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With the help of the New York City Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, feral cat caretakers in the NYC area took proactive steps during the approach of Hurricane Sandy to protect feral, stray, and community cats from the dangerous weather.
One tactic included trapping the pregnant cats, young kittens, and elderly ferals in their colonies so they could wait out the storm safely indoors. Friendly cats and young kittens who were trapped will not be put back outside after the storm, but instead prepared for adoption into indoor homes.
The NYCFCI also fielded questions in the days leading up to the storm about how to prepare colonies and homes, advising caretakers to remove or tie down any objects in and near their colonies that could become airborne during high winds, stockpile adequate cat food and water supplies, and make sure they are familiar with emergency safety recommendations. Trappers also needed guidance with the particulars of trapping young kittens and how to wean them once they are indoors.
Other caretakers around the city added tarps, weights, and other protective gear to outdoor shelters and feeding stations.
A few examples of some of the work done in NYC to prepare feral, stray, and community cats for the storm include:
Harlem caretaker Keith trapped a 5-week-old feral kitten and one of his oldest feral cats; both will wait out the storm safely indoors. The kitten is young enough to be tamed and adopted into an indoor home, and her foster caretaker is weaning her onto solid food and starting the taming process.
Master trapper Jamie responded to a NYCFCI e-mail about a friendly pregnant cat who was abandoned and sitting scared on a doorstep. Jamie was able to pick up the cat and will foster her through the storm until the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals can take her to the vet and place her for adoption. Jamie also opened her home and heart to 14 feral cats who lost their home upstate and needed a place to spend the night when their original placement fell through. The cats stayed for one night and made it safely down south to their new home before the storm hit.
Caretaker Maria responded to Animal Care & Control of NYC’s Staten Island shelter’s need for approved foster homes to come and pick up animals, as the flood zone shelter building was on evacuation order. Maria took in two cats to foster through the storm.
Park Slope caretaker Kathy cleaned up her backyard, home to her colony, and removed loose items that could become airborne during high winds.
Mary made sure to feed her cats extra meals in anticipation that they might miss a few during the storm. She also trapped a colony that she was planning to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) next week, and will hold them for a few extra days in advance, so they can wait out the storm from the safety of her living room.