The deadline for ticket purchase for the 15th Anniversary Celebration is 9/25/23 midnight and mail in purchases need to be postmarked by 9/25. We need to know how many guests so we know how much food!
There is so much going on, people are very busy and this is not the usual time of year when we have an event. We get it. So far, we’re under 80 attendees but we’ve had big surges for other events very close to the deadline – never know! Wanted to let you all know it is not going to be a jam-packed but very casual it seems! Very grateful to those who plan to spend time with us to celebrate this milestone and look forward to seeing all of you! Our goal was a stress-free event where everyone could have a really good time and interact with other cat people, donors and volunteers. Cannot wait!
The Double Tree, 2111 Butterfield, Downers Grove is a great location, easily accessible by all!
It may be last-minute but come join us!
This is a combination of Feral Fixers purchases and donations to replenish our pate supply - amazing how much we go thru in a short period of time!
Friendlies, relocation cats, cats for Thursday, cats already here for Friday trip.
9/22 – ADOPT – 3 friendlies, 11 ferals, 7 males, 7 females. We’re sort of caught up on kittens! But they are still coming in! Big year for kittens!
Total for September – 108, year-to-date – 689, since 2007 – 14,641! Can you believe it!
5 friendlies, 4 ferals waiting for their trip to ADOPT on 9/15/23.
11 ferals and three friendlies for the trip on 9/22
Written by Tammy McAuley
Time is getting away from all of us! I need to remind everyone to register for our 15th Anniversary Event on October 1st, at the Double Tree Suites by Hilton at 2111 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove. We hope to see all of you! I know how busy everyone is and this is not the usual time for us to have this kind of event – it was impossible to do it sooner, just too much going on. The DoubleTree is a great place, and it should be a relaxed, positive event, come join us! You have just 10 days to sign up. We could not take tickets at the door as we have to arrange the food in advance – see, we are trying to do the least amount of work ourselves and we have to give a head count in advance, don’t want to waste but want everyone to enjoy the food! We are past the deadline to cancel so we are committed to this event – there’s been an uptick today in people signing up, but you always worry about events! Looking forward to seeing you all!!!
Three More Trips
9/7 - DCAS – 2 friendlies, 28 ferals, 15 females, 11 males. This was a difficult trip. One female was already spayed. One female did not receive surgery as URI symptoms were too great. One male died on the table and was not able to be revived – came from a very tough area. One had severe neck wounds, many broken teeth and was obviously very old and was euthanized. We cannot let these cats continue to suffer but we do the best we can to help them as soon as we can.
9/8 – ADOPT – 5 friendlies, 5 ferals, 6 female, 2 male. One female older kitten refused to turn friendly so was just there for rabies and ear tip. One male was discovered to have oral cancer and was euthanized.
9/13 – DCAS – 20 ferals, 12 female, 8 male. This time of year, we trap so many older kittens – if we had just gotten the call 6 weeks sooner when they were tameable, if we could have gotten to them before the mom got pregnant. If wishes were fishes…
This brings us to 56 for September (everyone who got surgery), 637 for the year, 14,589 since our start. We have less than two months more to go before we stop doing ferals, it will be interesting to see what our grand total for the year will be.
Our last trip to DCAS will be on October 28th, so we will stop trapping ferals after that week. Of course, we will be impacted by the weather and kittens on hand as to how many surgeries are done after that and into December. We do not do feral s/n if the outside temps are 30 degrees and lower. Have to wait until at least February if new ferals show up!
9/13 trip of 20 ferals to DCAS
Cats for relocation, cats going in the following day, 30 cats for 9/7, oh my! Usually do not have to put up SEVEN tables to fit everybody!
We received another mom & babies 9/9, here is one 3 week old at weigh in!
The one surviving kitten from the mom with severe asthma, DCAS helped us by combining him with other 5 day old bottle babies - he's doing great!
Feral Fixers 2023 Raffle
The Feral Fixers 2023 Raffle deadline is midnight 9/15 – 24 hours to get your choices in! Drawing 9/20. Thank you to everyone participating, wish you could all win!
Adoption Event 9/23
Saturday, 9/23, 11am to 3pm at our building, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard.
