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 # 68 - Holiday Season 2018-2019
In This Issue
Letter from the President
Frosty Claws
TNR in Idaho Falls
Happy Holidays from Noelle!
How many cats? - 10,971!!
Odds 'n Ends...
DuPage County Animal Services Mobile Spay Unit
2019-2020 Holiday Card Contest!
Winter Cat Care
Check out our Social Media!
Want to Help?
Special Accommodations needed
The story of Zhao
Have you seen our Adoptables?
Does your child love animals?
Event Calendar
Shop on Amazon - Help Feral Fixers!
Shop on CafePress - Help Feral Fixers!
Visit us on the Web
What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
About us
Dear Friend,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Holiday newsletter from Feral Fixers!

You are receiving this newsletter from us because you have donated to us before, or perhaps we have helped you with your feral  cats or perhaps you have signed up for our mailing list. Whatever the reason, you have shown yourself to be a friend of feral cats  and for that we sincerely thank you. But before we go any further...

Frosty Claws is nearly here! Our eleventh annual Frosty Claws Fundraiser is coming soon - information about the event and how to purchase discounted Early Bird tickets is elsewhere in this newsletter.

This is, once again, a jam-packed issue. There is our Letter from the President, an article about Trap-Neuter-Return in Idaho Falls, an article on Winter Cat care, information about a class your children can take at the DuPage County Animal Services to learn how to help animals, the Story of Zhao, the Story of Noelle, etc. etc. etc.

There is also a calendar of upcoming Feral Fixers Events, a chart showing how many cats (10,971!) Feral fixers has had spayed/neutered since its inception, ways to help us by shopping on Amazon or CafePress and much, much more!

Thank you again for caring about the cats.


Feral Fixers

(Note - you can see a full-size picture of any of the picture thumbnails in this newsletter just by clicking on them.)
Letter from the President

As you can imagine, as the calendar rolls by, conflicting emotions are produced. Here it is already December and we have so much more to do! December, we can take a little break! While we cease neutering ferals because of the cold, etc., there is the rush to neuter all the kittens still on hand - which we have done! December is the time for our Holiday Card, our print newsletter, preparing for Frosty Claws, catching up on all the things there has not been time for all year, increased adoptions, more calls about ferals that are sick or injured and need intervention, other than s/n.

2018 has been a really tough year, fewer volunteers, movement in key positions in the organization, we're all getting older and that has new responsibilities and time pressures for each of us. We have been unable to find the right location for our building as of yet, unexpected roadblocks, and again, time constraints as we still have all the original responsibilities to manage.

But 2018 has been a great year too. We neutered 654 cats, the overlap between caretakers is resulting in colonies being neutered more completely, we don't have to go to Chicago for all our s/n - DuPage County Animal Services has stepped up in a vital way, ADOPT Pet Shelter has done a huge number of surgeries for us. Residents are much more willing to shoulder the responsibility of fostering kittens and adults themselves, working with us to get them adopted. DuPage County Animal Services will schedule appointments with caretakers to neuter ferals, release them back to caretakers. Feral Fixers is being acknowledged and respected for our work, more and more.

Donation of a "new to us" vehicle, which has enabled us to use fewer vehicles to make a trip for s/n or to increase the number of clinic trips in one day. Rescue Bank, a nation-wide organization, has been helpful with food donations as well as connecting with vendors for other supplies that are a huge benefit.

We've ended the year with several trips in December for s/n. On 12/6 we sent 17 friendlies to ADOPT, 8 males and 9 females. On 12/12, a friendly male popped up, no other solution, ADOPT squeezed him in at the last minute. On 12/13, we sent 9 cats to ADOPT. 4 ferals - two that had been held onto in hopes they were going to be friendly, a cat that was allowed in/out, a mom cat that was finally ready for spay, 5 friendlies - the last of the kittens! Of those, 6 were female and 3 were male. This brings us to 27 for December, 654 for 2018 and 10,971 since our beginning in 2007! Many thanks to Debbie, Dedra and Charli for transporting!

