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 #49 - December 2013 (#2)
In This Issue
Frosty Claws!
Letter from the President
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!
2013-2014 Holiday Card photo winner
Want to Help?
Foster are needed now!
How many cats? - 5,969!!
It's cold outside - build a winter cat shelter!
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,

It's winter again and you know what that means...
  • It's cold!
  • It's snowy!
  • It's time for Frosty Claws!
The sixth annual Frosty Claws is coming up fast and it promises to be the best one ever!  Details of this event are shown later on in this eNewsletter - don't forget to purchase your tickets by January 15th in order to qualify for the Early Bird Discount!

In her monthly Letter From the President, Tammy gives us her take on Monthly Donations (she supports them!), Frosty Claws, Technology, Feral cats turning friendly and a relatively new approach to handling the never-ending supply of kittens.

We also highlight our 2013-2014 Holiday Card Photo winner (and announce next year's contest), show the latest statistics for Feral Fixers (and another new yearly record), resources for building winter shelters for our feral friends and much, much more...

Thank you again for supporting Trap-Neuter-Return and Feral Fixers and Happy Holidays!


Feral Fixers
(Note: Clicking anywhere on the graphic, above, will send you to the PayPal page where you can purchase tickets - See you there!)
Letter from the President

Monthly Giving


Have you considered monthly giving to Feral Fixers? Without solicitation (nobody asked them to do this) three of our donors send us a donation each and every month. In addition to the much needed funds, it is a special feeling to know that we are in their thoughts every month as they send those donations in, and we cannot thank them enough!


Frosty Claws Silent Auction Items


If you have items that, while you no longer wish to keep it, but know others would value - or, okay, why would anyone have given you that expensive purple scarf? - consider donating it to our Frosty Claws Silent Auction. To be blunt, no used, gawdawful stuff that we couldn't even give away, but if there's a gift certificate that you, personally, will never use, jewelry (you never wear it), perfume still in the box (you're allergic for goodness' sake!) or a papier mache enormous cat that has been handed around to friends repeatedly (last year's hit), please let us know! If you, or people you know, have businesses and could donate services or products, cool! Please contact us by 1/10/14 so that we can make room in our Silent Auction! 630-881-3977, [email protected] - subject "Frosty Claws Silent Auction" or post on our Facebook.


And Speaking of Frosty Claws


We will most likely have the most jam-packed Frosty Claws ever. The VFW is so good to us, its hard to replace them! We're still looking but this year we will still be in our familiar surroundings. So hang your coat up, and join the party because this should be the most excellent Frosty Claws ever!


Technology Makes a Difference


I've been saying for years that we never could have made such a difference with TNR without the use of cell phones. Being responsive in an emergency, increased availability, getting problems solved in minutes instead of days because you can talk to five different people and reach a solution so quickly. Technology is also helping us to see just what animals are out there - it isn't just feral cats, but all of the other wildlife that has an impact on our neighborhoods. In the study below, highly populated areas were examined, but I hope that more suburban locations will be looked at and we can get a true estimation of just what feral cats DO when we aren't watching! Please take a look at this study.


Record Numbers of "Ferals" Turn "Friendly"


Feral Fixers has had a huge number of cats become friendly in the past year. Cats that have been outside for years are coming knocking on doors, newly neutered cats are making the change more quickly and older kittens, 4months+ are turning into purring, happy felines. The big indicator was when 5 torties and calicos, well past the age of turning easily, became major purr machines - if you didn't know, torties and calicos are notorious for being difficult to tame - quite the minds of their own usually.


I think that people are thinking about the cats more and are more willing to accept them as they are and the cats are responding. Once you give an animal (or person) permission to be themselves. without criticism, the walls can come down and everything improves. Animal communicators have helped me so much and I wanted to share this with you.


Despite the burdens of so many cats becoming adoptable, I hope it continues until the numbers outside are manageable. We will always have feral cats, but it would be great if there were a lot fewer!


As I said there are burdens associated with so many adoptable cats. Where do you put them? The shelters are full, the fosters you have are tired, there just isn't room! We're doing the first step, reducing the numbers coming in. Now those numbers have to be managed correctly. I want to tell you about a solution that is spreading around the country. Kitten Nurseries. They are a shelter specifically designed to support and care for kittens. They have to be staffed around the clock - all babies have emergencies in the middle of the night and kittens are no different. Volunteers work in shifts, feeding, cleaning, interacting and making these kittens the friendliest, most well-adjusted cats possible. Usually the kittens are broken down by ages - bottle babies in one room, 4 - 10 week olds in another and then the 10+ weeks, neutered, final stages of socialization in a 3rd - adoptable. My personal vision expands beyond this, but the basic 3 room model is spreading around the country. Fosters feel so alone when they are facing a kitten in crisis. Volunteering in a Kitten Nursery could give them the experience and confidence that they could then take home and use for fostering there - 'cause home fostering will still be needed! So many people cannot take kittens inside themselves, so many shelters are overrun all year long with kittens. So, those kittens stay outside, grow up, don't get neutered in time and go on to make more. This is the next step in managing those animals, removing them from uncontrolled conditions and shutting down the cat overpopulation problem. Here are some groups doing this ground-breaking work:


Utah Pets Kitten Nursery 


The Kitten Nursery of Williamstown, MI 


It may make some people uncomfortable, but it is time to look at the inevitable kittens as a crop to be managed. Too long shelters and individuals have been hoping there would not be a big kitten season - WHEN has that worked out? There's such a thing as disaster management - the onslaught of kittens every year is a disaster that needs to be managed and planned for until it is obsolete.


All of our supporters have helped us make great strides - the numbers of cats we have neutered is phenomenal! We ask for your continued assistance as we work towards the long-term resolution of feral cat overpopulation, cat overpopulation and reduce the rate of euthanasia in DuPage County!