This may be the unofficial end of Summer but definitely not the end of Kitten Season! Cats can have 3 litters a year and we are into the 3rd surge now. We took in two new mom & babies this past week. One mom comes from a hoarding situation that we are so close to finalizing but one more litter was born – 6 brown tabby kittens, almost identical, just 5 days old. This was the location that we had pulled 35 kittens from previously, we’ve neutered 25 adults so far. That would bring the total to 67 cats from one location, SO FAR. The second mom gave birth in the training tower at the local fire department. The three kittens were discovered in a bucket of wood shavings and chips, kept on hand for starting the blazes. Mom is Ember, kittens are Sparky, Smokey & Sarge. Many thanks to the Lombard Fire Department!
8/31 DCAS – 10 friendlies, 5 ferals, 6 females, 9 males. Included were two older kittens previously neutered that needed eartips – they refused to be friendly and would need to be relocated = eartips. Also in this trip was a female that we waited for two weeks to give birth, she was huge, we knew she had health issues but no clear symptoms. She did finally give birth but most of the kittens did not survive. Her health was stable enough to send for spay and find out more about what was going on. Turns out that she had severe feline asthma (not easy to diagnose in a feral unless they are sedated) with expanded aveoli (air sacs in lungs) that could burst and develop into pneumothorax without daily asthma treatment, which was just not possible, too feral, she was humanely euthanized. We look at the future health of the cats we encounter and do our best to ensure they have good, healthy lives going forward.
9/1 – ADOPT – 1 friendly, 1 feral, 1 male, 1 female. The female was a mom from a mom & babies family. She has decided she loves humans but not other cats. Fatima will be coming to the building to have a room of her own until she is adopted so that our foster can continue to care for other cats. You may have heard that we can tell adopters so much about the cats we have on hand – we do our best to find the right homes for them – not all cats are the same!
We are far from done – our last s/n trip to DCAS is the end of October and we continue with ADOPT appointments until end of November-ish with ferals, depending on weather and into December with friendlies on hand. The kittens we just received will be old enough for s/n about the first week of December. Then we will take a break from s/n. The plan, the hope, is for no cats processed from December 17th to at least January 21st. We’ve been going full tilt since March. I’m hoping for lots of snow into April, preventing us from neutering ferals!
August total: 110, September total: 2, year-to-date: 583, since beginning: 14,535.
PetSmart has recently begun allowing unneutered animals to be adopted from their stores. United Spay Alliance seems to be making a statement about their own views regarding this policy change without including specifics of what others are doing. It is really tough out there, getting spay/neuter appointments and the pet industry is reliant on adoptions continuing – a pause in adoptions can impact everything from food production, supplies, employment – have to have traffic into the stores = adoption events and cats housed in the stores bring those customers in to buy, buy, buy while they adopt. This is not a black and white issue, complicated by the circumstances we all find ourselves in, but Feral Fixers will continue to only offer for adoption those cats that are already neutered and vaccinated. Adopters need to be fully informed about the adoption process and how it can affect your new family member.
Illinois law requires the s/n of an adopted animal within 14 days post adoption which still requires veterinary documentation about why s/n has not taken place.
(225 ILCS 605/3.3) Sec. 3.3. Adoption of dogs and cats. (a) An animal shelter or animal control facility shall not adopt out any dog or adopt out or return to field any cat unless it has been sterilized and microchipped. However, an animal shelter or animal control facility may adopt out a dog or cat that has not been sterilized and microchipped if the adopting owner has executed a written agreement to have sterilizing and microchipping procedures performed within 14 days after a licensed veterinarian certifies the dog or cat is healthy enough for sterilizing and microchipping procedures and a licensed veterinarian has certified that the dog or cat is too sick or injured to be sterilized or it would be detrimental to the health of the dog or cat to be sterilized or microchipped at the time of the adoption. (b) An animal shelter or animal control facility may adopt out any dog or cat that is not free of disease, injury, or abnormality if the disease, injury, or abnormality is disclosed in writing to the adopter, and the animal shelter or animal control facility allows the adopter to return the animal to the animal shelter or animal control facility. (c) The requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of this Section do not apply to adoptions subject to Section 11 of the Animal Control Act. (Source: P.A. 101-295, eff. 8-9-19; 102-558, eff. 8-20-21.)
Feral Cats Do Not Require Second Rabies Vaccination
We are often contacted about the whether it is necessary to re-trap and re-vaccinate feral cats. This is not necessary. Here is the law in Cook County. In the over 14,000 cats we have neutered and vaccinated, the only re-vaccination has been for cats that have become adoptable, needing to comply with the laws for owned pets. Some caretakers feel the need to re-vaccinate and do so – hopefully other health issues are discovered at the same time, making it worthwhile, but in general not advisable to put the ferals thru re-trapping for the purpose of additional vaccines.
