A Community Cat Meetup Group Can Be the Cat’s Meow

A new Manhattan community cat Meetup group is giving NYC cat lovers the opportunity to socialize with like-minded individuals around feral and stray cats, TNR, and other cat interests. (Photo by Megan Wisdom)

A new Manhattan community cat Meetup group is giving NYC cat lovers the opportunity to socialize with like-minded individuals around feral and stray cats, TNR, and other cat interests. (Photo by Megan Wisdom)

The NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI), a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, has a confidential database of Certified Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Caretakers who are located throughout the city. When a Certified TNR Caretaker has a need, such as for a larger post-surgical holding space or extra traps, they can reach out to the NYCFCI. In turn, the NYCFCI will reach out to Certified TNR Caretakers in the database who may be able to help, and, with the permission of those caretakers, share their information with the caretaker in need. Everyone who completes the NYCFCI’s TNR certification workshop and the post-workshop TNR Networking Survey can participate, as they so choose, in this sharing of information and resources.

According to Kathleen O’Malley, Director of TNR Education for the NYCFCI, the survey has proven to be a successful way for Certified TNR Caretakers to help one another and also to feel connected to like-minded individuals. But, she acknowledges, for some caretakers, there is the need to actually get together “with the relatively few humans in your area who have the same interests.” For those individuals, she suggests they consider either joining or starting a community cat Meetup group. “This can be a great way to find a core group of people interested in the same things you are,” she says, adding that the actual Meetups can be about cats or about anything else the group decides. “A Meetup group is designed to be pressure-free and social,” she says.

In response to this perceived need, last year, Mike Phillips and Megan Wisdom, both of the NYCFCI, started the Manhattan Feral Cat TNR, Caretakers and Rescue Groups Meetup. To launch the group, which is not directly affiliated with the NYCFCI and which, as its name implies, is open to people who may not be Certified TNR Caretakers, Megan, who administers the group, spread the word among local rescue groups. The group’s first get-together was announced in the NYCFCI’s TNR Caretaker Update newsletter.

“Megan stepped up to investigate what it took to get a community cat Meetup group up and running so cat people could connect socially,” explains Mike. “She agreed to be the necessary administrator and found events of interest to cat people, like Kedi, the Istanbul cat movie, and places to meet up for a drink and conversation. She also generously donated the $90 hosting fee for the first year.”

“The Meetup is not about recruiting for help,” Megan stresses. “It is about getting together socially.” The group, which currently has 73 members from various boroughs, has met five times, and has gone to restaurants, bars, and movies together. During these evenings, discussions often turned to cats, which was, after all, what brought everyone together in the first place. Megan hopes that some members might have even been encouraged to take the NYCFCI’s TNR certification workshop after meeting and speaking with some of the Meetup’s Certified TNR Caretakers.

Clearly, being part of a cat Meetup can have numerous benefits, not the least of which is, according to Megan, “If you show up with cat hair on your butt no one is going to make fun of you.”

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“Smokey from the Block” Coloring Book Combines Cats, Creativity & Compassion

Written by Laura King and illustrated by Thomas Draplin, Smokey from the Block gives cat lovers the chance to express their creativity while learning about community cats and TNR.

Written by Laura King and illustrated by Thomas Draplin, Smokey from the Block gives cat lovers the chance to express their creativity while learning about community cats and TNR.

Creative cat lovers won’t be able to wait to grab their favorite crayons, colored pencils, or markers and sit down with Smokey from the Block, a unique new coloring book based upon a true and happy animal rescue story. Relax and express your creativity by adding color and your own pizazz to the illustrated saga of Smokey, New York City’s coolest cat-about-town!

Roamin’ Smokey, a New York City tomcat with grey good looks and curb appeal, is always on the lookout for love, trouble, and a nosh. He finds all three and more when he encounters his fine-lined lady friend, Mamacita, his fiercest rival, Daddy-o Buck, and a feral cat caretaker named Chiara.

Written by Laura King, Smokey’s saga unfolds over 27 sequential pages, eloquently illustrated by Thomas Draplin to draw colorist-readers into the everyday lives, relationships, and perils of urban cats living in a managed Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) colony. The adult cats are trapped, spayed/neutered, and returned to their colony by Chi to put a cap on kittens and unneighborly behaviors. Mamacita, Smokey, and Daddy-o all settle down without mating on their minds, but still defend their home against marauders. Smokey’s epic adventure begins when the injured cat escapes from a carrier into greater danger in Midtown Manhattan. He eludes rescuers for days, encounters loose dogs, and is ultimately rescued by a heroic stranger. The story ends happily with Smokey’s adaptation to life as an indoor cat, just a block away from his former managed TNR colony.