Join us at Frosty Claws!

We are working on Frosty Claws - our 11th annual - join us on January 20th at the Villa Park VFW, 39 E St. Charles Rd, Villa Park, from 12 noon to 4PM. Huge number of cat-friendly people, lots of fun, lots of food, a great time is had by all! We will have Silent Auction, door prize raffle, stick raffle, our boutique - great stuff! Many people love to participate by donating gifts - please keep in mind that it should be items that are new, collectible, handmade - we've had an antique toboggan, wall hangings, a Lake Michigan sailboat trip, Chicago Blackhawks tickets, cat shelters, quilts, you name it! Can't re-gift to family members? Gift cards that you cannot use? Make handmade prize-winning pottery? We've received some surprising things that our attendees have loved! Please contact Tammy at or call 630-881-3977 about donations. Still wanting to bake after the holidays? Please contact Sue at 630-661-8509 if you would like to share your special recipes with an appreciative crowd!  

If you would like to volunteer for Frosty Claws, help set-up, transport, help during the event, clean-up at the end of the day, please contact Tammy 630-881-3977. Many hands make light work!

Thank you all for all the gifts we have received in 2018 and wish you a GREAT NEW YEAR!

Please donate - thank you!

Idaho Falls using Trap-Neuter-Return to help become No-Kill

This is a very good article ( on how the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter has implemented Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). Money quote from the article: "Carissa Hernandez, community cat program coordinator for the shelter, said neutering and releasing cats has done more to manage the population than euthanasia..."We have been trapping and euthanizing cats for years, and we've only seen an increase in population," Hernandez said.

Feral Fixers President Tammy McAuley notes that " There are many ways of doing TNR.  The TNR people in Idaho Falls seem to do TNR year-round and do not seem to work directly with caretakers but instead go out and trap wherever they find cats.  Judging from their numbers, it is still very effective, they've had a huge impact in a short period of time as evidenced by the euthanasia numbers at their municipal shelter."
Happy Holidays!

My name is Noelle and last Christmas Eve I was found outside, homeless and crying with frost bitten paws. Thanks to Feral Fixers, I was rescued and given all the medical care I needed. After all my wounds were healed and I spent some time in foster care, I was adopted by my family who has four kids and another kitty. Now I'm warm and cozy and have plenty to eat.

Do you have room in your heart and home to adopt a new kitten or cat? If so, contact Feral Fixers for more information - or 630-881-7459.
How many cats? - 10,971!!

# 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.

Every one of our caretakers and volunteers has the ability to fundraise for Feral Fixers.   Just tell your story and see what happens!

Here's our "new" Transit being fully used for our last feral trip to DuPage County Animal Services. We sent 27 cats in one vehicle in one trip!

When you volunteer to transport for spay/neuter trips, this is what your vehicle could look like!

DuPage County Animal Services Mobile spay unit

A few months ago, DuPage County Animal Services (DCAS) put their new Mobile spay unit into service. This wonderful unit will help further reduce the number of unwanted dog and cat pregnancies throughout DuPage County.

Even more important, DCAS has offered these services to Feral Fixers to help us in our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) efforts. Since our first spay/neuter trip to them on June 14th, they have performed 124 spay/neuters for Feral Fixers. In addition to helping out with TNR in general, this has also been a boon to our transport volunteers - it is a lot easier to bring cats to be spayed/neutered to the DCAS parking lot (where the mobile unit is normally kept) than to our good friends at PAWS - an hours drive away.

Naperville News has posted a very nice 2+ minute video about the van - and Feral cats are mentioned twice! You can view this video by clicking on the picture, above. This link will take you to the page with the news story and the video.

Thank you DCAS!  
2019-2020 Holiday Card Contest!

As many 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 was 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.

And so we would like to recognize the winning picture for this year's holiday card submitted by Carlen Sellers & Mark Kipperman.

