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 #63 - January, 2017
In This Issue
Letter From The President
Frosty Claws!
Have you seen our Adoptables?
Want to Help?
What's that clear slime lurking in the water bowl?
Feral Fixers Wish List
Feral cats and birds
Check out our Social Media!
Fosters are needed now!
Cats at Work
Winter Cat Care
Number 9,000!
How many cats? - 9,445!!
Shop on Amazon - Help Feral Fixers!
Event Calendar
Shop on CafePress - Help Feral Fixers!
Visit us on the Web
What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
About us
Dear Friend,

It is 2017 and with a new year comes new challenges.

But first of all, Frosty Claws is coming - our ninth year holding this event!  It's always packed and always a fun time.  Details are elsewhere in this newsletter including information on how you can get Early Bird prices for tickets (you can also find this information on our website

This is a jam-packed newsletter with articles on such subjects as TreeHouse Humane Society's Cats At Work program, finding out what that clear, slimy stuff is in your pet's waterbowl, an article about the 9,000th cat we had fixed, information on Winter Cat Care and Feral cats and birds.

There are also articles on our current list of Adoptable cats, our ongoing need for Fosters, our latest Event Calendar, our current tally of cats spayed/neutered and much, much more - a very full issue!

Thank you for reading and thank you for support of Feral Fixers!  See you at Frosty Claws!


Feral Fixers
Letter from the President

2017 is here!

We've had an incredible year! Another 1,000+ cats neutered, many locations resolved, so many kittens and friendlies have come inside to live out their lives, we will probably do 300 adoptions this year alone! We have done this despite a reduction in surgery availability and a doubling to tripling of our costs. We have done this with wonderful donors and supporters but with very few volunteers and very few fosters - come join us in 2017 as we strive to TNR as many as we can, as early as we can in the year, continuing our lasting impact on the ferals and strays in the DuPage area! And please continue to donate to keep the cats of DuPage County healthy and cared for!

Frosty Claws on January 15th!

This will be our NINTH Frosty Claws! Come join us at the Villa Park VFW on Sunday, January 15th from 12 noon to 4 PM for food, fun & prizes! Keep in mind that it might be crowded but you will not find another event like this one!

Volunteers for transporting stuff, setting up, tearing down, baking, helping during the event are more than welcome, we can use the help! Please contact Tammy at 630-881-3977 or with donations or volunteer offers! YOU are what makes this event so special - we look forward to seeing you on January 15th!!!

Time Is Precious And So Are The Cats

We may not have time to respond to all phone calls, send all the thank-you notes that we should, details can get missed, but we always respond when there are cats in need. From the tiny kittens in the window well, the feral with upper respiratory so bad that it is life-threatening, the cat that was seen dragging its leg, we respond as soon as we can, as best we can. We actually ran out of time this year to have our usual "As If They Were Our Own" fundraiser, there's only so much we can fit into a year! Despite that, we continued to care for those cats that had no one to provide funds to resolve their health issues. We also don't take pictures of cats that are in ill-health and questionable survivability until we know they are on the other side of their emergency - and often are so caught up in caring for the cats that pictures are the furthest thing from our minds! So, we're going to tell you about a few interventions from 2016, even if we don't have a lot of pictures!


"Q" kittens - these 5 kittens came to us at 5 weeks, doing well. Fall kittens often have more issues than other times of the year though. Soon, th ey all had varying degrees of  intestinal parasite, upper respiratory and viral illnesses. Three were hospitalized on fluids and close monitoring. We have lost three, but so far Quade and Quincy are doing well. Illness can strike kittens at any time, from a few weeks to 6 months, there is no predicting when and what and often siblings have the same illness tendencies. These kittens alone incurred expenses of $1,000+ at the vet.


Last January, we took in Chapman, an older friendly, estimated to be b e tween 10 and 14 years old. He was front paw declawed, emaciated, dehydrated, not well at all. He is in a foster home, recently  had a dental and a diagn osis of thyroid disease and is doing extremely well with his daily medication which is rubbed on his ears. He has claimed his spot on the couch and is totally fine with the other cats as long as they don't crowd his spot! It is not   only the funds for his medical needs but the long-term  care that we have provided for him to live in comfort and health.


