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 #52 - May, 2014
In This Issue
Letter From the President
Ten Lives - A Feral Cat Odyssey
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!
Update on Illinois House Bill SB0648
Celebrate 7000 - a Purrfect Pot Luck!
Feral Fixers Wish Lists
Want to Help?
FIV+ cats and Shelters
Fosters are needed now!
Shop on ebay - Help Feral Fixers!
How many cats? - 6,344!!
Shop on Amazon - Help Feral Fixers!
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,

This is one jam-packed eNewsletter!  We've been busy, the entire TNR community has been busy, everybody has been busy, busy, busy!

In this issue's Letter from the President, Tammy talks about all the stories she accumulates as she goes about her work and relates a couple.  She also discusses the touchy subject of Spay/Abort, a practice that Feral Fixers reluctantly embraces.

We learn about a new TNR video out, Ten Lives - A Feral Cat Odyssey, which is well worth your time to watch and also the current status of Illinois Bill SB0648, a bad piece of legislation if there ever was one.

We have a new Partner, ResQThreads and new options to donate money to Feral Fixers via ebay and Feral Fixers also has WishLists posted at both and and this newsletter shows you how you can use these lists to donate items to Feral Fixers that we really need.

We also learn more about FIV+ cats and how they can safely co-exist with other cats in a community shelter.

Lots of other news too - we hope you enjoy reading. And thank you for supporting Feral Fixers and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and caring about the cats!


Feral Fixers
Letter From the President

Two of Our Stories

You can imagine that I have a lot of stories, tales of all the situations/people/places/cats that I encounter. It is not easy to distill the stories down into something that can be communicated in a few paragraphs but I want to tell one or two here.


Today we received a call from a woman who, as many are, was very guarded in what she would say at first. Wanted to know just what would happen to the cats. What did we do, if we came to help what was going to happen? After some questions, the story came out. They had been feeding cats for, had quite a few ferals and one, who they were pretty sure was only 7 months old, had given birth yesterday. What was a concern was that the cat still was walking like she was still pregnant, something may have been sticking out of her rear end and her abdomen seemed lumpy. These clues could go in many directions - she might not have been done giving birth (can take the course of 24 hours for some cats), she might not have been able to expel the afterbirth completely, she might have mastitis (infection in mammary glands could cause lumpiness). I assured the woman that the only way we would know anything or be able to plan the care of this cat was to see for ourselves. A bit more talking and she asked me to talk to her husband. Again, he wanted to know what was going to happen to their cats if we came because they had a neighbor that did not like the cats. I said we could talk to her and he said absolutely not, that for now, the neighbor was unsure as to just who was feeding and he wanted to keep it that way. What about county? County does not have the people or time to go looking for problems so the only inquiry would result from a complaint, I told him. He started to tell me how they had screwed up, not calling us sooner. I interrupted him and told him that looking at the past would do no one any good, that we would be working on the cats and moving forward and that was all that mattered. As we talked, I learned that there were 12 - 15 cats and several litters of kittens already born and several more pregnant cats. Already knowing how much they cared about the cats, I explained that we do spay/abort as there are already too many cats here, already born. He said he completely understood and was thankful. The cats all have names, they know who has had kittens, which will be a big help to us! He had tears in his voice as we said goodbye. So, the current plan is to try to get there tomorrow, figure out the status of the new mom, sort out who belongs to which kittens hopefully and who needs to go in for s/n immediately.


Ten days ago, we received a call from a woman who said she needed help getting the cats taken care of, she got our number from the woman she knows at Osco. Could we come help. Next day, a call from the same woman, she did not remember our 15 minute conversation. Two days later, call from the same woman, still not remembering the previous two conversations. She was already on our "roster" of plans for the coming week, her confusion made her more of priority. We had four of her cats before she started saying the cats could not come back. At the same time, her son who lives with her, said that we could do what we do, but he didn't want them back so he would shoot them if we returned them. We held off, I contacted the CSO, aldermen, city manager, chief of police, a sergeant later, the cats have been returned, the woman has been instructed to stop feeding and the son has been talked to. The area of this colony is literally awash in cats, they can go elsewhere for food = relocating would not be the solution, more cats would show up, the only option is no food at this house. In the course of this, turns out that the woman has called a trapper, not once but twice over the last ten years, to haul a dozen cats at a time away to be killed. She feeds, cannot handle the result and then does away with them. She clearly has dementia and the family unit is dysfunctional. We are very lucky to have the cooperation of this police department.


