South Slope – A Go Fund Me page was set up last month to help a group of homeless cats living in a feral colony in South Slope.
“New York City is not a fun place to live if you are a stray or feral cat,” Brian Otten writes on the “Save the Cats of South Slope” fundraising page. “The streets are mean. Thousands of cats die every year from exposure, cars, medical neglect, starvation and even abuse.”
“Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) has become a popular and successful method in controlling the city’s feral cat population,” according to Otten, and is more humane than “mass collection and euthanasia.”
The Go Fund Me campaign is dedicated to raising money for a Trap-Neuter-Release program for a colony of cats living in the vicinity of 21st Street in South Slope. Funds will go toward food for the cats, veterinary services, and any other costs that might arise during the process of helping these kitties.
“We currently have a colony of ten-plus cats that live in the backyards and along the blocks bordered by 21st and 23rd Streets between 6th and 7th Avenues,” Otten, a South Slope resident, tells BKLYNER.
“Many concerned residents in the neighborhood have given the animals food over the years, leaving them with a marginal quality of life. Myself and several other concerned neighbors have recently embarked on a mission to do more than just feed the cats,” he adds. “We are doing our best to Trap-Neuter-Release the animals with hopes of controlling the number of kittens being born and preventing more offspring and suffering. All of our group’s members are TNR certified through the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals,” he explains.
Otten goes on to describe the struggles of the local feral/stray colony. “They have faced harsh winters, hot summers, and even abuse at the hands of some unsympathetic residents. A nursing cat was recently kicked by one such neighbor. Another beloved neighborhood cat was abandoned by a family when they moved off the block,” he says.
Some members of the cat colony suffer from infections such as FIV [Feline Immunodeficiency Virus], FELV [Feline Leukemia Virus], and FIP [Feline Infectious Peritonitis], Otten says, while others have suffered from frost bite on the ears and nose or upper respiratory infections causing difficulties in breathing and problems with their eyes.
The slideshow below features four cats from the South Slope feral/stray colony.
The program Otten is spearheading consists of a team of nine volunteers who assist in various ways, from fundraising to physical trapping, driving the animals to the veterinarian, or volunteering spare rooms or basements to house the cats while they await surgery and recover post-surgery.
The team traps the cats and brings them to participating veterinarians for discounted spaying and neutering services. Each cat is vaccinated, assessed for adoptability, and if healthy, released back into its neighborhood.
The team looks for homes for any socialized stray cats and kittens who are deemed adoptable. Caregivers feed and maintain the colony of non-adoptable ferals who are “returned to the streets after spay and neutering surgeries provided by the ASPCA,” Otten says.
The “Save the Cats of South Slope” campaign is currently looking to raise money for Garfield, a longtime feral cat who has tested positive for FIV and Feline Leukemia. Though his health is currently stabilized, Garfield cannot be returned to the streets, so the group is trying to raise the $2,500 needed to admit him to the Aslan Cat Sanctuary in Verbank, New York where he can live out his days in safety and comfort.
As of Tuesday, the “Save the Cats of South Slope” Go Fund Me page has raised $1,145 of its $2,500 goal. Check out Go Fund Me to learn more about the “Save the Cats of South Slope” campaign and to contribute.