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'Ball of String,' created by The Switzer Group, was one of eight imaginative winter cat shelters donated to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative by Architects for Animals. (Photo by Dana Edelson)

Ball of String, created by The Switzer Group, was one of eight imaginative winter cat shelters donated to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative by Architects for Animals.

Photo by Dana Edelson

Out of the Cage! (Holiday 2010)

NYC's Outdoor Cats Get Help from Architects for Animals

Some of NYC's best and brightest architectural design firms are helping local outdoor cats stay warm this winter while creating awareness about the plight of NYC's feral and free-roaming cats. Eight architectural firms created a breathtaking assortment of unique winter cat shelters, and donated them to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI).

The project, "Giving Shelter," is the first of what we hope will be many undertakings by Architects for Animals — a new initiative founded by Leslie Farrell of the architectural firm The Switzer Group. Architects for Animals is dedicated to helping New York City's homeless animals. Leslie, a NYC TNR-certified caretaker, explained: "Our city's outdoor cats need winter shelters, and who better to design and build them than NYC's architectural community?"

The imaginative shelter creations were on display for the public at a sold-out fundraiser reception for the NYCFCI on December 7 at the Steelcase Showroom in midtown Manhattan. Following the event, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals Wheels of Hope Transport Program delivered the shelters to preselected recipients in all five boroughs. The recipients are TNR-certified caretakers whose names were selected by a drawing. Mayor's Alliance transport driver Patrick McGuire and the NYCFCI's Valerie Sicignano delivered the shelters the next day.

We want to thank all of the architectural design firms that participated in this first-ever effort: The Switzer Group; Cannon Design; Davis, Brody, Bond, Aedas; Zimmerman Workshop Architecture and Design; Tietz Baccon; Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects; Larry Friedberg; and Mauricio Lopez.

View the entire collection of "Giving Shelter" winter cat shelters.