Feral Fixers Logo
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 #43 - January 2013
In This Issue
Letter From the President
Frosty Claws!
Want to Help?
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!
Working together to reach ZERO!
Every Rescue & Shelter Needs Fosters NOW!
West Chicago endorses TNR and Feral Fixers!
How many cats? - 4,730!!
Thank you P.A.W.S. !
TNR Break...
Article Headline
Donate to Feral Fixers
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Shop for Feral Fixers
Visit us on the Web
What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
About us
Dear Friend,

Happy New Year everyone!

Since it's the New Year, that can only mean one thing - Frosty Claws, our oldest and 'mostest favorite' fundraiser is just around the corner.

In this issue's Letter From the President, Feral Fixers president Tammy McAuley talks about this, the weather (and how that affects feral breeding), a workshop on TNR and kittens that she recently attended, etc.

You can also learn about another P.A.W.S. organization that we love, how Feral Fixers is helping DuPage County Animal Care & Control reduce the number of cats they have to euthanize for space, how you can help by being a foster, where we're at "with the numbers", the 2013 Holiday Card Photo Contest (and the winner of the 2012 contest) and much, much more...

Thank you again for all of your support and see you at Frosty Claws!.


Feral Fixers
Feral Fixers Logo
Letter From the President

Frosty Claws

Our biggest event of the year is coming up on January 20th! Frosty Claws is an opportunity for everyone to get together, socialize, share information and have a great time with like-minded people! We aren't limited to being a feral cat supporting community, but everyone at this event is supporting cats in general and see that TNR plays an enormous part in that.

We have some fundraisers going on, raffles, silent auction, our boutique (shirts, hats & cat stuff) and Recycled2New will be there. We will have lots of food & beverages. If you have questions about trapping or care of cats, our people will be on hand to help.

Silent auction donations have been pouring in - we have art, crafts, gift baskets and not one but three cat trees!


We are all wondering how the weather will affect the unneutered ferals this Spring. The warmer temperatures, lack of snow...their hormones are supposed to be governed by the angle of the sun, but the temperatures seem to play a part too.

We've gotten several calls from caretakers saying that their ferals are pregnant, which absolutely should not be happening yet. Used to be that we could say with great certainty that the cats had just put on a lot of winter weight. We don't want kittens born this early in the year with the possibility that Winter is still going to hit us really hard.

This is one of the reasons we work so hard to neuter as many cats as possible. Keep an eye on any new arrivals to your colony and help us get them neutered right away!

Taming Feral Kittens and Cats for Adoption Workshop

I recently attended a workshop presented by the NYC Feral Cat Initiative and Urban Cat League, hosted by The Anti-Cruelty Society and Tree House Humane Society at Anti-Cruelty in Chicago.

One of the most interesting parts of the workshop was the information on how age and hormones affect 'tameability'. You can get the same information at http://www.nycferalcat.org/info-kittenssoc.htm, you will find links to the videos we have on our home page and links to other resources - most of the information at the workshop came from Urban Cat League.

What impacts the possibility of taming? Age - beyond 5 - 8 weeks it is increasingly difficult to tame. Sex - Fight or Flight instinct develops quickly in females. Nature and Nurture - Genetics and Mom's opinion of humans (how recently in their bloodline did their ancestors interact positively with humans? does Mom tense up and run whenever humans appear). These are all reasons that we might tell a caretaker that it is "too late" for the kittens in their colony to be tame. The reasons that the females may never tame. The reasons that whole litters may never tame.

I had never seen the reasons for and against taming spelt out so clearly.
FOR: Reduce size of colony, improving community relations and making care more affordable for caretaker. There are available tamers/fosters/adopters for the cats and kittens.
AGAINST: Current location is safe, cats are well cared for. Tamers/fosters/adopters are non-existant or extremely limited. Big picture - every feral adopted takes a home, does that equal more euthanasia at animal control?

We get calls "I heard you guys take cats, can you come get this one?" "No, I've never touched it, but I'm sure it's friendly." "It's a kitten, it can't be more than 8 months old."

There are also some excellent tips on taming kittens and cats by letting the cats decide to approach you by limiting their access to food - it truly is the best and only way to change a kitten's behavior without using some level of force. It can take time and if you have to move more quickly in the taming process, there are other methods, but this way will result in happy, confident kittens.

Trapping Kittens

Caretakers (and Feral Fixers volunteers) are often on the fence as to whether to trap the mom first or the kittens first, should we trap the first kittens that show up? so many questions!


Urban Cat League's stance is to trap the mom first. She will disappear with the remaining kittens, otherwise. And we have seen that happen time after time. What is really novel is their advice to not take the first kittens that show up. Wait until all of the kittens are in the trap OR for the last ones to show up are in the trap. The last ones to show up are the most shy, hardest to trap, guaranteed to produce the next litters when they are old enough. The blog details using the "bottle on a string" idea to get multiple kittens in the same trap, in order to get the most cautious. I will be passing this on everywhere there are kittens from now on. It can take more patience but pay off big time in the long run, I think.