These two stories are such a stark contrast, but show the wide range of people and situations we deal with, the best we can.




I just touched on spay/abort in the tale above. Its been on my mind for some time that I needed to talk about it and it really is time, even if there might be negative reaction to it.


If we are to overcome cat overpopulation and euthanasia, we do not have the luxury of allowing every litter to be born. The only way we can look at it is to realize that kittens and cats that are alive and aware are being euthanized because there are just too many. There will never be enough homes for the volume of kittens that could be allowed to be born. There will never be enough shelter space for that volume and suffering will occur. Not deliberate cruelty, but the unyielding wait for a home for a large portion of their lives, day in and day out. Better to euthanize those that are not aware, have not been born and will not suffer. It is a heavy burden, one that we do not choose, but see no other way.


It is almost impossible to calculate with any certainty when a due date is in a cat. Ones that do not look pregnant at all have delivered six kittens overnight and ones that appear about to give birth wait another four weeks. Impossible.

If we waited for every litter to be born, then waited for the kittens to be five weeks old before sending the feral moms to be spayed, we would be inflicting more stress on the cats and reducing the chance of ever being successful in our goals. Every cat should have a home and be healthy and well-cared for. Until then, we neuter every cat we come in contact with.


A week ago, two different cats gave birth in my garage. I felt terrible, I had not done enough for these mothers, I had gotten to them too late and now, they had to go thru caring for these kittens for the next five weeks.


Now that these kittens are here tho, they will get the best care, we will do everything we can to keep them healthy and go on to find good homes, they are here and we will take care of them. To us, there is a clear line between not born yet and born/aware. I'm hoping that, even if you do not agree, you will understand that this is the best answer we have found for the situation we are in. To illustrate, a rough estimate would be that there have been about 100 spay/aborts so far this year. That would mean an additional 400 kittens minimum looking for foster homes and adoptive homes. The system simply cannot absorb that addition and there would be an equal number of cats that did not make it into homes and would have been euthanized.


Read more from our President. 

Ten Lives - A Feral Cat Odyssey

A new video about Feral Cats and Trap-Neuter-Return has recently been released by EarthViews Productions, Ten Lives - A Feral Cat Odyssey.

The Filmmaker describes it as: "TEN LIVES originally began as 9-Lives, a nine-part series of educational films on the humane management of feral cats produced by EarthVIews Productions for the San Francisco SPCA. As this series was distributed to animal shelters across the U.S., little of it reached the public. TEN LIVES utilized much of this educational material in a revamped format, along with original video and music score, to produce a contemporary portrait of the feral cat situation worldwide, concentrating not only on the issue, but on the tens of thousands of people who are dedicated to the humane management of feral cats through the highly effective TNR system, i.e., trap/neuter/return. The film was underwritten by grants from Friends of Animals, the American SPCA, and The Summerlee Foundation.

TEN LIVES is free to view on this website because it is essential that the negative myths about feral cats be revealed for what they truly are: myths! TEN LIVES will soon be available to all PBS stations across the United States free of charge."

Feral Fixers President Tammy McAuley has this to say about the film: "Every group and individual does TNR, cat care, etc. just a little differently but this is a wonderful overview of TNR and rescue and its local and global impact."

It's not a short film, nearly an hour in length, but is well worth your time.

We've also added a link to the film on our website. If you scroll down our website's Home page, on the left hand side you'll see a sub-menu entitled "Feral Cat Video" and underneath it a link to this film.

Highly, highly recommended...
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!
Update on Illinois House Bill SB0648

As detailed in this month's Letter to The President, a very destructive bill, SB0648, had been recently introduced to the Illinois House.  It has, fortunately, been Tabled thanks to the efforts of Illinois Representative Sara Feigenholtz.  More details about the status of this bill can be found in this article.

Feral Fixers, along with the rest of the Animal Welfare community, will be keeping a close eye on this bill to make sure that it is not resuscitated.
Celebrate 7000 - a Purrfect Pot Luck!

We want to celebrate our 7000th cat with the people who helped us to achieve our newest milestone!  

We are already at 6300+ cats and may very well get to 7000 by December of this year.  We've had brunches and dinners and wanted to try something very informal - a potluck!

For the Purrfect Pot Luck, we need your help.  Most rental facilities require that food be catered.  It would appear that churches and association club houses are exempt from this requirement.  So we need one of you, our public, to find us a church or club house with kitchen facilities that can hold (hopefully) about 200 people and has the parking to support that, along with being in the Villa Park, Addison, Elmhurst, Lombard area, where most of you live.  We will be happy to pay a fee, make a donation for the use.  We're hoping for the first or second weekend in December and need to plan now, well in advance!  