Upton joined us last month, showed up as an already neutered friendly at a colony. He was in reasonably good shape and only required updating on vaccines, flea treatment and a snap test in order to be considered completely adoptable - that is a $100 expense that we encounter as a minimum for most adult, neutered friendlies we take in.

In the course of a year we facilitate dozens and dozens of treatments for the ferals who live outside, from a shot of Convenia (long acting antibiotic) for wounds and upper respiratory, housing for recovery from injuries from cars or other animals, the list is really too long! We do not demand payment from the caretakers of these cats (if they are even known), we ask for donations, but would never refuse treatment if treatment is possible. And if not possible, we help with that, too.

The economy is tougher, more people have heard of us, our expenses for health care have gone up, we appreciate so much all of the donations we have received in order to continue to care for the cats of DuPage County! Please tell your friends and family about the great work that we do and continue to support us as you have done so wonderfully for the past NINE years!

We thank our donors for making 2016 a rewarding year for the cats!

We look forward to 2017!

Have you seen our Adoptables?

Out of the more than 1,000 cats spayed/neutered in 2016 due to our efforts, there are going to be some adoptables - at least 400 in one year! We work with three main area shelters, West Suburban Humane Society, ADOPT Pet Shelter and Naperville Area Humane Society, and a few others that take cats when they can. We've found that in order to place these cats, Feral Fixers needs to do adoptions, too. We'd like to take a bit of space to introduce you to some of the cats we still have on hand at the end of the year. We totally believe that there is the right home for every cat, even if it takes a while for that home to show up.

Here are just two cats that need your special help in finding the right home. We may have cats that are also FIV+, older or have a special home environment need. If you are interested in hearing about others we might have, please contact us at and express your interest!

Waylon is an out-going, 1.5 year old, black male. He is an easy-going boy and gentle, loves to cuddle as well as play. He gets along well with the other cats and dogs in his foster home and would be a great family cat. He is FIV+ and, like two other males we have for adoption, Youssef and Pat, he did contract FIV during his escapades outside prior to being neutered and rescued. However, he is not exhibiting any symptoms and with good care, will likely live a long life.

As her name implies, Lady is a sweet and demure, 7-10 year old, black female. One of our older cats, similar to Upton and Milo, looking for a loving home to make the most of her remaining years. Lady loves calm interaction, gentle petting and laying in the sun. Her fur is soft and fluffy - like cotton candy, needing regular brushing to keep her cared for. Lady would love to move to a calm home with a gentle caregiver who can give her the love, attention and grooming she deserves. Could that be you? Lady does OK around other cats and dogs, but would prefer your attention.

You can find pictures and descriptions of all of our Adoptable cats as well as information on how you can learn more about them by clicking on the "Adoptable cats" link at the top of our website ( 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
What's that clear slime lurking in the water bowl?

Ever rub your fingers on the inside of your pet's water bowl and you feel a slippery slime of sorts?  Well, that invisible goo is called BioFilm.  BioFilm is a collection of organic and inorganic, living and dead materials collected on a surface.  It is made up of many different types of bacteria bound together in a thick substance that acts as a glue to both hold the bacteria together and adhere it to a surface.

Bad BioFilms have been found to be involved in a wide variety of microbial infections in the body such as urinary tract infections, middle ear infections and bladder infections.  Remember to always clean your pet's water bowl at least once a week!

(This information was originally found in an article on the DFW Pug Rescue Club web site.  You can view the original article here.
Feral Fixers Wish List

SPECIAL NOTE - We have recently updated our Wish List on this site.  If you haven't visited it recently, we invite you to do so again in the near future - Thank you!

Want to help Feral Fixers by purchasing something that we really could use?  Then check out our Wish List on Amazon.  It contains 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).

Thank you!

Feral cats and birds

Several months ago, National Geographic published an article about the cats on Jekyll Island, just off the coast of Georgia. Wildlife biologist Sonia Hernandez at the University of Georgia wanted to see whether the island's feral cats were preying on birds.

She was surprised by how few birds the cats were catching.