More To Feral Fixers Than TNR

I've said before that we are a shelter for the outside cats. This has been demonstrated this past year by the almost 400 kittens and friendlies that were placed in shelters or adopted from fosters. This has been shown by the number of calls we received about ferals who had upper respiratory or clearly had worms and we helped with their care. People have a dying feral and have nowhere to turn and call us. We helped with eye removals, wound care, leg amputations. What TNR organization does that as an automatic response to a need? We thank all of our donors for their help in making DuPage County a more humane, caring place to live that has more and more respect for the cats, not just the ferals, that live among us. 
Coin Purse
Woman with Resume 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 info@feralfixers.org.
Feral Fixers Logo Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!

Feral Fixers has a very active Facebook page.  You can go there and get the very latest information about what we are doing - sometimes even before it shows up on the blog!

Don't forget to "Like" us and the good karma will surely flow your way...

To find our Facebook page, click on the Facebook logo.

Thank you!
Working together to reach ZERO!
In the Fall issue of DuPage County's Animal Care & Control (DCAC&C) Head to Tails newsletter, there is a lead article on how close this organization is coming to never having to euthanize an animal solely due to lack of space.  DCAC&C reached this goal with dogs several years ago, but due to the much larger number of cats taken in, they have not been able to make the same claim about them.
DCAC&C is now closer than ever to meeting this goal.  From a high of 318 cats euthanized due to lack of space in 2008, they were down to only 5 (as of October) in 2012.  They attributed this continued progress to several factors, with TNR (and specifically Feral Fixers) getting a significant portion of the credit.  From the Newsletter:
"Trap-Neuter-Return - by providing trap neuter and release assistance to communities with feral cat populations within DuPage County, groups like Feral Fixers have helped to reduce the number of feral cats and litters of kittens coming into DCACC by almost half."

We are very happy to see these results and it's another validation of the importance of the work that Feral Fixers is doing.  Here's hoping for a big, fat ZERO in this category in 2013!

(You can read their entire newsletter here.)
Feral Fixers Logo
Fosters are needed NOW!

We talk to most of the shelters in the DuPage County area. There are fewer people fostering, yet we have more and more "friendlies" that need time in homes in order to find "forever" homes. The only way to get a cat into a shelter that will then adopt it out is to foster it first so that we can vouch for its behavior in a home. Even then, its a tough sale, the cats need to be neutered, up-to-date on all shots, be healthy - no sniffles! There are many borderline cats that could possibly be tamed, be happy in a home that have to be returned to the outside as there is simply nowhere to put them, even temporarily. We often ask caretakers to foster kittens themselves and that has worked out very well in many situations, but is not the answer for dozens of others - one reason is that the caretakers are actually allergic and this is how they get their cat fix, there's no way they can bring them inside.

The word seems to be out amongst the ferals - going inside, having a home, is a good deal and worth the effort! We need to come up with a similar number of foster homes in order to cope with the influx!

It is hard work. Takes a large part of your day for socializing, feeding, cleaning. But you can keep at the front of your mind - this cat will not be outside - this cat will never be short on food or care - this cat will not face the dangers from humans, cars and other animals. It is extremely worthwhile!

We began this just over five years ago. There are so many fewer kittens being born, things are better for cats all over DuPage County.

Please help us, help them!
Here are a few of 'our' cats that need fostering right now (click on the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version of the picture)...
This is Jenny. She was abandoned at a dog park with a kitten and we think they came from the same house. So scared that the staff at PAWS took no chances and would not handle her to examine her. She now turns upside down in your arms and gets so carried away kissing you that sometimes she nips - but not hard! She needs to be in a foster home so that she can learn to trust everyone, not just Tammy!
Kelly came from a hoarder house. He had been trapped, neutered and put in a cage in the dark basement for the last six months. He prefers to lay in his litter pan, as he feels safest there, but appreciates a hand just layed on his back. Everything is sensory overload to him right now. He was had fleas, has earmites that will be treated as soon as his ears can be touched without panic. He is a wonderful boy and well worth the time it will take to make him whole. 
Thank you so much, if you are reading this, you care.  Please pass on information about this enormous need to anyone you think can help.
Thank you.
West Chicago endorses TNR and Feral Fixers!

The City of West Chicago recently put out a Press Release recognizing the value of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and recommending that local residents contact Feral Fixers for assistance in taking care of their Feral Colonies.

From the Press Release:

"Many area communities have endorsed TNR and Feral Fixers, and have seen dramatic declines in the homeless cat population and the number of cats and kittens at local shelters. Under TNR, both stray cats and feral cats are humanely trapped, vaccinated against rabies and other diseases and neutered by veterinarians. While the cat is under anesthesia, the tip of its left ear is painlessly trimmed off. This "ear-tipping" is the universal sign of a feral cat that has been spayed or neutered. Kittens and tame cats are then available for adoption. Healthy feral cats are returned to their familiar habitat to live out their lives. TNR breaks the otherwise endless cycle of over-population."

Thank you West Chicago!

(You can read the entire press release here).
Feral Fixers Logo How many cats? - 4,730 !!

