During the trial period, the church allowed a proper feeding station to be placed on the property, which immediately improved the sanitary conditions and the ability to keep the area clean. The unusual experiment of introducing a litter box for the feral colony was a success. The church location has lots of paved surfaces without the burying options available that cats prefer, so they welcomed the litter box and started using it immediately. This resolved one of the main concerns of the church. The litter box is a cement mixing pan on a pallet with a hinged roof to protect it from rain and snow. Insulated shelters will be added before winter, and the caretakers are granted daily access to feed the cats (and scoop the litter box). To prevent future problems and misunderstandings that could put the lives of the cats in danger, the channels of communication will be kept open between the church and caretakers to work together to find solutions should a problem arise.Special thanks to Monsignor Kevin Nelan, the Vicar of South Manhattan, for his guidance in diffusing what had become a seemingly intractable situation. With both sides listening to the other’s concerns and with careful consideration of the facts, it became clear that removing the neutered and vaccinated cats from rodent-infested Chinatown was not in the best interest of the parish or the surrounding community.
His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan weighed in on the situation and made the wise recommendation for Monsignor Nelan to mediate the discussion with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. The situation got a lot of attention through social media, and well over 1,000 e-mails and a flood of phone calls to the Archdiocese made it clear how passionately people cared about the well-being of the cats and how much they wanted the cats to stay and continue to be cared for on the church property.
Fortunately for the cats, their position was a strong one thanks to the timely Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project implemented by Elizabeth Eller of City Critters, an Alliance Participating Organization, several years ago. After TNR and the taming and adoption of a couple of litters of feral kittens, the colony was stabilized at only eight cats. Given this relatively small number of already neutered and vaccinated cats, the negotiations started on a very strong footing. If they only knew, the cats have Elizabeth to thank as much as anyone for their current good standing in the community.
On behalf of the cats, we’d like to thank each and every person who took the time to e-mail or call on behalf of these cats! Succeeding to defend the St. James colony will surely help the plight of less visible but equally worthy colonies everywhere.
Trial Period Ends with Permission Granted for Feral Cats to Be Fed on Church Property
Monday, June 11, 2012
Agreement Reached to Allow Cats to Remain at St. James Church
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Archdiocese of New York Agrees to Meet to Discuss the St. James Church Cat Situation
Thursday, March 22, 2012
St. James Church Continues to Forbid Feeding Cats
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Priests Starve Cats at St. James Church
Sunday, March 18, 2012