This article describes her research and has a short video showing the use of the KittyCam - a cat-mounted camera that she used to discover and document the types of prey that cats went after.

You can find the video here.
Feral Fixers Logo Check out our Social Media!

Feral Fixers has a very active Facebook page. Information is updated daily - sometimes hourly!  Find out what you can do, what we need, how you can have an impact on ferals, strays, cats in general!  "Like" us there and the good karma will surely flow your way...

Feral Fixers is also active on Twitter and, like our Facebook page, information is updated daily - sometimes hourly!  If you like tweets about cats and Feral Fixers, this is the place to be!

Visit our website at, an enormous resource about feral cats and what we do.  There you can donate to us (via PayPal or credit card), see the ways you can help Feral Fixers, our adoptable cats, the latest news, visit our store and learn more about feral cats.  Follow the "running total" of how many cats we've spayed/neutered, see the Upcoming Events, archived articles from the past and learn about our Friends and Partners and so much more!

There are links to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, ResQWalk - a smartphone app that tracks how far you've walked your pet or exercised (these miles accumulate for Feral Fixers to help us win money at the same time)!  And sign up for our mailing list so that you receive our email newsletters and stay informed!
Fosters are needed now!

We seem to have more kittens for this time of year than ever and at this time of year, fosters are winding down, have other activities to pursue, etc., so there's a huge imbalance between supply and demand!

We do our best to work with fosters but they need to:
  • Be in easy driving distance of Lombard - emergencies happen and being 45 minutes away, one way, is just not a good idea.
  • Have only one or few animals of their own - asking someone to take on 4 additional cats when they already have 4+ animals on hand could be a problem
  • Spend a reasonable amount of time at home - someone who travels or has long work days cannot sufficiently support the behavior modification that is sometimes necessary with young kittens
  • Be clear about expectations of us and ask plenty of questions!
In return, fosters receive so much love and affection from these cats and the knowledge that they are part of the pipeline of Rescue - getting them ready for their forever homes!

Please, help us help them!

Cats at Work
Our good friends at the Treehouse Humane Society have created an innovative program called "Cats at Work" to help out feral cats and those homeowners and businesses that have rodent problem. From their website: Common methods used to control the rat problem include poison and traps which are ineffective, short-term solutions, and come with health concerns. Enter the cats! By nature, cats are predators - hunting is one of the things they love to do. Launched in 2011, "Tree House's Cats at Work program provides "environmentally-friendly" rodent control." stated Liz Houtz, Tree House Community Cats Manager. We remove feral cats from life-threatening situations and relocate them to new territories where their presence alone helps control the rodent population. The cats provide a reliable, ongoing solution, making it a win-win-win for humans, cats, and the environment!

Plus, a heartwarming added benefit is the wonderful relationships people form with these amazing and resilient animals. The Cats at Work program is the only hope that many displaced, feral community cats have at finding a safe, secure location where they can live out the rest of their lives! Without Cats at Work, many feral community cats might otherwise be euthanized, die, or suffer from illness, injury, or malnourishment.

If you visit their webpage, you will see several articles about the Cats at Work program including a report about it on CNN and (if you are a subscriber), read an article about it in the Wall Street Journal.
Winter Cat Care
As the recent weather has reminded us, winter is here! And feral cats need extra care to help protect them in these conditions. There are several websites that contain excellent information about how to help the feral cats make it through the weather. Some of our favorites are:

Alley Cat Allies

Neighborhood Cats

SpayAndStay (While the information on the web page about the 2016 Shelter building workshop is obviously no longer applicable, the rest of the web page gives instructions about building winter shelters).


From the ASPCA website: Why Shelters? While cats are often great about finding shelter on their own, this can lead them to places that might be dangerous for them (warm car engines) or areas where the property owners don't want them (basements, boiler rooms. Other times, there's just no sufficient option for them. These are all reasons providing an insulated shelter (if you have the property ownership or permission) is a great idea for community cats in cold climates...Why Food and Water? Feeding a measured amount of food is a key to responsibly managing feral cat colonies and this doesn't change in the winter! What does change is that everything freezes quickly!

