New York’s Architects Support Community Cats

The crowd favorite community cat shelter on display at the fifth annual 'Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter' fundraiser to support the NYC Feral Cat Initiative was 'Re-Tire-Tent,' a multi-level recycled tire tower created by Narofsky Architecture. (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

The crowd favorite community cat shelter on display at the fifth annual “Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter” fundraiser to support the NYC Feral Cat Initiative was “Re-Tire-Tent,” a multi-level recycled tire tower created by Narofsky Architecture. (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

On January 14, 2016, close to 200 people attended Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter, a unique exhibit, cocktail reception, and fundraiser held at the Steelcase Showroom to support the New York City Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI), a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

This year, the event’s fifth, seven prestigious New York City architectural design teams presented winter shelters they conceived and created specifically for the city’s community cat population. Creations included The Purrramid from Spacesmith, a pointed structure with a paper mache exterior over repurposed carpet-tile insulation; Kitty Kondos, feline multi-story housing from HLW International; and the Hamilton “Cat”sule Tower from Docomomo US.

Shelters demonstrating innovative use of recycled materials were also on display, including an orange-and-white-striped, plastic construction barrel shelter with an insulated liner from deSoto studio Architects; a winding, industrial pipe shelter called HV A Cat from Biber Architects; and a tire tower called Re-Tire-Tent from Narofsky Architecture that guests voted as their favorite.

Leslie Farrell, animal lover and founder of Architects for Animals, was on hand to thank guests for showing their support, and the design teams that donated shelters for this year’s exhibition. “We are grateful and overwhelmed by their creativity and generosity,” she said. “Their compassion for animals who find themselves living on the harsh streets of New York is really heartwarming. Each year we see different trends demonstrated by the shelter designs, and this year, it’s exciting to see many of the shelters constructed with recycled materials, which is great for our planet and its inhabitants — including the cats. All the shelters were wonderful.”

“The Purrramid” from Spacesmith was a decorative as well as functional community cat shelter on display at the 2016 "Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter" exhibit. (Photo by Thea Feldman)

“The Purrramid” from Spacesmith was a decorative as well as functional community cat shelter on display at the 2016 “Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter” exhibit. (Photo by Thea Feldman)

The shelters were delivered the very next day to Certified TNR Caretakers around the city.

Jane Hoffman, President of the Alliance, commends the architectural and design community in New York City for, “once again, investing in the city’s feline community in an important way. While we urge the public to help in the Alliance’s efforts to humanely curb the feral cat population,” she adds, “the efforts of our designers will help keep the existing cats warm during these harsh winter months.”

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New York Architects Create Innovative Shelters for Feral Cats

'The Purrramid' by Spacesmith (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

“The Purrramid” by Spacesmith (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter features imaginative feral cat shelters on display at Steelcase Showroom

Thursday, January 14, 2016 – New York, NY – A unique exhibit that combines the love of architecture with the love of animals was unveiled this afternoon at a special press preview of Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter. On display at the Steelecase Showroom were winter shelters designed, built and donated to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals by respected architecture and design firms as well as individual architects and designers. Specifically created for feral and stray “community cat” colonies in New York City, the exhibit will be unveiled to the public at a fundraising event this evening benefiting the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

Among the architectural firms and individuals participating in this year’s exhibition are:

Following the exhibition, the shelters will be evaluated by the Alliance and installed in community cat colonies across New York City. Designed to keep outdoor cats more comfortable during the cold winter months, the shelters are also meant to serve as inspiration for others to build their own shelters if they see an animal in need.

'HV A Cat' by Biber Architects (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

“HV A Cat” by Biber Architects (Photo by Carol Zytnik)

On site this afternoon were Leslie Farrell, Founder of Architects for Animals; Mike Phillips, Coordinator of Community Outreach for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals; and various architects, designers, and feral cat experts.

Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, said, “I’d like to thank the architectural and design community in New York City for, once again, investing in the city’s feline community in an important way. While we urge the public to help in the Alliance’s efforts to humanely curb the feral cat population, the efforts of our designers will help keep the existing cats warm during these harsh winter months.”

Feral cats are not socialized to humans. Cats that are born outdoors and have little or no interaction with humans become feral. The NYC Feral Cat Initiative is committed to solving NYC’s feral cat overpopulation crisis through the humane, non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). This is how TNR works:

  • First, stray and feral cats, also called “community cats,” are humanely trapped by volunteer certified TNR caretakers who bring the cats to a free or low-cost spay/neuter clinic or veterinarian where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped.
  • The volunteers then return the cats to the original colony. The volunteers also provide ongoing care of the cats, including daily food, water, and clean-up of the area, shelter, and monitoring of the cats’ health.

This ongoing surveillance ensures that any new cats that find their way into the colony will be removed if they are tame, or TNR’d if they are feral.

