Action Alert from the New York City Feral Cat Initiative
(Photo by Jake Remington) March 22, 2012

Archdiocese of New York Agrees to Meet to Discuss the St. James Church Cat Situation

Please thank them and ask them to let this managed colony stay!

First and foremost, since our last update to you, we can report that the valiant caretakers are getting some food to the cats, but of course this is not how a colony should be cared for, as you all know. We are not putting the cats' health in jeopardy, and we would not use them as bargaining chips. That said, our primary goal is to keep them where they are and restore daily care as quickly as possible.

Secondly, before all of your calls and e-mails were received, the Archdiocese of NYC had insisted that the lockout of the cat caretakers at St. James Church was just a one-parish issue that they would not get involved in. Now, more than 1,000 calls and e-mails later, they have reconsidered. The Archdiocese of NYC has agreed to meet with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals on Tuesday, March 27, to discuss the situation. Obviously, this is much more than a one-parish issue.

Thank you for your articulate and ardent letters and calls urging the church to allow the cats to remain where they are and underscoring the benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). While the benefits of not removing a group of neutered, vaccinated cats living peacefully and being well cared for is obvious to many of us, many people still don't understand that removal just doesn't work.

This small colony of cats has received international attention, and what is decided here will set a precedent for others wishing to evict TNR'ed feral cat colonies from other places. The church has an opportunity to make a wonderful statement on behalf of humane care for feral cats if they make the correct and progressive choice to not remove the cats. We all know that removal is both ineffective and inhumane.

After our many hard-fought battles to get TNR endorsed by the NYC Mayor's office, supported by the endorsement by the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, we can't lose this important high-profile case. This single decision can have far-reaching impact for feral cats everywhere at risk of eviction. Let's make this a win-win-win, for the cause, the cats, and the church!

We will send our next update to you after our meeting with the Archdiocese on Tuesday.



Keep Up Your Efforts!

Help us to keep the pressure on the Archdiocese to help us achieve a successful outcome for the cats at our meeting next Tuesday.

Please contact the Archdiocese of New York to thank the Chancellor, Monseigneur Greg Mostaciuolo, for arranging the meeting with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. Also, please express your wish for the cats to be allowed to stay and be cared for at the church, and also for the church to restore access to feed the cats again until the meeting.

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 communications@archny.org. Father Gonsalves, the Vatican, and the NYC Feral Cat Initiative will be copied on your e-mail.


Talking Points: Defending the Feeding of Feral Cat Colonies

Feeding feral cats is often the source of much conflict between property owners and TNR caretakers around the world. TNR does not stand for Trap, Neuter, and Run! Ongoing care, feeding, and shelter provision are the humane things to do, but also there is a very practical reason for continuing to feed after TNR is completed.

Continued feeding is a vital part of making progress to control a feral cat population in any given area. Without a food source to protect, the resident colony has no incentive to keep other unneutered cats from other colonies off their turf. A cat's natural territorial instinct allows TNR to be completed in one spot, and continuing to the adjoining areas in an effective and methodical way.

Not feeding cats after TNR has the same effect as removal of cats. Without feeding, nothing prevents other cats from moving in; there is nothing for the resident cats to protect and defend.

We aren't advocating for cats to be cruel to each other, but their natural territorial instinct can help to effectively implement TNR across a very wide area, if methodically implemented. It's up to us, then, to provide life-long humane care and food.


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