Smokey (Photo by Laura King)

Smokey (Photo by Laura King)

Each illustration within Smokey from the Block features the infamous tomcat surrounded by the architecture, fashion, humanity, and humor that combine to make New York the world’s most vibrant and exciting metropolis. While coloring its streets, you’ll discover its charm, plus learn more about what you already know and love — cats! Community cats, whether feral or stray, are fascinating creatures that can enrich their neighborhoods and thrive with the help of caring people and humane, progressive management programs. We hope that the coloring journey you take with Smokey will not just fulfill you artistically, but also touch your heart!

The drawings are supplemented by a Welcome page, a Narrative, and an Epilogue that encourages interested readers to become caretakers for community cats, and directs them to animal welfare websites to learn more.

A portion of the net profits from sales of this coloring book will benefit the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and a medical fund for NYC’s stray and feral kitties.

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Smokey from the Block - Laura King and Thomas Draplin

Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Fundraising, Spay/Neuter | Leave a comment

Adoptapalooza Introduces Adopters to Hundreds of Homeless NYC Pets

300 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits met their loving new families at Adoptapalooza in Union Square on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Thea Feldman)

300 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits met their loving new families at Adoptapalooza in Union Square on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Thea Feldman)

Hundreds of homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits find new homes at the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ mega pet adoption event in Union Square

Petco Foundation donates $200,000 to support life-saving Alliance programs

Sunday, May 21, 2017 – New York, NY – More than 300 homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits found their forever homes on Sunday afternoon at Adoptapalooza, New York City’s original mega pet adoption event, taking place in the North Plaza of Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Hosted by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals (the Alliance), and presented in partnership with the Petco Foundation, this event offered fun for the whole family while shining a spotlight on the critical importance of animal adoption.

Potential adopters had the opportunity to meet pets from more than 30 animal shelters and rescue groups in one place at Adoptapalooza in Union Square on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Rick Edwards)

Potential adopters had the opportunity to meet pets from more than 30 animal shelters and rescue groups in one place at Adoptapalooza in Union Square on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Rick Edwards)

The pets looking for new families at Adoptapalooza — all spayed/neutered and vaccinated — were presented for adoption by dozens of Alliance Participating Organizations including local shelters and rescue groups.

Since it was founded in 2003, the Alliance has worked to save the lives of New York City’s homeless pets. Over the past 14 years, this coalition, which synergizes the efforts of approximately 150 participating animal shelters and rescue groups, has saved more than 300,000 animals.

Prior to 2003, only 25% of animals who entered Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) left alive. Today, thanks to the Alliance’s programming and the resources it provides in tandem with the lifesaving efforts of its participating organizations, the City of New York now boasts a 90% community-wide live release rate.

Jane Hoffman, Alliance President, said, “Adoptapalooza gives us a chance to showcase our wonderful four-legged neighbors who are in dire need of a loving forever home. It’s so important for the whole family to be involved in bringing a special pet into the home and today, Adoptapalooza gives them that chance!

Adoptapalooza co-sponsor, the Petco Foundation, presented the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals with a check for $200,000 to support our life-saving animal rescue initiatives in New York City this year. (Photo by Rick Edwards)

Adoptapalooza co-sponsor, the Petco Foundation, presented the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals with a check for $200,000 to support our life-saving animal rescue initiatives in New York City this year. (Photo by Rick Edwards)

“Just as important, events like Adoptapalooza are critical to our efforts to raise public awareness about the plight of homeless animals in New York City and our efforts to maintain our 90% community-wide live release rate,” Hoffman added.

Adoptapalooza co-sponsor, the Petco Foundation, presented the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals with a check for $200,000 to support our life-saving animal rescue initiatives in New York City this year. (Photo by Rick Edwards)[/caption]The Petco Foundation, a strong Alliance ally, presented a check for $200,000 to Hoffman to support life-saving Alliance programs like Wheels of Hope, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, and mega pet adoption events like Adoptapalooza.

