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

We Said YES to Nala and Her Kittens


Last month we told you that our busiest season was right around the corner, with spring and summer bringing upswings in pet abandonment and the unwanted births of kittens to both unspayed pet and community cats.

We were right.

Recently, mother cat Nala was found with her 3-day-old kittens by a Certified TNR Caretaker, hiding under debris outside of an abandoned home in Queens, New York. Nala was friendly, and cautiously allowed our volunteer to approach and assist her and her newborn litter.

Nala and her kittens

Luckily, we were able to move Nala and her kittens — Timon, Simba, Sarafina, and Rafiki — indoors and into foster care. Nala will stay with her babies, comfortably indoors and cared for, until they are old enough to be spayed and neutered, vaccinated, and adopted. Mom, of course, will also be spayed, and prepared for adoption into her own forever home.

Will you help us continue to say YES to thousands of vulnerable shelter pets and community cats like Nala and her kittens and give them the second chances they deserve? Please make a gift to our Alliance Annual Fund today. To make your gift go even further, please consider setting up a monthly donation so that we can count on your continued support as we enter spring and summer, our busiest seasons.

Save a Life. Donate Now.

Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Fundraising, Pet Adoption, Pet Fostering, Spay/Neuter, Wheels of Hope | Leave a comment

You Helped Us Say YES to Orphaned Kittens, Nicky & Norman!


Every day, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals works tirelessly to save NYC’s most at-risk animals. Thanks to you, since our founding in 2003, we’ve been able to save more than 300,000 homeless pets.

We recently were able to help Nicky and Norman, two orphaned kittens, get into a loving home after a rough start. Norman was found by a Good Samaritan, tied in a trash bag at a train station in the Bronx, while Nicky was found emaciated, covered in fleas, and cold in a Queens back yard. Both kittens were under seven days old. Without your help, Nicky and Norman wouldn’t have made it. Too young and too sickly, even if they had made it into a city shelter, their chances of survival would have been slim.

Your support ensured that our Wheels of Hope van could give these bottle baby “brothers” a life-saving ride to their foster home, where they would be fed every two hours around the clock and given lots of TLC as they grew up together.

After several weeks of foster care, when they were able to eat on their own, our Wheels of Hope van brought them to their forever home in Putnam County, New York. Today, they are happy, healthy young cats.

Every day, your support makes stories like Nicky and Norman’s possible.

Be a hero. Help us say YES to more homeless animals like Nicky and Norman by making a donation to the Alliance Annual Fund today.

Save a Life. Donate Now.

Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Pet Adoption, Pet Fostering, Wheels of Hope | Leave a comment

Monitoring Cats During TNR Spay/Neuter Recovery

TNR colony caretaker Mike Phillips checks on recently spayed/neutered cats in a postsurgical TNR recovery area. (Photo by Urban Cat League)

TNR colony caretaker Mike Phillips checks on recently spayed/neutered cats in a postsurgical TNR recovery area. (Photo by Urban Cat League)

Even veteran Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) practitioners can experience concern for the cats under their care during the recovery period after spay/neuter. The vast majority of cats have a speedy and healthy recovery with no complications whatsoever. However, in this article we focus on TNR recovery monitoring to recognize the rare cases when a postsurgical complication needs to be addressed, what signs to watch for, and where to get medical intervention when warranted.

Postsurgical Checklist

  1. Prepare carefully before leaving the clinic. Discharge from the clinic can be rushed and stressful, so prepare to be focused and calm, and make sure to do a complete check of everything before you leave. Confirm that you have all of the exact same cats and traps that you brought in; although rare, mix-ups can happen. Check that all traps are securely hooked or fastened shut, using zip ties for added security if necessary. Each trap should be lined with clean newspaper or absorbent pads. Be sure all cats have been eartipped if requested and that clinic ID collars and e-collars have been removed. Be sure to collect medical records, including rabies vaccination certificates, and put them in a safe place. By the time you are ready to leave the clinic, the cats may be sitting up but they are not yet fully recovered from the anesthesia. This means the cats will be unable to regulate their body temperature, so it will be important that they are not exposed to extreme temperatures during transit from the clinic to their recovery space.