We encourage you to submit your own photos of outdoor cats in winter. 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.

Thank you Carlen & Mark - this picture of "Ginger" truly says "winter" and "outdoor cat"!

Please send your submissions to The deadline for entering is April 15, 2019.
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:

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.

Another way to keep water from freezing overnight in winter is to copy an old trick used by horse owners to keep buckets of water out in the pasture from freezing. Take an old black tire (that's off its rim) and fill it with rocks. Then tightly wedge a large bucket in the tire's hole and fill with water. During the day, the tire absorbs sunlight and heats the rocks stuffed inside. The rocks in turn radiate heat and keep the water from freezing overnight. You can learn more about this and other ways to keep water from freezing at night from the Neighborhood cats website -  
Check out our Social Media!

Please visit our website at There you can donate to us (via PayPal or credit card), find out about all the ways you can help Feral Fixers, visit our store, read the latest news, and learn more about feral cats. You can see our list of Adoptable cats, follow the 'running total' of how many cats we've had spayed/neutered, see the current list of Upcoming Events, check out past years Archived articles, read about our Friends and Partners, sign up for our mailing list and much, much more!

We also have very active Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. From these pages, you can get the latest information about what we are doing - often before it shows up on the blog! Links for all of these pages are on our website home page. And don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook and the good karma will surely flow your way- Thank you!
Want to help?

Interested in helping Feral Fixers? We are looking for a 'few good volunteers'! Specifically, we need transporters, fosters, people to do laundry, scrub traps and cages, and help with spay/neuter trips and recovery.

We need transport help both in the morning and the afternoon. If you're interested in helping, call us at (630) 881-7459 or click on the Want to Help? link near the top of our website
Special Accommodations Needed!

The friendly adult cats we rescue often present our biggest challenges. Since most of our foster homes have resident cats, introducing an adult cat into that environment is much more difficult than kittens. The situation is intensified when the rescued cat is not particularly fond of other cats or a bit "rough around the edges" from their prior life outdoors.

Focus on Cerena & Evian - These girls were both rescued in 2018 at ~2 yrs of age. They are super friendly with people, love attention, and will purr loudly when petted. But they are also very high energy, like to rough house, and are used to life outdoors, where they had plenty of room to run. Having learned to fend for themselves, both girls have strong and independent personalities and do not want other cats around.

We are trying to find the right accommodations for Cerena & Evian. They currently have their own room in different foster homes, but they clearly need more space and a more
permanent arrangement. Adoption into traditional home situations does not seem to be the answer. A safe and heated warehouse, office, business or other indoor public facility may be the right answer,   where they can be the sole cat, have plenty of safe space to run, and get lots of human attention.

Do you have or know of any such accommodations where they would like a furry friend to keep them company? If so, we would love to hear about it, and introduce you to Cerena or Evian. In the right situation, either girl is sure to bring their people lots of joy with very little effort. Can you help us help them and make room for more friendly adults in our foster homes?
Zhao - Into A Loving Home

On Tuesday, October 30th we received an email from AntiCruelty that they had one of our cats that had been surrendered to them. The man was moving back home - out of the country. We picked him up on November 2nd - first opportunity.

Originally named Trig, he was adopted thru Carriage Animal Clinic - we had an agreement for a short time that they would house and adopt out some of our kittens. This was in early 2013. Last year, the adopter also had to return home - out of the country and did not notify us but gave him to her friend who had no idea the cat had come from Feral Fixers. He spent 4 years with one adopter and then a year with another before going to AntiCruelty. His name at surrender was given as Zhan Zhao so we began calling him Zhao, pronouncing it "Chow." He was so shell-shocked, hunkering down in his donut bed, frantic when picked up, splaying all four legs out but never violent to me - yes, he was fostered in a crate in my basement until he could relax and we knew his health situation for sure. The air is dry and it's a little on the chilly side in the basement so of course he immediately got a runny nose. Vaporizer did help but found out that he finds being medicated to be an extreme form of torture but we muddled thru the antibiotics. He wasn't eating much but found that Solid Gold Tuna was acceptable, needing to be pushed out of the bowl. He showed up as a 12.5 lb solid mass, losing fur like crazy and within 3 weeks had loosened up to a normal body feel and his coat had become luxurious. He also fell in love with his sparkly ball toy and I found he liked to play volleyball, batting it back when tossed at him. Happy paws all the time on the donut bed and clinging as hard as possible when held and chin rubs were the best thing you could do for him. But cats were not meant to be held belly up, that could induce immediate terror!