In accepting the check Hoffman said, “I’d like to thank the Petco Foundation for their long-time and generous support. The work we do at the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals would not be possible without Petco’s commitment to our mission. I am also deeply grateful to all our sponsors, our partner organizations, our volunteers, and everyone who made a special four-legged addition to their family today.”

In addition to pet adoptions, Adoptapalooza featured: tricks and training tips from a certified Petco trainer on the dog training field; face painting and fun temporary tattoos for kids; dog licensing by the NYC Department of Health; free (for the first 50) and low-cost ($15) microchips for dogs and cats by Vetco; emergency preparedness information from Ready New York/NYC Emergency Management; free pet photos and pet ID tags; and giveaways from event sponsors.

Rock & Rawhide, a non-profit organization that distributes donated supplies to shelters and rescue groups, collected clean blankets, towels, and pet toys for shelter animals.

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Mayor's Alliance for NYC's AnimalsAbout the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and shelters to offer important programs and services that save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. The Alliance is supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receives no government funding. Since its founding in 2003, the Alliance has remained committed to transforming New York City into a community where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. AnimalAllianceNYC.org

Media Contact

Colleen Roche, LAK Public Relations
Phone: (212) 329-1413
E-mail: croche@lakpr.com

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Cats, Dogs, Events & Campaigns, Microchipping, Pet Adoption, Pet Care & Training, Press Release, Rabbits, Safety/Emergency | Leave a comment

NYC Achieves 90% Animal Shelter Live Release Rate for Second Year

(Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy.com)

(Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy.com)

Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and Its Partners Have Saved the Lives of More than 300,000 Homeless Animals Since 2003

Monday, May 8, 2017 – New York, NY – For the second consecutive year, New York City has achieved a community-wide 90% “live release rate” — meaning that nine out of every ten animals who enter shelters in the five boroughs are either adopted, transferred to rescue partners for adoption, or returned to their owners.

Since it was founded in 2003, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals (the Alliance) has worked to save the lives of New York City’s homeless pets. Over the past 14 years, this coalition, which synergizes the efforts of approximately 150 Alliance-participating animal shelters and rescue groups, has saved more than 300,000 animals.

Prior to 2003, only 25% of animals who entered NYC’s animal control shelters, Animal Care Centers of NYC, (ACC – formerly known as NYC Animal Care & Control) left alive. Today, thanks to the Alliance’s programming and the resources it provides, in tandem with the lifesaving efforts of its participating organizations, the City of New York now boasts a 90% community-wide live release rate.

(Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy.com)

(Photo by Mark McQueen, phoDOGraphy.com)

Through its key initiatives, which include the Wheels of Hope transport program, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, and Adoptapalooza Mega Pet Adoption Events, and its coalition of rescue groups and shelters, the Alliance has made extraordinary progress, and transformed NYC into a markedly more humane city, boasting one of the lowest per capita euthanasia rates of any major U. S city. Today, more than 9 out of 10 lives are saved, as compared to 1 out of 4 when the Alliance began.

Jane Hoffman, President of the Alliance, said, “We are extremely proud of our collaboration with ACC and our 150-plus rescue partners, and we’re heartened by the progress we’ve made working together. But our job isn’t done. Our mission goes beyond a 90% live release benchmark. We will continue to strive to make our vision of a day when no healthy or treatable shelter pet is euthanized a reality for NYC’s homeless pets.”

To that end, the collaboration of rescue organizations operating in and around New York City continues to expand. Last month, Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to bringing about a time when there are “No More Homeless Pets,” opened its first adoption center in New York City and became a member of the Alliance. The adoption center, located in Soho, houses approximately 30 cats and dogs and includes a kitten nursery.

(Photo by Joe Galka)

(Photo by Joe Galka)

“Best Friends’ adoption center is a welcome addition to the ecosystem of collaboration that we’ve created here in NYC. We are pleased to welcome Best Friends to our coalition of over 150 organizations to help us all sustain our 90% live release rate,” said Hoffman.

The Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, operating in the heart of Manhattan. Despite the name, the Alliance is not affiliated with the Mayor’s Office, nor does it receive any federal, state, or city funding. The Alliance was founded under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, and, with the Mayor’s encouragement, formed a public-private partnership with ACC. The Alliance’s mission is to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable homeless cats and dogs who are taken in by NYC’s shelters.

To see the Alliance and many of its participating organizations in action, visit Union Square on Sunday, May 21, from noon to 5:00 p.m. for the Alliance’s Adoptapalooza Mega Pet Adoption Event, presented in partnership with the Petco Foundation. Meet more than 300 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits awaiting new homes.