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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. We are supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receive no government funding. Since our founding in 2003, we have 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. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org

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

Hold That Tiger! TNR Holding Space Tips

A classic holding space for TNRed cats. (Photo by NYCFCI)

A classic holding space for TNRed cats. (Photo by NYCFCI)

New Yorkers are famous for — out of necessity — getting creative with small spaces, and the New York City Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals knows that this is especially true for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) caretakers. As the NYCFCI’s Director of Education Kathleen O’Malley cites, “In a perfect world, all TNR caretakers would be able to get all their cats TNRed in one fell swoop.” The NYCFCI encourages mass trapping in its TNR certification workshops because doing so makes it easier to ensure that all the cats in a colony have been spayed/neutered as well as given health checks and vaccinations. Mass trapping is also good for community relations in that it quickly eliminates the noises and smells of the cats’ mating behaviors and the resulting litters of kittens.

However, in order for caretakers to do mass trappings of their cats, they need access to adequate holding/recovery spaces. “The classic recovery space setup,” says Kathleen, “is an entire room with enough space to line traps up on tables with room for the caretaker to clean all the traps and prepare food and water.” Basements, garages, enclosed porches, or another spacious, separate area can serve the purpose, but they can all be hard to come by. Until now. Thanks to its TNR Networking Survey, the NYCFCI now has a confidential database of Certified TNR Caretakers around the city who have access to and are willing to share decent-sized holding spaces. The NYCFCI shares this information on a case-by-case basis with permission from the people lending the holding spaces. Everyone who completes the NYCFCI’s TNR certification workshop receives the survey shortly after taking the workshop. If you need to update your information from the survey, please email info@NYCFeralCat.org, or watch your e-mail for the next monthly TNR Caretaker Update.

If access to a large space is still not an option, the NYCFCI has a number of tips gathered from Certified TNR Caretakers that it hopes will inspire others doing TNR. For one thing, Kathleen points out, “Trapped cats don’t have to rest in the exact same spot where you do the cleaning and feeding.” You can have the cats rest and recover in one area and have the workspace in another area. Or, you can have a workspace that is just large enough for you to clean one trap and feed one cat at a time. You can move traps and cats one at a time back and forth between the resting space to the workspace.

A rolling baker's rack allows you to maximize the number of TNR traps you can fit into a small holding space. (Photo by NYCFCI)

A rolling baker’s rack allows you to maximize the number of TNR traps you can fit into a small holding space. (Photo by NYCFCI)

As for the resting space, it can also be quite compact if all the cats are from the same colony. (Kathleen does caution that “If you’re trapping cats from two or more colonies at the same time, they should be kept separate for infection control.” See more on infection control below.) Traps can rest on shelves, planks of wood on the floor, or on any other stable spot that is easy to keep clean. The folks at Bronx Tails Cat Rescue have what Kathleen calls an “elegant way” to use a small laundry room for recovery: a rolling baker’s rack that accommodates multiple traps. Sturdy plastic sheets placed on each shelf prevent leakages onto lower traps.

NYCFCI also has tips for caretakers who may be concerned about the potential risk of any infections spreading while cats are being held, no matter the size of the space. Kathleen notes that “trap covers not only keep community cats calm in captivity, they also help prevent the spread of airborne contaminants.” Trap covers also will keep fleas from spreading in the unlikely event that they leave their host cat. However, if you need added peace of mind about fleas, Kathleen suggests you ask for a topical flea control product to be put on the cats when they are at the spay/neuter clinic. Another option is to put oral flea medication into the cats’ food after they’ve been trapped. Check with your vet about the proper medication and dosage.

It is worth bearing in mind, Kathleen says, that cats from the same colony are used to living in close proximity to each other and therefore, if there is any infection going around, they were probably exposed to it before they were TNRed.

It is recommended, though, that you wear shoes and protective clothing, including rubber gloves, that you change out of when you leave the holding space, in order to keep any contaminants from spreading to your pets or to other colonies you may have in other holding spaces. In addition, be sure to dispose of dirty trap liners in a covered container and launder dirty trap covers. Once all the cats are safely back in their colony or colonies, clean and disinfect all traps and surfaces you used for their care. The NYCFCI offers an Infection Control workshop. For information on that and other NYCFCI workshops, visit the TNR Specialty Training Workshops in NYC page.

You may be in a position where the most you can do is TNR one or maybe two cats at a time. That, Kathleen says, is just fine. You will, she assures you, “get that rush of satisfaction from returning those first couple of cats to their colony.” She urges you to keep going until you eventually TNR the entire colony. “The benefits,” she says, “are well worth it.”

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Alliance Keeps Petra & Pets Together Through Crisis

Thanks to the Alliance's Helping Pets and People in Crisis program, Petra Sanchez's beloved cats went to temporary homes until Petra got the in-hospital care she needed and was able to return home. (Photo by Jenny Coffey)

Thanks to the Alliance’s Helping Pets and People in Crisis program, Petra Sanchez’s beloved cats went to temporary homes until Petra got the in-hospital care she needed and was able to return home. (Photo by Jenny Coffey)

2015 has been a groundbreaking year for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and we are projecting a 90% community-wide Live Release Rate! In celebration of our dedicated community partners who have made this achievement possible, we are sharing their success stories with you this month. Thanks to their tireless efforts, and to your consistent support of the Alliance programs that facilitate their work, we will continue to make huge strides for the homeless pets and community cats in our city in the new year.