West Suburban Humane Society had space to intake a couple of adults and I knew he would get more attention and come out of his shell even more there, so he went to WSHS on December 13th. In just a matter of days, he was moved out to the cattery and he was so brave out there! Within days of the move, his new adopters found him, to take him on to his final loving home! He has had such a journey and so many people played a part, Anticruelty for contacting us, Laura who transported him, our donors who give us the resources to care for cats, no matter what their situation and to West Suburban for finding homes for our wonderful cats - thank you to everyone!"
Have you seen our Adoptables?
Thanks to an excellent network of foster homes, who do a terrific job of socializing the many kittens and friendly adult cats we rescue, and numerous volunteers who help with our adoption events, we had another successful year of adoptions in 2018. It looks like we will close out the year with ~295 adoptions, contributing to a total of ~1500 adoptions since Feral Fixers acquired its IL shelter license in 2013.

While there are many heartwarming adoption stories, there are a few wonderful kittens who were rescued in the spring and are still waiting to find their forever homes. These kittens are teenagers now (>6 months old), but still energetic, playful and every bit "kitten". It is actually a bonus that they are past the baby kitten phase, as they are done climbing the drapes and your legs! Let's turn the spotlight on 2 delightful pairs of teenagers. Could you or someone you know give them the forever home they have been waiting for?

Baxter & Breezy - This stunning black & white brother/sister pair were rescued in July. They are being fostered in a home in Willowbrook with other cats and large dogs, and happily interact with all of them. They are playful and active and their antics will make you smile. Once you have won their trust, Baxter will happily sprawl out on your chest and Breezy will curl up next to you.  

Allegro & Alto - This sleek black brother/sister pair were rescued in August. Allegro has medium length fur, while Alto's is short. They are being fostered in a home in Glendale Heights with other cats, and happily interact with all of them. Allegro and Alto are playful and active, but also enjoy cuddle time with their foster mom, jumping up on to her lap. When content, their purr motors can be heard across the room.

If you are interested in either of these pairs or any of our other Adoptables (which you can see here), please email us at - thank you!
Does your child love animals?
So often we are asked what children can do to volunteer for Feral Fixers.   While fostering with their families is an obvious answer, sometimes that is not possible.   We direct them to the programs at DuPage County Animal Services, where they can have animal interaction and learn so much!   DCAS has a new program - check it out at

FUR BUDDIES (AGES 10-13) - Dates Jan. 15, 22, 29/ Feb. 5, 12, 19

Does your child love animals? Do they want to be actively involved in helping animals but are too young to volunteer? Fur Buddies might be the right fit for them! Kids will leave Fur Buddies with a strong understanding of responsible pet care, animal safety, animal health, and will feel empowered to make the world a better place!

Each session of Fur Buddies consists of six 60 minute lessons and runs on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30 during fall and spring semesters. The registration fee is $100 per student. Registration must be completed at least two days prior to the start of the program. A registration form and waiver (found on the right side of this page) can be downloaded and returned in person or mailed to 120 N. County Farm Rd. Wheaton, IL 60187. Attn: Education Department. Credit card payments only. If the registration form is submitted via mail a staff member will call to process payment before the start of the program.
Event Calendar

(Note: Please check the Event Calendar on our website for all the latest information about upcoming events.)

January 13, 2019 - 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 Friday end-of-day, January 11) at You can see all of our adoptable cats by clicking on the Adoptable Cats link at the top of our website.