We've found that people are happiest, have the best time, in a place where they can relax, not dress up, and eat food that is simple and abundant, while socializing with other cat people!

So our needs are:
  • Hall that can hold 200+ people
  • Allows food to be brought in
  • Plenty of parking
  • Located in North - East DuPage County
  • Available beginning of December
  • Can book soon!  
Contact Tammy at 630-881-3977 or  Thank you!
Feral Fixers Wish Lists

Want to help Feral Fixers by purchasing something that we really could use?  Then check out our Wish Lists on and Amazon.  Both of them have many items listed that we would greatly appreciate and they are shipped directly to us!

This is a wonderful way to help Feral Fixers.  Many people prefer to support a charitable organization by purchasing items for them rather than sending them a donation and this is a way you can do so.

To find the Feral Fixers Wish List on, just go to their website and click on the Wish List link near the top, right-hand corner of the page.  Then enter the words "Feral Fixers" (without the quotation marks) into the box that says "Find Someone's Wish List" and hit Enter.  You'll then be presented with all of the items currently on that Feral Fixers would like to have.  Add the item(s) you wish to donate to your Shopping Cart in the normal manner and, when you pay for them, they'll be ordered and shipped directly to Feral Fixers!

And, if you order from the AmazonSmile website (see instructions elsewhere in this eNewsletter for instructions on how to do so), you'll help us in an additional way - you'll have donated one or more items to us AND 1/2% of your purchase price will also be additionally donated to Feral Fixers (this only applies to items that are so eligible - shown in the description of them item).

To find the Feral Fixers Wish List on, just go to their website and point to the Registry link at the top.  From the drop-down menu shown at that time, click on the Wish List link.  Enter "Feral" in the First Name Field and "Fixers" in the Last Name field (without the quotation marks) and click on the "Find" button.  You'll then see a table with one line item in it.  Click on the FERAL FIXERS line and you'll see our Wish List displayed.  Add the item(s) you wish to donate to your Shopping Cart in the normal manner and, when you pay for them, they'll be ordered and shipped directly to Feral Fixers!

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

Feral Fixers has partnered with the good folks at ResQThreads to help raise money for our efforts.

ResQThreads has an extensive line of "Apparel and Accessories in support of Animal Rescues".  Whenever you purchase anything from their website, $10 of the purchase price is donated to the Charity of your choice.  By designating Feral Fixers as your Charity, you can raise money for us simply by purchasing one or more of the very cool items displayed on their website.

Thank you ResQThreads!
FIV+ cats and Shelters

We'd like to mention a couple of very fine articles on keeping FIV+ cats in a mixed shelter population; one published recently and one published a year ago.

The recent one is from Felines & Canines, a Rescue organization located on the North Side of Chicago.  Money quote from the article: "For one entire day in January of 2014, we closed down the cat floor and tested over 100 cats for FeLV/FIV.  The results were truly astounding: after nearly two years of having FIV+ and FIV- cats living together, in a communal environment, not one cat tested positive for FIV who didn't come into the shelter that way."  Astounding, indeed and great ammunition when discussing FIV+ cats in general.

And, about a year ago at, Dorian Wagner wrote an article entitled Hey, Rescues: Practice What You Preach with FIV+ Cats.  This is an article challenging Rescues to not segregate FIV+ cats from the general cat population.  She thoroughly discusses the issue and also links to a number of other articles about FIV+ cats and the feline immunodeficiency virus.

With information from these two articles, you'll be well equipped to handle any debate on the subject.
Fosters are needed now!

Lenny is an absolute loving cat that happens to test positive for FIV.  He is unique in that he is the faintest postitive there could be, yet positive nonetheless.  He needs to get out and about in a house - he is a little reserved, being in a cage does not expose him to new experiences but once in your arms - he could wear out your chin with his chin rubs and neck hugs!  Lenny is under a year and a half, TNR'd and then came forward, wanting to come inside.  He had a condition that our vets rarely see - lung flukes.  They are a parasite that set up camp in the lungs = he had a cough and no other symptoms.  Treated with a dewormer, he's fine now.  Lenny has the glossiest fur and the sweetest temperament.  He's fine with other cats, more interested in humans and food!  There was a large dog that lived at his caretakers, so he knows dogs and can tolerate them.  He would be the cat that lays beside you as you work on the computer or watch television - and disappears when company comes - not one for loud noises and fuss!  Finding a foster for this guy has been difficult but he really deserves a chance as soon as possible and foster to adopt would suit him just fine!

