Action Alert from the New York City Feral Cat Initiative
(Photo by Maggie O'Neill) March 21, 2012

St. James Church Continues to Forbid Feeding Cats

Please encourage the Archdiocese to let this managed colony stay!

Thank you so much for taking the time to write on behalf of the feral cats at St. James's Church. Your e-mails alone are 700+ in number so far, and we know your voices have been heard through phone calls also!

Please continue your phone calls and e-mails to the Archdiocese of New York. They could fix this situation with one phone call from the Cardinal. The Archdiocese is answering phone calls and respectfully listening to callers. However, they have been telling people that they are working with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, but can't divulge the details. The Archdiocese has not yet agreed to meet with us, saying it is a parish issue not involving them, so this is not true.

Father Lino Gonsalves, the priest from the church, is still holding his position that the cats must go away, and he's removing food put out by caretakers near the locked courtyard fence in an effort to starve them out.

Many well-meaning people are asking why we don't just relocate the eight cats. We will make sure these cats have a safe outcome, but please understand for the sake of feral cats everywhere, we must do everything in our power to allow continued care of the cats where they are, on the church grounds.

Why? If the church succeeds in having the cats unnecessarily relocated, this will become an "endorsed" solution, inciting others to demand that caretakers everywhere remove unwelcome cats.

St. James Church requested the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project in the beginning, before any feeding was taking place. All of the feral kittens were trapped, tamed, and adopted at great investment of time and energy of volunteers, not to mention expense not reimbursed by the church. If the eight cats are removed, within six months the church will be calling again to remove a new colony of unneutered cats who will have moved into that protected and secluded haven. Relocation, therefore, is neither a realistic nor humane solution.

The church must allow the cats to remain and be lovingly cared for!

Keep Up Your Efforts!

Contact the Archdiocese of New York to politely express your concerns about the well-being of the cats at St. James and St. Joseph's parish and your wish that Father Lino Gonsalves meet with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals to develop a humane plan for their feral cat colony. 

1) Call Joseph Zwilling, Communications Director for the Archdiocese of New York, at (212) 371-1011 x2997. 

2) E-mail the Archdiocese of New York at Father Gonsalves, the Vatican, and the NYC Feral Cat Initiative will be copied on your e-mail.

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