Visit AnimalAllianceNYC.org for more information.

Attend Adoptapalooza Learn More


Mayor's Alliance for NYC's AnimalsAbout the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and shelters to offer important programs and services that save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. The Alliance is supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receives no government funding. Since its founding in 2003, the Alliance has remained committed to transforming New York City into a community where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. AnimalAllianceNYC.org

Media Contact

Steve Gruber, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Phone: (917) 359-6003
E-mail: steve@AnimalAllianceNYC.org

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dogs, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Pet Adoption, Press Release, Wheels of Hope | Leave a comment

The Alliance Goes to Cat Camp NYC

Kathleen O'Malley, NYC Feral Cat Initiative Director of TNR Education, gave a presentation on Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to 225 of the people who attended Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by David Glicksman)

Kathleen O’Malley, NYC Feral Cat Initiative Director of TNR Education, gave a presentation on Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to 225 of the people who attended Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by David Glicksman)

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals participated in the first-ever Cat Camp NYC, held on March 11 and 12 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. Billed as “New York’s first cat-centric symposium,” Cat Camp was a two-day event packed with presentations, appearances by the likes of Lil Bub and Jackson Galaxy, adorable cats and kittens available for adoption, vendors stocked with the latest and greatest items for cats and their people, and no shortage of information about felines.

In preparation for the event, the Alliance worked with Cat Camp organizers to secure the attendance of local adoption organizations with their cats and kittens. The Alliance’s Wheels of Hope program delivered most of the crates needed for adoptees and Steve Gruber, the Alliance’s Director of Communications, who was instrumental in those endeavors, also ensured that Alliance volunteers were available throughout the event to help wherever needed, which included manning the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) table.

NYCFCI Director of TNR Education, Kathleen O'Malley, and Alliance Director of Development, Elyise Hallenbeck, had their NYCFCI t-shirts signed by Animal Planet's Jackson Galaxy at Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

NYCFCI Director of TNR Education, Kathleen O’Malley, and Alliance Director of Development, Elyise Hallenbeck, had their NYCFCI t-shirts signed by Animal Planet’s Jackson Galaxy at Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

The NYCFCI’s Director of TNR Education, Kathleen O’Malley, says she brought about five times the amount of literature she usually brings to events and happily reports that she did not have anything left at the end of the conference. “In my two years of working for NYCFCI,” she says, ” I’ve never had such a cat-focused audience. It was really gratifying.”

She remembers having a very high-level of engagement with attendees, which extended to her presentation entitled “Let’s Talk Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).” Kathleen’s talk featured clips from the upcoming documentary film, The Cat Rescuers, produced by Rob Fruchtman and Steven Lawrence, and for Q&A Kathleen was joined onstage by Brooklyn-based TNR practitioners Latonya “Sassee” Walker and Stuart Siet, who are featured in the documentary. The team addressed a packed room with an audience of about 225 people.

Despite the size of the audience (which included people from all over the country), Kathleen recalls that the session was very personal and interactive. She began the talk — which focused more on how TNR is the proven, humane way to control feral and community cat populations than it did on actual TNR techniques — by discussing the cat colony she cares for. She also encouraged audience participation and remembers that the very first question was from someone who wanted advice on how to persuade her town to adopt TNR ordnances. Kathleen was impressed by “the number of seasoned TNR practitioners who came to the talk and enjoyed it.”

Certified TNR Caretakers and stars of "The Cat Rescuers" documentary film, Latonya “Sassee” Walker and Stuart Siet, joined Kathleen O'Malley for the Q&A portion of her TNR presentation at Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by RobFruchtman)

Certified TNR Caretakers and stars of “The Cat Rescuers” documentary film, Latonya “Sassee” Walker and Stuart Siet, joined Kathleen O’Malley for the Q&A portion of her TNR presentation at Cat Camp NYC. (Photo by RobFruchtman)

Kathleen was also pleased that a number of local people signed up for NYCFCI’s TNR certification workshop as a result of attending the presentation, which will result in more Certified TNR Caretakers being prepared to help New York’s feral and stray community cats and reduce the numbers of kittens being born on the streets as we enter “kitten season.”

“There was never an event like Cat Camp in New York City before,” Kathleen says, and describes the conference as a “safe place for cat lovers to be themselves and to be understood. It was a positively reinforcing experience.”

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