We have several other FIV+ cats already in foster, please take a look at our Petfinder page - they are all so wonderful!

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!

And, do you remember Skeezix, the cat-in-Foster-care that has graced this eNewsletter for the past couple of issues?  Well, Skeezix went to a shelter and has finally been adopted into a fabulous home - Hooray!

Skeezix is just one example of a cat that found a forever home with the help of our Foster network.  Please consider fostering a cat (or two!) if you can.  Thank you!
Shop on ebay - Help Feral Fixers!

Did you know that some of your purchases on ebay can directly help Feral Fixers?  When a seller posts an item, they can designate a charity to donate a portion of the proceeds to.  Several people have done so for Feral Fixers.  When you purchase one or more of these items, a portion of the sale is donated directly to Feral Fixers!

You don't have to register anything, submit any coupons, fill out any forms, etc.  All you have to do is to purchase an item whose seller has designated Feral Fixers as their Charity of Choice.

If you follow this link, you can see all the items on ebay that have Feral Fixers as a designated charity.

Our thanks to those sellers who have so-designated Feral Fixers - your contributions are greatly appreciated!  And, if you are a seller and would like to start designating Feral Fixers as a Charity, instructions on how to do so are shown on the same page.

Thank you!
How many cats? - 6,344 !!

# of cats fixed

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.
Shop on Amazon - Help Feral Fixers!

Feral Fixers is now a designated charity on, the website which offers a gazillion items for sale.  A great many of these items have been designated eligible for "amazonsmile", a program that automatically donates 1/2% of the purchase price of the item to the charity of your choice.

Instead of signing on to, sign on to instead.  You'll then be able to designate a "Favorite charity".  Enter "Feral Fixers" where asked to and then Feral Fixers will be eligible for these donations.

In order for you to then purchase amazonsmile items, you will always need to sign in to  This is the same website you've always enjoyed - all of the products are still listed, but note that not every item on Amazon is "amazonsmile" eligible.  Items that are eligible are clearly designated as such in the description.

So, register Feral Fixers as your favorite charity and help us help the cats!

Thank you!
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


July 2, 2014 - Standard Market Fundraiser! On this date, 10% of all purchases at Standard Market (located at 333 E Ogden Avenue in Westmont) will be donated to Feral Fixers. Standard Market has a full line of delicious food and beverage items (check out their online Grill catalog here) and it's a great place to stock up for your Fourth of July Celebrations. No coupons to hand in, no forms to fill out, but you must mention "Feral Fixers" when you check out in order for us to be eligible for their donation. Check them out - you can even order online! You can download their event flyer here.

Other important dates 

June 14th & 15th, 2014 - Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club Pet Expo - Laura Magrini of Recycled2New will be hosting a table for us at this event - she will be raffling off a creation - not sure what it will be! to benefit Feral Fixers. Something very interesting - there are many people who have both cats and birds! Apparently, once a cat meets the beak on a Macaw, any potential for conflict is over! Stop in and visit with the birds and the other organizations that will be there that day!

June 21, 2014 - Shred4Rescues - Last year, Feral Fixers hosted a booth at this event, sponsored by the Citadel Information Management company. One of Citadel's services is the secure shredding of documents. For this event, Citadel donates a portion of what they receive for their shredding services on that day to various Animal Welfare groups (including Feral Fixers) as well as allow those groups to host a booth that can be visited by those people who bring their documents to Citadel to be shredded. This year, Feral Fixers has again been invited to host a booth and more details about this event will be posted when they are available (you can view their 2013 event flyer here).

July 19, 2014 - KRiSER'S All Natural and Organic Pet Food adoption event. KRiSER'S is hosting an adoption event on this date from 11am to 3pm and Feral Fixers has been invited to host a booth at their Glen Ellyn location (674 Roosevelt Road, next to Trader Joe's). More details will be posted when available.

September 20, 2014 - DuPage County Annual Fall Festival - The Friends of DuPage County Animal Care & Control produces this event each year on the grounds just outside their facility in Wheaton. It has tons of vendors and always draws a large crowd and, once again, Feral Fixers will be hosting a booth there. More details about this event will be posted when available.

September 28, 2014 - Barkapalooza! - This will be the eighth year in a row that Feral Fixers will have a booth at this really fun event. The West Suburban Humane Society hosts this event and each year it draws a very big crowd. More details about this event will be posted when available. 
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 Teddy Bear 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 Teddy Bear 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