  2. Allow the cats to recover in an appropriate space. Keep the cats indoors in their covered traps in a temperature-controlled environment. Make sure they are on dry bedding, and not exposed to loud noises, toxic fumes, other animals, or people who are not trained TNR caretakers. It takes about 24 hours for the cats to fully recover from anesthesia and regain the ability to regulate their body temperature. So it is important that the recovery location be temperature-controlled to keep the cats from getting too hot or too cold. Ideally, the room should be kept to about 70 degrees. If you are using space heaters or fans, keep them a safe distance from the cats so the cats will not overheat or get too cold. Take particular care in large spaces, which can be difficult to regulate. (Learn more about creating safe, effective TNR recovery spaces in Hold That Tiger! TNR Holding Space Tips.)

  3. Put safety first. Keep the traps covered to reduce the cats’ stress. Never open trap doors without inserting a trap divider first, and never allow the cats out of the traps. Do not stick your fingers through the bars or attempt to handle the cats.

  4. Monitor the cats carefully during the first 24 hours after surgery. Check the cats often for their progress. If you notice bleeding, swelling, lethargy, vomiting, labored breathing, or if a cat is not fully waking up, seek veterinary assistance immediately. Lack of appetite is a concern, but be aware that many healthy cats will refuse to eat in a trap.

    It’s best if you start taking notes on the general behavior and eating habits of each individual cat during the trapping and holding period prior to surgery. This will provide an excellent baseline to compare against a cat’s behavior during postsurgical recovery. If a cat is not eating after surgery, for example, it’s important to know whether the cat was eating before surgery. Many healthy cats will refuse to eat in a trap, and you may want to shorten the recovery period for them.

    The incisions on each female cat should be checked daily until she is released, to ensure there is no bleeding, swelling, or discharge. You may need to prop the trap up between tables, or have a friend hold the trap up, so you can shine a flashlight up on the cat’s belly to get a look at the incision. The photos below show normal spay and neuter incisions.

    Normal Spay Incision (Photo by ASPCA)
    Normal Neuter Incision (Photo by ASPCA)

    When cats are first returned from the clinic, a small amount of blood spotting on the trap lining is not necessarily cause for alarm. If you see pooling of blood, or if bleeding persists, contact the veterinarian.

  5. Keep the traps clean. Use a trap divider to keep the cat on one end of the trap while you replace soiled newspaper and spot-clean the trap with a nontoxic cleaner and paper towels as needed. This should be done at least twice a day, usually at the same time as feeding. Placing food and water after cleaning can minimize spillage. Inserting the divider through the sides of the trap is more secure than inserting it through the top of the trap, since the divider would simply be resting on the trap liner rather than protruding through the bottom mesh of the trap. A cat could easily push past the divider if it is not securely inserted through both sides of the trap. Many experienced trappers use two dividers for added security.

  6. Feed and provide the cats with water after they regain consciousness. Wait eight hours after surgery before feeding adult cats. When feeding the cats, always have a trap divider or isolator firmly in place between you and the cat before opening the traps. Two dividers or isolators are better than one. An isolator is essential, especially if you have a trap that does not have a back door. Always relock the trap door. If you are working in a group, make sure the tasks are clearly assigned so there is no risk of a cat escaping or not receiving care.

    Kittens under four months of age most likely will have been given oral dextrose (sugar water) at the clinic to avoid hypoglycemia, but make it a priority to feed young kittens immediately after you have brought them back from the clinic. This will help to speed their recovery. Young kittens have a speedy metabolism and can be safely fed two to three hours before surgery and immediately upon waking up from anesthesia.

