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  • Writer's pictureKathy Gabrielescu

Whiskers "Glam-ups:" Today a feeder, tomorrow a caretaker

Updated: Aug 24, 2023


Our tiny but mighty organization set out a year ago on a bold new mission. We have been doing TNR for over 25 years and have handled thousands of calls for help. Like most non-profits involved with TNR we have offered to trap, transport and pay for TNR for countless individuals and groups, yet continued to see the number of calls for help increasing each year. As the number of cats went up instead of down, we started to look for reasons.

 

Some of the reasons are legislative issues at town and state levels, or lack of engagement by enforcement or animal control.


But others are so much simpler and within our control!

Bottom line is that calling for help and having everything done for you by a rescue or "trapper" makes life easy. One call and your problem is solved. If more cats show up there is no rush.... you know that all you have to do is make a call or post for someone to "step up" to fix your cats. It's not your fault and these groups live to trap, right?


This backfires as it does not require you to even attempt to solve the problem. It creates a handy excuse when no one is available to fulfill your request for "turnkey TNR" at little or no cost.


Looking back, this "do-it-all" contractor approach to TNR was always destined to fail....we just didn't know it yet. Trapping and TNR became niche hobbies as organizations started certifying "trappers" and further convincing people that it's for someone else or a specialist to do.

 

With that disappointing realization, we started the 50 Feral Fix program, searching for people that were in the same position I found myself 25 years ago, feeding cats but wanting to do more and stop the cycle of suffering but not a clue how to start!


Thanks to social media and smartphones, help is easier to find! We focused our attention on people who want to learn to TNR in order to become caretakers. It has been a bumpy road and not every attempt has been a success but the word is getting out!


Nearly every day I have photos show up on my phone of our newly trained caretakers hard at work! We are in awe of some of these women. Despite language barriers, lack of transportation, no support from their towns, and no ability to pay, they MAKE IT THEIR MISSION TO FIND A WAY TO HELP THE CATS THEY FEED. Often these women are relying on friends to drive and translator apps to speak to us. They find a way to get to Sayreville to borrow traps and for training on how to use them. Some bring family members to translate! They creatively and determinedly figure out ways to house and transport cats to our friends at People for Animals every day.


With so many people waiting for the work to be done for them or assuming "the government" should provide full-service TNR at no cost, we are so happy to find those who realize that is not a practical way to TNR and the cats they love do not have the luxury of waiting for a miracle.

We are thrilled to meet people who realize that the best one to help the cats they love is them and affectionally refer to them as our "Feral Fixers," as they tirelessly perform the duties of caretaker. It makes our work worth it: We struggle every single day to raise funds to keep this program going and often start our days at 3:30am. We run a massive ebay store and are on multiple social media platforms to find the help these women need.


I promise you that there is nothing worse than watching the cats you care about go hungry, get injured and continue to breed more generations that you have no way to help. You feel powerless and destined to have to watch decades of suffering unfold before your eyes. Nothing is worse than feeling helpless in that situation. We understand and we are doing all we can to empower cat lovers all across NJ to end this cycle.


Every day, we are in awe of our newly trained Feral Fixers and you should be too! These new caretakers are some of the most caring, hardworking women you will ever hope to meet.

Join us on our latest mission to support their hard work and to find even more people who want to stop this cycle of breeding by becoming true caretakers.


We have seen women call in every favor they have to find transport to PFA. Pregnant women sit in parking lots at emergency vets for 7 hours at a time fighting to save cats they love. These young women are seeking help not only for cats but for their families who feed them. The list is endless. These are your heroes! This is who you want to emulate! They are not looking for "trap queen" status or rewards, only more vouchers so that they can stop the suffering outside and keep trapping.

 

Please donate, educate, and volunteer to help raise funds, and share our mission wherever you can. Together we can create an army of cat lovers working toward the original goal of TNR: NO MORE CATS BORN ON OUR STREETS!



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