Right now, tens of thousands of homeless cats are struggling to survive on the streets of New York City. These cats, suffering from disease, starvation, and neglect in all weather extremes, continue to grow in number each year. Overburdened, city shelters are forced to euthanize seventy percent of all incoming cats.
Adoption versus TNR
To solve our city's homeless cat crisis, we have to distinguish between stray cats, whom are domesticated, friendly to humans and prime for adoption, and feral (wild) cats, whom are not socialized and unable to be adopted.
Rescue agencies provide stray cats with food, temporary shelter and extensive veterinary care, including spaying/neutering. Fully recovered cats are then placed as companions in well-screened, responsible households, where they are given a second chance at life.
Feral cats, unable to be adopted, are handled a bit differently. In some parts of the U.S., cruel, outdated methods such as lethal elimination or relocation are still used. Much more effective and humane is the trap-neuter-return (TNR) method, in which feral cats are trapped, neutered, given a rabies vaccination, eartipped for identification and then returned to a managed colony on the street. Each colony is assigned a caretaker who provides ongoing care, including daily food and water, shelter in the winter and health monitoring. New cats that attempt to join the colony are removed for adoption if tame and TNRed if feral. Over time, the colony will face attrition as the cats age and die from natural causes. Learn more about the NYC Feral Cat Initiative.
You Can Help!
- If your cat isn't already spayed/neutered and microchipped, take action with these low-cost options. Unwanted litters and lost cats are unpredictable, so don't take the chance.
- Adopt or Foster: The best way to help is to adopt a feline friend. If you can’t make that kind of commitment, temporarily fostering a cat is an invaluable service as it allows rescue groups to maximize their shelter intake and find forever homes for as many cats as possible. Visit Petfinder.com to view local cats in need of homes right now.
- Become TNR certified: Attend a workshop to learn how to care for the feral cats in your neighborhood.
- Volunteer: Cat rescue efforts are always in need of additional hands for cat care. Or, if you have a special skill or service to offer, brainstorm with the organization on how you can help.
- Donate funds or critical supplies: Be sure to call first to see which items are needed most.
- If you ever find a stray cat in need, follow these steps.
Cat Rescue Organizations in NYC
Kitty Kind (located inside the Petco in Union Square)
Uptown Cats (setup every weekend outside the Barnes & Noble on Broadway at 82nd street)
Kitten Little Rescue (summer location on the corner of W 72nd street and Columbus Avenue in front of Chase Manhattan Bank; winter location at the Pet Stop on Columbus Avenue between 87th and 88th streets)
ASPCA Shelter (located on E 92nd street between 1st avenue and FDR)
NYC Animal Care & Control (located on E 110th street between 1st and 2nd avenues)