  7. Hold cats until they recover. Cats usually need to be held for 24 to 72 hours after surgery, depending on their recovery speed. Male cats can be returned to the trapping site 24 hours following neutering, as long as they are fully awake and do not require further medical attention. Females need 48 to 72 hours of recovery, depending on their specific circumstances. You may return nursing mothers 24 hours following surgery, once they completely regain consciousness, so they can get back to their kittens. Forty-eight hours is sufficient for a routine spay, and 72 hours is recommended if the cat was pregnant. Make sure all cats are fully conscious, clear-eyed, and alert before release, and check the incision on females once more before releasing them. A small amount of redness is normal, but puffy swelling or bleeding at the suture site warrants veterinary attention.

Our reference in preparing this article was the Guide to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Colony Care offered to every attendee of the Alley Cat Allies/ASPCA/Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Colony Care Workshop since July 2014. If you do not already have a copy of this valuable resource to all-things-TNR in New York City, we invite you to take our workshop to become a Certified TNR Caretaker. You will receive a copy of the guide at the workshop.

To learn more about pre- and postsurgical care of community cats during TNR projects, please attend our TNR certification workshop, or our specialty workshop, In-Trap Care of TNR Cats (date to be announced).

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

ACC Cats Quarantined for H7N2 Virus Receive Care, Monitoring at ASPCA Temporary Shelter

(Photo by ASPCA)

(Photo by ASPCA)


National, local agencies take part in massive operation to care for hundreds of cats exposed to H7N2 virus.

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) to resume operations within two weeks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2017 – New York, NY – In coordination with the New York City Health Department (DOHMH) and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) — with funding provided by Maddie’s Fund® — has established a temporary quarantine shelter in Queens to care for hundreds of cats exposed to the avian flu virus, H7N2. Last week, more than 450 cats from ACC shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island were transported to the temporary shelter by ACC and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. The cats will be quarantined at the facility until ongoing lab tests, conducted by the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, show they are healthy and no longer contagious — likely 45 to 90 days.

ASPCA responders as well as volunteers from other agencies are providing ongoing daily care while veterinary experts closely monitor the cats during the quarantine period. While some of the cats are showing mild flu-like symptoms such as sneezing or runny nose, others are doing well and settling in at the temporary shelter.

“I thank our partners at the ASPCA, ACC, Mayor’s Alliance, and Maddie’s Fund for their unwavering commitment to providing the best care for these cats. This unprecedented effort was made possible by their support. We continue to urge New Yorkers who have adopted cats from ACC shelters to be on alert for symptoms in their pets and take proper precautions,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.

(Photo by ASPCA)

(Photo by ASPCA)

H7N2 is a type of avian influenza virus (bird flu) that sometimes mutates and transfers to mammals, such as cats. The Health Department reports that most infected cats have experienced only mild illness, and no other animal species at ACC have tested positive for H7N2.

The Health Department investigation of the H7N2 virus confirmed that the risk to humans is low. There has been only one cat-to-human transmission associated with this outbreak; there have been no cases of human-to-human transmission. Under the Health Department’s guidance, the ASPCA has implemented strict protocols to ensure the safety of the responders and cats. These include decontamination training and personal protective equipment for all individuals in direct contact with cats from this population.

“The ASPCA rapid response team has been nothing short of incredible,” said ACC President & CEO Risa Weinstock. “Within hours they were coordinating groups from across the nation to work with our staff to ensure the best care is provided to those cats in quarantine.”

“Responders from the ASPCA, ACC, and other agencies are working around the clock to safely monitor and care for these cats,” added ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “Once the cats are healthy and no longer contagious, we’ll do everything we can to help them find homes.”

(Photo by ASPCA)

(Photo by ASPCA)

ACC has hired a professional cleaning company to service all facilities and they will resume cat adoptions once the cleaning process is complete.