Feral Fixers 2023 Raffle
The Feral Fixers 2023 Raffle deadline is midnight 9/15. You can purchase tickets online or mail-in but the deadline is September 15th no matter the method of submission. Drawing 9/20. Thank you to everyone participating, wish you could all win!
15th Anniversary Event
The 15th Anniversary Event is on October 1st, at the Double Tree Suites by Hilton at 2111 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove. And, showing how short of time we are, we will be almost into our 16th year at that point – official date of Feral Fixers’ creation is October 8th, 2007. We will also be over our 14,000th cat and well on our way towards 15,000! Event will be 12:30 – 4pm , with a Deli Board buffet from 1pm to 3pm, catered by Double Tree. Sign up by 9/25/23 – registration in advance, please. Hope to see you there!
Adoption Events 9/9 & 9/23
Depending on how adoptions progress we could have 20+ kittens at each event!
Saturday, 9/9, 11am to 3pm at the Downers Grove PetsMart in Finley Square Mall.
Saturday, 9/23, 11am to 3pm at our building, 330 Eisenhower Ln N, Lombard.
731 spay/neuters of cats and kittens. We brought in +/- 320 friendly cats & kittens. Some of these were previously neutered adults who decided to become friendly after being neutered. There have been approximately 300 adoptions, but still have 33 officially posted for adoption and many more in foster homes. We have helped many cats with injuries and conditions from simple upper respiratory to congenital defects the cats were born with. We have provided food for caretakers. Removed feral cats from inside homes when there was no other way to get them out. Seen the change in cats who were completely feral transitioning into loving lap cats. Relocated cats that could no longer stay where they were due to overpopulation or change of circumstances. You have helped us do so much! So much goes on behind the scenes beyond our reports of spay/neuter trips and you are all part of caring for the stray and feral cats of DuPage County!
What Can We Expect In 2023?
We continue to face the unknown. Who could have expected that across the nation, we are short 15,000 veterinarians? Who could have expected that our nation could be short millions of spay/neuter surgeries? So many different factors are affecting daily lives, it will be interesting to see the impact on cats outdoors, how many kittens will be born to these unneutered females still roaming that no one was able to get to. Prices have gone up for cat food, cat litter, gasoline to take them to appointments & adoptions, and on and on. What can we do? We can continue to get as many spay/neuter appointments as we possibly can and to FILL those appointments, making caretakers aware that they must contact us as soon as a cat is consistent in attendance. It is the ONLY way to lower costs in the future. Once those kittens arrive, we will care for them, using resources for current day expenses, not for preventing even greater expenditures in the future – that is unsustainable and returns us to the past when feral cats were euthanized regularly.
Trapping will resume around the end of March, beginning of April. Keep an eye out for ferals in your area, talk to your neighbors, help us help you to care for those cats.
What Can You Do?
The Amazon Smile donation in November, which covered purchases made between July 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022, came to $606.70. That means that our donors spent $121,340 in that time period and .5% was donated by Amazon Smile – Yay! Use AmazonSmile and designate Feral Fixers – could not be an easier way to raise funds!
Visit our wish lists at Amazon & Chewy – we always need food; canned food in particular goes fast when you are supporting so MANY kittens! Gift cards allow us to purchase what our greatest need at the time is – paper towels, bleach, laundry detergent, litter boxes – amazing the variety of things we purchase to keep going!
Spread our information to coworkers, family, social media – we have donors across the country! Cats have a ripple effect, they don’t stay in one place and affect wider resources than those on their street, in their town, in their county – even in their state! New people are volunteering with us due to sharing information, but we need more volunteers, many more. Trappers, transporters, cleaners in the building, animal care in the building, fosters, event volunteers, the list goes on. You tell us what you want to do to help, and we try to make that fit for both of our benefits!
Frosty Claws in 2023
We seem to be returning to some degree of normalcy. As a result, we will be holding our 2023 Frosty Claws on Sunday, January 15th from 12 noon to 4pm at the Villa Park VFW. We may have huge attendance that day because of skipping years, please be patient. This is an event for our caretakers, adopters, donors, to talk about cats and network with some fundraising and food. We are about to start assembling our Silent Auction and door prize items – we may not have as much “stuff” as in previous years – we will post items as they are created, as soon as we have a chance. We look forward to seeing everyone who can attend!
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.