See you at Frosty Claws but until then,


Happy Holidays!!!


(To see a full size picture of the snow-covered traps at Tammy's house or the Tortie in the Hammock, just click on the picture thumbnails.) 

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!
 2013-2014 Holiday card contest winner

Congratulations to Debbie Dolecki, the winner of the 2013-2014 Feral Fixers Holiday Card contest.  There were several really outstanding entries to this year's contest, the most ever, but Debbie's picture of "Smokey" was judged the winner and graced the 2013-2014 Feral Fixers Holiday Card sent to all of our friends and supporters.

The story of "Smokey" is;

Smokey has lived in Debbie's neighborhood for years - she suspects that he is a successful graduate of Feral Fixers' TNR program due to his tipped left ear.  He had kept his distance from her but would watch for her each morning and night as she put out food for him. This past summer, she would come closer and closer to his food bowl with the addition of throwing smelly fish treats to him.  They both received the payoff on the day when he hopped up in her lap for a head scratch as she enjoyed her morning coffee in the garden.

Congratulations again Debbie!

And, announcing our 2014-2015 contest, please consider sending in a submission for the upcoming competition.  There's lots of snow out there (and more on the way) and you should have plenty of opportunities.  There are no hard and fast rules for the submissions, but they should say "Feral Cat" and "Winter" to whoever views it.  And, please, send in the best quality image you have.  Images must be submitted by April 1st, 2014 to [email protected] to qualify.  Thank you!
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 [email protected].
Fosters are needed now!

Almost all of the shelters in DuPage County have one thing in common - they need more fosters!  Everyone has busy lives, resulting in fewer people able to foster, but it remains the one way to ensure that an adoption goes well - "proving" that a cat is well-adjusted and healthy - and, if not, just what that particular cat needs in a home to have the best life possible!
Fostering is a tough job.  Just when you have this cat(s) to the perfect, well-rounded stage, you have to give it to some strangers!  And, hopefully, do this over and over again - did we mention how many cats & kittens are friendly now?  It can be tough but it can also be very rewarding because you have truly made a difference in that cat's life, the life of the new family and your own life!  If it were easy, everybody would be doing it!

Large shelters have strict policies - kittens come back by a certain age, no if, ands or buts.  Our kittens may be with a foster for longer depending on how full shelters are, what the general economy is doing, so many factors.  We do have a number of "failed fosters" that keep the cats they have been caring for and then they have to quit fostering because they have reached their maximum body count.  One of the reasons that we are constantly in search of additional fosters - we keep filling the ones that we have!  Not our goal but a side effect!

So, until we stop kittens from arriving, we are going to need YOU!  We've made a huge difference, the cages at animal control stay empty longer and longer into the year and their euthanasia rate is going down!

Please, help us, help them!  You can look on our Facebook page and see cats that need fostering, some are doing really well and we are able to say they can be "fostered to adopt."  The alternative to fostering is putting cats back outside (friendlies make bad decisions and are at greater risk than ferals) or keeping cats in dog crates even tho they are ready for fostering and running around a house, just because there is nowhere for them to go.

Our fosters may be overwhelmed at times but there is nothing like knowing you've made a difference!  And, of course, that first purr when a cat/kitten accepts that this is a pretty good life!
How many cats? - 5,969 !!

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, in 2011, Feral Fixers had 1,024 cats spayed/neutered, and in 2012, Feral Fixers has had 1,231 cats spayed/neutered.  Finally, we've spayed/neutered 1,236 cats in 2013, the sixth year in a row where we've fixed more cats than in the previous year.

This brings us to a total of 5,969 cats. Clicking on the calculator will send you to the Feral Fixers 'Statistics' page where you can see our progress, month-by-month, since we've started work.
It's cold outside - build a winter cat shelter!

There are many websites which give information on building winter shelters for outdoor cats.  Below we mention a few of them.

This picture of a feral cat shelter is from the Neigborhood Cats website.  The shelter is made out of styrofoam and some other odds 'n ends and has an estimated cost of $15-$25.  Visit their website for information on building this and other types of cat shelters as well as a whole host of information about feral cats.

This picture of a feral cat shelter is from the Spay and Stay website.  It is made from two Rubbermaid (or similar) storage boxes and a few other bits and pieces.
Visit the Spay and Stay website for information on building this shelter as well as much more information about helping feral cats.

And finally, our friends at Alley Cat Allies have compiled an extensive list of shelters, divided into Pre-built / Easy / Moderate / Hard to build categories.  This is a good place for "one-stop shopping" for all of your Winter Cat-Shelter needs.

There are many more websites that contain plans on how to build feral cat shelters than we have listed here.  Just do a search on "feral cat shelters" or something similar and you will see a whole host of websites containing information on how to build these shelters.  You can also buy them ready-made from sources such as Alley Cat Allies or the Urban Cat League.  Help our feral friends this winter!
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 19, 2014 - Frosty Claws! - Feral Fixers will host its SIXTH annual Frosty Claws on this date at the VFW Hall located at 29 E St. Charles Road in Villa Park. More details are available elsewhere in this eNewsletter - MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW!

April 1, 2014 - This is the deadline for sending in entries for the 2014-2015 Holiday card contest.  Details about how to do this, along with announcing the 2013-2014 winner, are elsewhere in this eNewsletter.

April 6, 2014 - Shop4Strays - Feral Fixers will host another Shop4Strays event on this date at the VFW Hall located at 29 E St. Charles Road in Villa Park. More details will be posted soon. 
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 Holiday Ornament 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 Holiday Ornament or visit our website and click on the 'CafePress' 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 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