Yes, everything can freeze quickly. In addition to the websites mentioned above, TorontoStreetCats has an excellent article about how you can make a Do-It-Yourself Water Bowl Warmer for your outdoor furry friends. If you are unable to run electricity out to your feeding station for an electric bowl warmer, this DIY project might be just the ticket. You can find it here.
Number 9,000!

On Thursday, September 1st, 2016 Feral Fixers had its 9,000th cat spayed/neutered, a brown tabby, Athena (only now to be referred to as Athens because she was a boy  ). Most of our milestone cats have been older - more what people think of as a feral. Athens is typical in that we are not seeing as many older cats this year - still technically a kitten, probably 6 months old and unwilling to become friendly. We held onto him after trapping, prior to surgery for more than ten days, but he had no interest in interaction. He can go back to his colony and will do well. Strangely enough, several of the milestone cats have gone on to become friendly after going back - is it being in the spotlight for that short time?

We thought we would be done doing TNR long before this, now #10,000 is in sight! Thank you all for your support! We couldn't do it without you!

There are so many people to say "Thank You" to.

To all the volunteers, feral cat caretakers and fosters, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't have done it without you!" To the awesomely wonderful people at PAWS, the fabulous organization that has spayed/neutered at least 99% of our cats, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't have done it without you!" To the people at Glen Ellyn Animal Hospital, who take care of our "special needs" cats at a very favorable rate, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't do it without you! To the officers and directors of Feral Fixers, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't have done it without you!" To Tammy's two "right hand men", Sue Lee and Judy Walker, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't have done it with you!"

And to all of our donors and supporters, we say "THANK YOU - We couldn't have done it without you!".
How many cats? - 9,445!!

# of cats fixed

Clicking on the Computer monitor 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!
Event Calendar  
January 15th, 2017 - Frosty Claws! - This will be our NINTH annual Frosty Claws event and it's never too soon to start planning for it! It will again be held at the Villa Park VFW 2801 located at 39 E St. Charles Road in Villa Park. Hours will be from 12noon to 4pm. You can already purchase your 'Early Bird' tickets here for only $10 - $5 less than they will be at the door.  Visit our website for details.

January 21, 2017 - PetSmart - Feral Fixers will be hosting an adoption event at the PetSmart located at 63 Rice Lake Square in Wheaton from 11am to 3pm. All of our cats/kittens are in Foster homes, are spayed/neutered, current on their vaccinations, microchipped, dewormed and FeLV/FIV tested. If you would like to get pre-approved for same-day adoption, please email us (by Thursday, January 19) at You can see all of our adoptable cats by clicking on the Adoptable Cats link at the top of our website.

April 1, 2017 - Last day to enter photos for the 2017-2018 Feral Fixers Holiday Card Contest! - Don't forget to snap some pictures of your ferals in the snow for our 2017-2018 Holiday Card Photo Contest! Looks like we may have plenty of snow this winter and you should have plenty of opportunity to capture your ferals' beauty in the snow! Judging based on snow, evident eartip, photo clarity, in order to grace our Holiday Card next year! Ferals are beautiful, capture their image! We'll share their story with others who love ferals! This will be the sixth year we've held this Holiday card contest. Photos should be mailed to

April 30, 2017 - Kitten Shower! - Feral Fixers will host its second annual Kitten Shower event on this date. Last year's event was very successful and lots of fun, so we're going to build on it this year. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

October, 2017 - Lynfred Winery - Feral Fixers named "Charity of the Month for October 2017 at Lynfred Winery's Roselle and Wheeling locations. Lynfred is a non-tipping facility, however customers often wish to leave tips in appreciation of the friendly service they receive. Building on the tradition of community involvement and advocacy established by Lynfred founder, Fred Koehler, the winery has decided to donate their tips to a different local charity each month." (More details to follow)
Shop on CafePress - Help 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 Can Insulator shown to the right (perfect for keeping your drinks cold), we have T-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, mouse pads, gym bags, messenger bags, coffee mugs, tote-bags, pet food bowls, Pajamas and much, much more! A portion of each sale goes to help us in our TNR efforts.

To visit the store, just click on the picture of the Can Insulator 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