Practicing and promoting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in DuPage County, Illinois

We're a 501c3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and practicing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in DuPage County, Illinois. We believe that TNR is the only effective, humane and long-term solution to the problem of cat overpopulation.

The Feral Fixers e-Newsletter - Issue #11 - September, 2009

Feral Fixers celebrates its second birthday!

Two years ago, on September 8th, 2007, Feral Fixers processed its first ferals. When I go back and look at our records, I see that we brought in our first cats (26 that day) to the PAWS-Chicago Spay/Neuter clinic to be fixed on that day.

Two years later, Feral Fixers is very proud to say that we have had 1,152 cats fixed. That averages out to 48 cats per month. Take out the winter months when our 'production' is much lower, and the monthly number jumps even higher.

None of this would have been possible without our President and other Officers and Directors, our volunteers, our colony caretakers, those who have donated food, money and other items to us, those who attended our fundraisers and our partners. Thank you one and all...

On to year 3 and even more cats!

Message from the President...

TNR is the only option!

While more and more people are becoming aware of feral cats, it still seems to come as a shock to them when they learn the volume of kittens that can be produced! It is my personal theory that Kind-Hearted Cat Lovers have created the cat over-population situation. Let me explain.

In “the wild”, a litter of, say 4 kittens, would have a 50% mortality rate by the time the kittens were 4 weeks old. Then an additional 50% would die by the time they were 4 months old. Death can be due to predation, disease, unfortunate genetic mutation, or just too many kittens in the litter. Predation can be from coyotes, raccoons, dogs, cars, birds of prey and even tom cats have been known to eliminate the kittens fathered by another tom, somehow they seem to know. The mom cats cannot be with the kittens 24/7.

Disease can be as simple as flea infestation resulting in anemia. All kittens have some form of worms, some are healthy enough to handle it, while in others it can lead to death. Poor nutrition can result in an increased amount of upper respiratory and other ailments. If the colony has been reproducing at a fast pace and there have been no vaccinations administered, an entire colony can fall ill. Cats are prolific reproducers. Environmental factors can produce mutations and mistakes when the genes are synching up, resulting in tiny errors. Kittens grow really fast, too, and those tiny errors may not be a problem when the kitten is just born, but an insurmountable problem when they reach 4 months. Organs that are just not quite right can support a creature weighing a pound, but when that creature grows to 4 pounds it will fail. You may have heard of “fading kitten syndrome,” and this may be a cause.

A mom cat can give birth to 1 to 8 kittens. Colonies will increase production to match and exceed resources available. If everything works out right and none of the kittens die, it is the rare mom that can continue to support 8 kittens to weaning even if there is sufficient food. She would have to eat constantly and her body would give out, if not her milk supply. Somehow the moms know this and make a decision...

Read more about what our President, Tammy McAuley, has to say about why 'TNR is the only option! here.

Want to help?

Interested in helping Feral Fixers?  We are looking for a 'few good volunteers'!  Specifically, we're looking for someone to help us transport cats to and from PAWS (the Spay/Neuter clinic we use) in Chicago.  We need transport both in the morning and the afternoon.  If you're interested in helping, call us at (630) 881-FXRS (3977) or
email us at

Drop Traps

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Feral Fixers was recently able to purchase 3 Drop Traps.  These devices are perfect for trapping those wily cats who will just not enter a normal trap.  Though using a drop trap is a bit more labor-intensive (you have to be watching the trap, waiting to manually spring it), sometimes it's the only way to catch those really elusive ferals.

One of our super-volunteers, Laura, relates how she has been using one of our drop traps to help in her efforts:

"In this photo, the only cat not fixed is in the foreground. Hannah would not go near a regular trap though we tried off and on for about a month. Since I had just borrowed the drop trap from Tammy and was about to begin helping my neighbors trap, I decided to try it out on my colony. Hannah looked on as the other cats went under the drop trap to eat. She eventually joined them. One by one, the other cats decided to leave until only Hannah remained. I pulled the cord from inside my patio door. From Tammy's workshop and the lengthy instructions that came with the trap, I knew what to do. Since then I've trapped about 25 cats with the drop trap."

Thanks Laura!  If you think you need to use a drop trap to help in your TNR efforts, please email us ( or call us (630 881-3977) to inquire about borrowing one of ours.

(The picture is of some of the cats in Laura's colony - click on it to see a larger version).

