your day...
What A Year!
Written by Tammy McAuley
If nothing else has come of this year it has brought us all new appreciation for what we have, what we have lost and what we are able to do to make things better for ourselves and others.
We appreciate all the people who have continued to care about the cats. Many new caretakers had the time to resolve the cats around them. Extra time spent at home led to lots of new fosters and some foster failures as those families adopted their fosters, unable to part with them. People spending more time at home led to many more kittens being brought in and the longest "kitten season" we've ever experienced with the extended balmy weather. We formed tighter bonds with the area rescues as we all went thru the same challenges.
All those kittens took a toll on our fosters, our s/n transporters and Sue, our adoption counselor. There were individual kittens that actually received 40 – 50 inquiries EACH! But each of these kittens go to the best home possible for them as individuals and the alumni stories we receive validate the effort put into that goal. Please take the time to read the foster story included in this newsletter, we have some very impressive volunteers.
Thru it all we kept going as our physical interactions with people are limited and usually outdoors. A few fosters experienced COVID, most of us have been able to remain healthy.
Our ability to fundraise has been greatly impacted as cat people are much more social with other cat people than one might think and they greatly enjoy our in-person events!
A Few Notes About the Building
We try to wash and disinfect our traps before they go into Winter storage so they can be used immediately in the Spring. We were able to transport them all to the building, the railing spacing on the ramp made it very easy to get them into the building, the new washtub was able to hold 4 traps (3 large, 1 small) at once, so simple! And there was plenty of room for spraying with a blast of disinfectant, rinsing and shipping off to storage!
Just a few more days of our Black Cat Giving Tuesday Fundraiser. We hope the 2021 Feral Fixers Happy New Year! Raffle helps to replace our Frosty Claws event and provide something our donors will enjoy participating in.
For many reasons, I receive emails from a great many non-profits. That means that I see how they promote their organizations and ask for money. We do our very best to be different, low-volume and specific about our needs. I can't imagine how weary some of you must be, bombarded on a daily basis by every group for human, environmental, political and animal needs. I could say negative things about those other groups but would instead reaffirm that funds donated to Feral Fixers work to benefit the cats in this geographic area. Surgeries, medications, food, transportation, supplies, a building to house them in, it all goes towards the cats. The percentage of funds used for fundraising (administrative costs are often a high percentage of total costs) is minimal. We adapt ideas and make our asks as enjoyable as possible 😸. We will never be able to give up fundraising but promise to keep the annoyance to a minimum!
We have personal relationships with our donors and we appreciate them so much!
We wish you a Wonderful Holiday and the Best Possible New Year!
Thank you all for your personal messages this year, they are greatly appreciated. Wish we could thank you all individually!
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!
The story of Honey, and other updates...
Written by Tammy McAuley
Winter Feral Cat Care
Remember that cats put a fat layer on, starting in the Fall so that if it is necessary, they can hunker down for days if needed. Try not to call them out for food when you are worried that you haven't seen them. Coming out, their shelter cooling, getting snow on their fur, can cost them more calories than they can consume sometimes. It is very hard to leave them alone but provide food, look on our website (Cold Weather Care) for ways to keep food and water from freezing – at least for a short period of time, provide Kitten Chow for the extra fat content and be patient. We've had several calls about cats who are not doing well and have helped where we can, most calls are a result of age and injury, not just the cold. Providing shelter and food is sometimes the best you can do!
Still Not Trapping, But…
While we cannot plunge into full-fledged TNR, there have been situations that we were able and had to respond to. On 2/3, Blizzard (male, feral) went to Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital with an abscessed wound on his tail. Since he had to be sedated to care for the injury, he was neutered at the same time. He has NOT decided to be friendly but is now healed and as soon as the weather improves, will go back outside. We received a call from a guy who had gone to great lengths to care for a group of ferals – renting a garage just to house them. The landlord discovered this and said they had to go. We were contacted 4 days before the deadline. Luckily one of our volunteers had the use of space to house them temporarily. Most were able to be loaded into carriers by the caretaker, one had to be trapped. These 8 cats would sing (okay, yowl) most of the night for the first 3 nights – this happens as cats try to make themselves feel better about such a huge change. They suddenly became more settled on the 4th day, only one continuing to yell – but that seemed to be because she wanted to be petted! A man was threatening to shoot the ferals in his yard. He wasn't going to change, cats needed to be trapped and removed. They seem to come from down the street, we'll be pursuing that location as soon as we can for TNR. First cat turned out to be quite friendly, 2nd is not super feral, we'll see. On 2/16, we sent 10 cats to ADOPT, since we needed to be sure we wouldn't have to go back and eartip later if they did not become adoptable, they were all done as ferals. With these, we've done 11 cats so far in February, 15 for 2021, our grand total is 12,464! Again, we are dragging our feet on further surgeries until the weather improves around the end of March.
Another Microchips Are Forever Story – In May 2011, we removed a total of 19 cats from a trailer in Plainfield, back when we were more likely to do hoarding situations. Those cats had a range of outcomes. Some were too feral and were relocated to a pig sanctuary that needed cats to cope with mice in the grain storage area. Some went for adoption to PAWS and to PURRS, some were adoptions from Feral Fixers later in 2011. Microchips are forever and we have new information about Honey. She was adopted thru Feral Fixers. Those adopters had a life change, surrendered her to DuPage County Animal Services in May 2020. We had no place to put her (2020!) and she was transferred to Chicagoland Animal Rescue from DCAS (CAR takes in a lot of older or less easily adoptable cats from DCAS – thank you!). After a brief stay with CAR, Honey AKA Oksana was adopted by a wonderful man on 7/15/20. What a long road and we're very glad to have played a part in it!
Honey aka Oksana in her new home
Petting A Cat Releases Endorphins
We knew there was more to petting a cat than just making the CAT happy, right? Turns out it increases our endorphins, making US happy, too! Does having one cat make us want more because of our physical response?