Feral Fixers was founded in September of 2007. In that abbreviated first year, Feral Fixers had 86 cats spayed / neutered. In 2008, Feral Fixers had 525 cats spayed / neutered and in 2009, Feral Fixers had 868 cats spayed / neutered. In 2010, Feral Fixers had 1,002 cats spayed / neutered and in 2011, Feral Fixers had 1,024 cats spayed/neutered.  Finally, in 2012, Feral Fixers has had 1,225 cats spayed/neutered

This brings us to a total of 4,730 cats. Clicking on the abacus will send you to the Feral Fixers 'Statistics' page where you can see our progress, month-by-month, since we've started work.
WWW Graphic
Thank you P.A.W.S. !
Fans of Feral Fixers know that we work with a high-volume spay/neuter clinic in Chicago known as PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) and that we absolutely love them.

But there is another P.A.W.S. organization that we love too - this is the People Assisting Wildlife Society, a student organization at Wheaton North High School. They have previously donated to Feral Fixers and now they have done it again! In October, they held a Pet Food Drive and donated the proceeds to Feral Fixers!

Lisa Schmalz, the sponsor of P.A.W.S. writes:

The P.A.W.S. Club at Wheaton North High School had a "pet supplies and pet food drive" yesterday. We collected a ton of items and we would like to donate them to Feral Fixers! I have already dropped off the supplies with Kurt Meyer in Elk Grove. He will be sharing the supplies with you soon. I have attached a few pictures of the kids who volunteered for this event. They are very proud of their volunteer work. : )

Thank you for doing what you do! We sincerely honor and appreciate everything! You are making a difference!!!

We are very grateful to P.A.W.S for their donation of canned and dry cat food, cat litter and paper towels!

(Photo thumbnails are from the collection drive - click on them to see a full-size version of the picture).
TNR Break...

From December 1st through February 28th, 2013, Feral Fixers will NOT be bringing in cats to PAWS for TNR.  We're doing this for three reasons; 1) We have a TON of paperwork we need to catch up on, 2) trapping cats in winter / cold-weather can be very dangerous to the cat and 3) we need a break!

But this doesn't mean that we're not going to be busy with Feral Fixers activities. People sometimes don't realize how much behind-the-scenes documentation and paperwork is necessary to make a 501c3 organization such as Feral Fixers a successful organization.  To list just a few activities that we'll be concentrating on beginning in December, we'll be updating our name & address database so that we can send out our Holiday cards, we'll be updating all of our donor/deposit information so that we can send out our Donation tax letters, we'll be updating our database of feral colonies so that we can more effectively plan our efforts in 2013 and beyond, we'll be planning our fifth annual Frosty Claws fundraiser, etc., etc., etc.

So, contact us in late February or early March with any ferals in your area that need to be fixed!
2013 Holiday Card Photo Contest!

As most of you know, each year, Feral Fixers sends out a Holiday Greeting card to everyone on our mailing list.

Beginning with the 2012 card, the picture on the card is chosen from entries made by you, our friends and supporters. While there is no monetary prize awarded for the winning entry, the winning photographer will be credited on the Holiday Card.

The picture should definitely say "winter" and "outdoor cat". A shelter would be nice, but is certainly not required. We can accept pictures in nearly any format as long as the resolution is acceptable.
And so we would like to recognize the winning picture for this past year's holiday card submitted by Ms. Julie Dannhauser.  Thank you Julie - this picture truly says "winter" and "outdoor cat"!

Please send your submissions to photocontest@feralfixers.org. The deadline for entering is April 15th, 2013.

Come on everyone - let's get creative!

(Picture thumbnail is of the winning picture - click on it to see a full-size version)
PayPal DonationDonate 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, above.  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 all donations are deductible to the fullest amount allowed by law.

We greatly appreciate any amount you can afford to give - Thank You!
Calendar of Upcoming Events 
January 15, 2013 - TNR Workshop! - Feral Fixers President Tammy McAuley will be conducting a TNR Workshop at the Naperville Area Humane Society. Details can be found in this flyer.  Registration is free but space is limited so sign-up now!
January 20, 2013 - FROSTY CLAWS! - This will be our fifth annual Frosty Claws - our oldest and most popular event. Details are shown earlier on in this eNewsletter!
April 21, 2013 - Shop4Strays! - Our yearly Bazaar is back and will be better than ever this year.  This event is still in the early planning stages and more details will be posted soon, so mark your calendars now!
May 18, 2013 - West Chicago BloomingFest! - This will be the second year that we have a booth at this street fair. It is a big event - lots of people, lots of things to see and do and lots of fun. We'll post our booth number when we have it - mark your calendars! 
Coin Purse 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 CafePress store and Buy Something! In addition to the Cookie Jar shown to the right, we have T-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, hoodies, mouse pads, gym bags, messenger bags, coffee mugs, tote-bags, pet food bowls, Pajamas etc. A portion of each sale goes to help us in our TNR efforts.

To visit the store, just click on the Cookie Jar or visit our website and click on the 'CafePress' button at the top - Thank you!
WWW Graphic Visit us on the Web 

Visit our website at www.feralfixers.org.  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 Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

TNR CatTNR 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