How many cats?  1,152 !!

Feral Fixers was founded and incorporated in September, 2007.  In our first fiscal year (through September, 2008) Feral Fixers had 476 cats spay/neutered.  In our just-completed second fiscal year, Feral Fixers has had 676 more cats spay/neutered.

Feral Fixers is now on Facebook!

Feral Fixers is now on Facebook!  Our Secretary, Chris, has created a page for us and will be using it to update members as to what's currently going on with our organization.

And, since it's Facebook, it's yet another place for friends of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to hang out and meet like-minded people. So, come and join us - be our friend ☺ If you're already a member of Facebook, just key in "Feral Fixers" in the Search box at the top of your home page to find us.

Donate to Feral Fixers

Feral Fixers offers its TNR services to all colony caretakers, without charge.  While we ask for donations from colony caretakers, we recognize that for some of them, any additional cost is just too much.  Therefore we rely on donations from other individuals to make up the difference and allow us to continue our work.  These donations allow us to spay/neuter additional cats, keep a 'bank' of traps and trap dividers we loan out for free, hold workshops and provide other educational benefits.  You can help us continue our work by clicking on the Donate button, below.  This will take you to the PayPal website where you can donate to Feral Fixers via PayPal or Credit card.  Feral Fixers is a registered 501c3 charitable organization and any donation is deductible to the fullest amount allowed by law.  Any amount you care to donate is gratefully received.

Tough Love for Ferals

The Urban Cat League has produced a 3 part series showing how to tame Feral Kittens.  It's an excellent series and well worth watching, especially for anyone contemplating doing this difficult and time-consuming but ultimately rewarding job.  Socializing feral kittens is not for the faint-of-heart, nor should you attempt to do this unless you're willing to commit the time and effort to make your project a success.  These videos give an excellent overview of the entire process and will let you know what you're in for.

All of these videos are available on YouTube.  Click on the links, below to view them.



Calendar of Upcoming Feral Fixers Events

September 27, 2009 - We will have a booth at West Suburban Humane Society's Barkapalooza. This is our third year at this event - come by and see us!

October 3, 2009 - Pet Lovers Showcase in Wood Dale.  We will have a booth at this event and we hope you can come by and say hello.

January 17, 2010 - We will host our second annual Frosty Claws fundraiser. Everyone had a great time at our first Frosty Claws - make sure your calendars are marked for this day! More details will be posted when they are available.

Chrysler Corporation does the right thing

"Like other companies in the auto industry, Chrysler has been hit hard by the economic downturn.

But despite its financial problems, one Chrysler plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., decided to do the right thing for the 100 or so feral and stray cats living on its property.

The cat colony has called the plant home for 20 years. The plant is in the midst of shutting down operations and management was talking about just getting rid of the cats. Some concerned plant workers e-mailed Pam Laird, clinic director for All About Animals, a local nonprofit rescue group that provides low-cost spaying and neutering services and finds loving homes for homeless pets, asking if the group could help save the cats. Laird began calling Chrysler’s managers, asking them to allow All About Animals to come in and put a trap/neuter/return program in place..."

Read more about how Chrysler did right by its Ferals at the Best Friends website...

Shop for Feral Fixers!

Want to purchase something purr-fect for your cat-lover friends and help out Feral Fixers at the same time?  Just visit our Café Press store and Buy Something! In addition to the Teddy Bear shown to the right, we have T-shirts, Hoodies, Coffee Mugs, Pet food bowls, etc. A portion of each sale goes to help us in our TNR efforts. To visit the store, just click on the Teddy Bear or visit our website and click on the 'Want to Help? -> Buy Something' button at the top - Thank you!

Visit us on the Web!

Visit our website at  There you can donate to us (via PayPal or Credit card), visit our store, read the latest news, and learn more about Feral cats.  If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can also sign up to be on our mailing list so you don't miss a thing!

What is TNR (Trap / Neuter / Return)? TNR is a full management plan in which stray and feral cats already living outdoors in cities, towns, and rural areas are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized by veterinarians. When space is available, adoptable cats and kittens are transferred to sheltering organizations to be adopted into good homes. Healthy adult cats unsocialized to humans are returned to their familiar habitat under the lifelong care of their original caretakers.

Feral Fixers, NFP, is a certified 501c3 corporation - EIN Number 13-4364615