Can you believe our first 50 Feral Fix voucher was issued just a year ago? Last August, our vet dropped rescues, disrupting our decade-long routine of mass trapping in one or two locations each weekend and then vetting them on Mondays.
No private vet...but a plan.
With no vet of our own, we started reaching out to individuals in underserved communities who were willing to use the low-cost clinic themselves and only needed our financial assistance. What we discovered were very hardworking, responsible people desperate to fix the cats in their yards and complexes. They didn't expect someone to come and do all of the work for them! These were cat lovers willing to work around schedules, borrow cars, enlist family and friends, trap and hold the cats, if they only had access to trapping equipment, a support network, and funds. Kathy drafted a voucher and partnered up with People for Animals, who would allow us to pay for TNR packages and veterinary care for feral cats when their caretakers presented an original voucher. The 50 Feral Fix program was born!
673 vouchers have been issued, and over $60,000 in veterinary care has been provided since August 2022!
We created an army.
With our first batch of vouchers, cats from multiple areas were getting fixed all week long! Suddenly, trapping had become waaaay more efficient: Feeders were trap training cats that already knew them and catching them quickly.
With each voucher, trap lent, and trapping lesson given by Kathy in her driveway, compassionate feeders of cats were becoming lifesaving caretakers! They were talking to neighbors who asked them what they were doing. Our program quickly grew to hundreds of vouchers and tens of thousands of dollars in veterinary care provided. To date, vouchers have been used by caretakers in nine counties!
We were no longer fighting for people to "allow" us to trap, transport, hold, and pay for their cats--instead, we were working round the clock to raise the funds to keep our vouchers flying out the door.
We can't stop now! But it's hard...
We've learned that a voucher program for underserved communities is far more work than our old model of "doing it all" for feeders who did not wish to trap any cats. While trapping took two days of 8-12 hours each, we were completely in control of the cats and vetting, even doing recovery and transport. It was a pretty regular schedule with one drop off, one pick up, one garage. The rest of the week could be spent fundraising to pay the bills.
The 50 Feral Fix program requires us to be prepared for any emergency that arises at the low cost clinic, and on multiple occasions we have rushed to help cats that needed more than spay/neuter. It needs much more funding available to pay bills and address emergencies. You'll recall our heartbreaking all-nighters and weekends with Magic, Raven, and Winnie to name just a few. Our Feral Fixers had our support when they trapped these ill and injured cats, and our program gave the cats they trapped a chance to be loved before humane endings instead of suffering and dying outside.
L-R: Magic, Raven, and Winnie were caught too late to save but our Feral Fixers did not leave them to suffer. We followed vets' advice to try to save them but ultimately were only able to give them peaceful ends with their caretakers, not alone outside.
There are also happy endings - nearly every day, cats are being fixed, vaccinated, and returned to their caretakers, stopping the cycle of cats born outside. We also helped cats like Toby, who has a shorter haircut but no more bloody wounds and injuries all over his body. Millie was found with deep puncture wounds but her bubbling personality won her a full recovery and permanent home!
T-B: Toby and Millie, before and after.
We Need You!
Our Feral Fixers need to be supported throughout the process--this is a new skill for many of them, and we are always available to answer their questions and address their issues when they are out trapping with our vouchers. It is a huge undertaking but lifechanging for both caretakers and the cats they love. Please consider donating to our fundraisers and jewelry store, which also sustains our work. You can find them on our Facebook page and also here if you're not the social media type!
Meet our Feral Fixers!
To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we've interviewed some of our star Feral Fixers who tirelessly work to improve their communities and lives for cats. Click here to meet the superheroes helped by your donations!