New Yorkers who adopted a cat from an ACC shelter between November 12 and December 15 should continue to monitor their cats for flu-like symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and runny or red eyes. If such symptoms are present, these owners should take their cats to a veterinarian and inform them that the cats may have been exposed to H7N2. This will allow the veterinarians to make arrangements to prevent exposure to other cats in the clinic.

The sheltering and quarantine operation has been made possible by the generous funding from the ASPCA and Maddie’s Fund, a family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals. Maddie’s Fund has also committed to providing grant support to defray veterinary costs incurred by eligible rescue groups that received cats from ACC and treated them for symptoms associated with the virus, medical care to the ACC cats that are in quarantine, testing and retesting of all affected cats, travel expenses for the shelter medicine intern teams, as well as thorough cleaning of three ACC shelters.

(Photo by ASPCA)

(Photo by ASPCA)

“This has been an amazing collaboration,” said Dr. Laurie Peek from Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. “I have been impressed with the ACC’s efforts to save these cats. Multiple agencies have pulled together to respond quickly and effectively to this outbreak, setting a new precedent on dealing with outbreaks in shelters. This type of collaboration — that puts animals and community welfare first — represents the best of the animal welfare movement. We are immensely proud to work with the ASPCA, ACC, University of Wisconsin’s Shelter Medicine program and all the partners on this response.”

Agencies assisting with veterinary and daily care at the shelter include: ACC; Cat Depot (Sarasota, Fla.); Coastal Humane Society (Brunswick, Maine); Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Bushnell, Fla.); Humane Society for Greater Savannah (Ga.); Longmont Humane Society (Longmont, Colo.); Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals; San Diego Humane Society (Calif.); Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (Madison, Wis.); The Animal Support Project (Cropseyville, N.Y.); Washington State Animal Response Team (Enumclaw, Wash.); and Wayside Waifs (Kansas City, Mo.).

(Photo by ASPCA)

(Photo by ASPCA)

ASPCA Photos & Video
View & Download Photos (Credit: ASPCA)
View & Download B-roll (Credit: ASPCA)

Media Contacts

Katy Hansen, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)
Phone: (646) 847-4653

Kelly Krause, ASPCA
Phone: (646) 784-2098

Emily Schneider, ASPCA
Phone: (646) 291-4575

Julien Martinez, New York City Health Department (DOHMH)
Phone: (347) 396-4177

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)About Animal Care Centers of NYC
Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, taking in nearly 35,000 animals each year. ACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that rescues, cares for and finds loving homes for animals throughout the five boroughs. ACC is an open-admissions organization, which means it never turns away any homeless, abandoned, injured or sick animal in need of help, including cats, dogs, rabbits, small mammals, reptiles, birds, farm animals and wildlife. It is the only organization in NYC with this unique responsibility. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow NYCACC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

New York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneAbout the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
With an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees throughout the five boroughs, we’re one of the largest public health agencies in the world, serving 8 million New Yorkers from diverse ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. With over 200 years of leadership in the field, we’re also one of our nation’s oldest public health agencies. Our work is broad ranging. You see us in the inspection grades of most every dining establishment, the licenses that dogs both great and small wear in open park spaces, the low to no-cost health clinics in your neighborhoods, and the birth certificates received for newborns. The challenges we face are many. They range from obesity, diabetes and heart disease to HIV/AIDS, tobacco addiction and substance abuse, and the threat of bioterrorism. The New York City Health Department is tackling these issues with innovative policies and programs, and getting exceptional results.

Maddie's FundAbout Maddie’s Fund®
Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday® co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $187.8 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie’s Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl from 1987–1997 and continues to inspire them today. Maddie’s Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie.

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.

Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary MedicineAbout the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program is committed to saving animal lives while improving animal health and well-being in shelters through shelter outreach and support, education and training, and the development of knowledge in the field.


(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)
(Photo by ASPCA)

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA

Photo by ASPCA


Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Press Release | Leave a comment