The NYCFCI’s Kathleen O’Malley contacted one of the officers, Greg Paratore, who she found out did not know about TNR. When she explained how TNR is the proven, humane way to control the community cat population, permission was quickly obtained for the cats and kittens to be trapped, neutered/spayed, and returned to the parking lot, or, if determined to be friendly enough, put into foster homes to await adoption.Permission was also granted for the cats’ pre- and post-surgical holding space to be located on PSA2’s property. When Kathleen explained that a holding space needs to be quiet, safe, enclosed, and climate controlled, an empty trailer located at the back of the property was initially determined to be a suitable location. Now, a back stairwell in the main building serves that purpose.
Several trappings have now taken place, which Officer Paratore participated in. The first batch of kittens was trapped in July and sent to the ASPCA’s Glendale clinic for their spay/neuter surgeries. They also received fecal and ringworm tests from Murray Hill Pet Hospital before being turned over to the NYCFCI’s Mike Phillips, who took charge of the kittens’ socialization process.
When they were ready to be adopted, the kittens were sent to The Patricia H. Ladew Foundation to await their forever homes. Several more kittens from subsequent trappings have also gone to The Ladew Foundation, and several of those have since been adopted.One of the kittens in the colony was obviously missing all but the very bottom of her tail. When she was trapped, she was first sent to The Humane Society of New York for evaluation and treatment. Friday, as she has now been named, spent several weeks at One Love Animal Hospital in Boerum Hill, where Kathleen reports, “The vet wanted to see if the tail stump would heal on its own, and it is healing nicely,” so the tail didn’t have to be amputated. For her part, Friday is still recovering, but is reportedly perky and playful and charming the staff. In fact, Friday is currently staying at the home of a One Love staffer who plans to adopt her.
In a 5:00 a.m. trapping that took place the week before Labor Day, Kathleen, with Brian’s help, was able to use a drop trap to get six of the colony kittens still at large. The four females and two males they trapped were about four months old and feral. Unsocialized kittens over two months of age require a lot of effort to tame, and even then they may never be cuddly pets, so the plan was to have these kittens spayed and neutered and returned to the colony. But Brian felt one of the males, Lennon, showed signs of wanting to interact with humans, so Kathleen decided to try fostering and socializing him. She described the handsome longhair tabby as initially being “slightly shut down” and “frozen, out of fear.” However, during the very first night at Kathleen’s house, he allowed himself to be petted and he even meowed, apparently for company, in the middle of the night! After two weeks of socialization, Lennon was a purring lap cat, ready to be put up for adoption on Petfinder. He quickly found a forever home in Astoria with Geri Wee. Geri, who works for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, renamed the kitten Biden.Not all the trapped kittens were part of the original colony. Keanu and his littermate Scully, according to the officers, wandered onto PSA2’s property one day. The kittens were most likely abandoned and were drawn to the location by the smell of cat food. They, too, were trapped and neutered. Scully went to The Ladew Foundation and has since been adopted. An officer from PSA2, Dustin Morrow, and his girlfriend, Alissa Field, adopted Keanu, who is now named Taco.
Going forward, the officers, including Officer Paratore who is now a Certified TNR Caretaker, will be on the lookout for any other cats or kittens that might wander onto the property. And, with the NYCFCI’s guidance and help, a better feeding station and winter shelters for the colony’s remaining cats will be erected to replace the current setup, which has uninsulated shelters and is also too close to a public sidewalk for the cats’ safety.
Thanks to the collaboration between a local Certified TNR Caretaker, officers at PSA2, and the NYCFCI, a colony is being TNR’ed, friendly felines are being placed in foster homes and adopted, and the remaining colony cats will enjoy a better quality of life. “This,” says Kathleen, “is a great example of things working exactly the way they are supposed to.”