“If the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals didn’t help me, I would not have gone to the hospital,” says Petra Sanchez. She recently developed an infection related to diabetes that required hospitalization, but because she could not find anyone willing to take care of her two cats, BooBoo and Little Boo, she was reluctant to be away from home to get the treatment she needed.

When the Alliance heard about Petra’s situation, our Helping Pets and People in Crisis program quickly found temporary care for both cats. The Alliance created this program in response to the many requests we receive from people who are facing heartbreaking separation from their pets during times of crisis. Knowing that her cats would be well taken care of and then returned to her once she came home gave Petra the peace of mind she needed to go into the hospital.

Within two weeks Petra was back home and so were her cats. Petra says, “If it weren’t for the Mayor’s Alliance, I would not have known what to do.”

An Even Brighter 2016 for NYC's Animals!

Our Life-Saving Initiatives Need Your Support This Holiday Season!

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ programs strengthen the operations of our community rescue partners to help them save the lives of more homeless pets and feral and stray community cats. Our shared mission is to transform New York City into a more humane community, where no dog or cat of reasonable health or temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home.

Our vision is now a reality for tens of thousands of NYC’s animals each year. With your help, we can save even more precious lives in 2016!

Please consider making a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation to support the critical programs and services that have helped save more than 275,000 animals since 2003.

Save a Life. Donate Now.

   

Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Fundraising, Helping Pets and People in Crisis | Leave a comment

Alliance Helps HVARS Find New Homes for ACC Pets

The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals' Wheels of Hope was able to transport Dee Dee to Hudson Valley Animal Rescue & Sanctuary just in time for her to find a quiet foster home where she gave birth to seven healthy puppies. (Photo by Carol Rothschild)

The Alliance’s Wheels of Hope was able to transport Dee Dee to HVARS just in time for her to find a quiet foster home where she gave birth to seven healthy puppies. (Photo by Carol Rothschild)

2015 has been a groundbreaking year for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and we are projecting a 90% community-wide Live Release Rate! In celebration of our dedicated community partners who have made this achievement possible, we are sharing their success stories with you this month. Thanks to their tireless efforts, and to your consistent support of the Alliance programs that facilitate their work, we will continue to make huge strides for the homeless pets and community cats in our city in the new year.

Every day of the year, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ Wheels of Hope (WOH) vans transport companion animals from the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) to other Alliance Participating Organizations who have the resources to find them new homes.

In 2015 alone, WOH vans delivered approximately 600 animals to Hudson Valley Animal Rescue & Sanctuary (HVARS), located in Poughkeepsie, about 90 miles north of New York City. According to HVARS’ Karen LeCain, approximately 550 of them have already been adopted. “It would be impossible to save this number of animals,” Karen says, “if we didn’t have the Wheels of Hope program to help with transport.”

The Alliance works directly with ACC to arrange for transport and takes new animals to HVARS at least twice a week. One dog who recently benefited from this collaboration is Dee Dee, a medium-sized terrier who arrived at ACC shortly before she was about to give birth. Dee Dee needed a quiet place to have her puppies, HVARS agreed to take her, and the WOH set up an emergency transport. “It would have been impossible for us to drive to the city,” says Karen, “so this is just another case where the WOH has come through for our organization and an animal in need.”

Once they are old enough to be weaned, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped Dee Dee's puppies will be available for adoption from HVARS. (Photo by Carol Rothschild)

Once they are old enough to be weaned, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped Dee Dee’s puppies will be available for adoption from HVARS. (Photo by Carol Rothschild)

Dee Dee delivered seven beautiful, healthy puppies in an HVARS foster home. All will be up for adoption after they are weaned, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.

While HVARS’ main focus is cats and dogs, they are committed to rescuing and rehabilitating animals of all kinds. Chickens, doves, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, a goat, a lamb, a pig, and a turtle were all on the WOH passenger list to the facility in just the past year. “The Wheels of Hope program,” says Karen, “is one of the main reasons that our rescue has grown so much over the past five years.”

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

An Even Brighter 2016 for NYC's Animals!

Our Life-Saving Initiatives Need Your Support This Holiday Season!

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ programs strengthen the operations of our community rescue partners to help them save the lives of more homeless pets and feral and stray community cats. Our shared mission is to transform New York City into a more humane community, where no dog or cat of reasonable health or temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home.

Our vision is now a reality for tens of thousands of NYC’s animals each year. With your help, we can save even more precious lives in 2016!

Please consider making a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation to support the critical programs and services that have helped save more than 275,000 animals since 2003.

Save a Life. Donate Now.

   

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dogs, Fundraising, Pet Adoption, Pet Fostering, Wheels of Hope | 1 Comment