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Cat in car engine

Cold-Weather Precautions to Keep Outdoor Cats Safe


Cat in car engine.The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals urges New Yorkers to check for animals taking cover before starting car engines

Thursday, January 16, 2014 – New York, NY – With the cold weather underway, New Yorkers need to take special precautions to ensure the safety of small animals, especially cats, who live outdoors. These animals often seek shelter and warmth by crawling beneath the hood or inside the wheel well of cars parked outdoors or in garages, making themselves vulnerable to injury — or worse — when drivers start their engines. Cars that have been parked overnight (and therefore do not provide warmth) are less of a risk than those that have been parked a short amount of time. To keep animals safe and to prevent damage to vehicles, drivers need only bang on the hood or honk the horn for a few seconds before turning on the ignition.

The fate of one local cat shows what happens when such precautions are not taken. Earlier this month, a two-year-old, orange domestic shorthair cat known as The Deputy was fatally injured when he sought shelter under the hood of a car parked in Washington Heights. When the driver started his engine, the cat’s leg became caught and his left paw was severed. While he managed to escape, he developed an incurable infection and, after suffering agonizing pain for several days, had to be euthanized by a veterinarian.

Said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance: “With the current freezing temperatures, we need to be extra vigilant about the welfare of animals living outdoors — especially feral cats, who are forced to find inventive ways to stay warm. Taking 30 seconds to check for cats before starting your engine can mean the difference between life and death.”


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 no-kill community by 2015, meaning that 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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