January 20, 2019 - Frosty Claws! - Feral Fixers will be hosting its ELEVENTH annual Frosty Claws Fundraiser on January 20th, 2019. This event is our longest-running one and is always lots of fun and very well attended. More details, including how to register in advance (and save $5.00!) by purchasing Early Bird tickets can be found elsewhere in this Newsletter.

January 26, 2019 - Pet Supplies Plus - Feral Fixers will be hosting an adoption event at the Pet Supplies Plus located at 720 E Ogden Ave in Naperville 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 Friday noon, January 25) at You can see all of our adoptable cats by clicking on the Adoptable Cats link at the top of our website.

February 9, 2019 - 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 Friday noon, February 8) at You can see all of our adoptable cats by clicking on the Adoptable Cats link at the top of our website.

February 24, 2019 - PetSmartCharities Adoption Event!! - 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 Friday end-of-day, February 22) at You can see all of our adoptable cats by clicking on the Adoptable Cats link at the top of our website.

March 16, 2019 - El Famous Burrito Fundraiser! Feral Fixers is hosting another fundraising dinner at the El Famous Burrito restaurant located at 256 W Roosevelt Rd in Lombard. Pre-register and then come and eat any time that day (10am to 9pm) and El Famous Burrito will donate 20% of your purchase price to Feral Fixers! We held this event last year and it was very popular! Please preregister for your meal here so we have an idea of how many people are coming and don't forget to mention Feral Fixers when you are seated and paying for your meal. We'll see you there!
April 7, 2019 - Kitten Shower! - Our fourth annual Kitten Shower will be held at the Villa Park VFW (39 E St. Charles Rd in Villa Park) on this date. More details will be posted when available - Mark your Calendars!

April 15, 2019 This is the deadline for sending in entries for the 2019-2020 Holiday card contest. Details about how to do this, along with announcing the 2018-2019 winner, are elsewhere in this newsletter.

April 27, 2019 - The Human Race! - Feral Fixers will be again participating in The Human Race, a DuPage County-wide fundraising event. People who participated last year reported having a great time. More details, including how to register, how to set up or participate as part of a team and how to donate will be posted soon - Mark your calendars now!
Shop on Amazon - Help Feral Fixers!, the website which offers a gazillions items sale, now makes it very easy to help Feral Fixers in a couple of different ways:
Feral Fixers is a designated charity on and, if you designate Feral Fixers as your "Favorite Charity" and you then purchase any of the items that are designated eligible for the "Amazon-smile" charity program (which seems to be most of them), Amazon will automatically donate 1/2% of the purchase price of these eligible items to Feral Fixers.

To donate this way, sign on to (instead of  You'll then be able to designate a "Favorite charity".  Enter "Feral Fixers NFP" where asked to and then Feral Fixers will be eligible for these donations. You only have to designate this one time and then Amazon will automatically remember this for all future purchases on the website.

When you use the website, you'll see that it looks and acts just like 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.
You can also purchase items for Feral Fixers from our Amazon Wish list!
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 and, best of all, the items are shipped directly to us - no muss, no fuss!

To find the Feral Fixers Wish List on, go to their website and point your mouse at the "Accounts & Lists" tab near the top, right-hand corner of the page. If you point at that tab without clicking on it, you'll see a drop-down box - click on the "Wishlist" link underneath the "Your Lists" heading. Or, you can just click on the "Accounts & Lists" tab and you'll then be presented another page which will have several boxes of options. Click on the "Lists" item in the "Ordering and Shopping preferences" box. Once you have arrived at the Lists page, select the "Your Friends" tab near the top of the screen and then in the "Enter a person's name" box, enter the words "Feral Fixers" (without the quotation marks) and click on "Search".  You'll then see 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 purchase these Wish List items from the AmazonSmile website, 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).

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

Thank you!
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 Hoodie (shown at right), 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 Hoodie 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 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