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Posts Tagged ‘feral cat’

Pretty the Coney Island Cat

Pretty the Coney Island Cat © Stanley Fox. December 3, 2014

Pretty the Cat is frequently mistaken for a stray by tourists but this Coney Island cat has long made her home on the Bowery where she is fed year-round by concessionaires. This morning, Coney raconteur and retired arcade owner Stanley Fox photographed Pretty when she jumped on the hood of his car, which he’d parked on the Bowery. Just after he snapped this photo, Pretty ran off to eat breakfast. Ray, who runs the basketball game on the Bowery, had come to feed her, as he does every day. “He stands guard while she eats,” Stan told ATZ, as Ray chased away a big seagull trying to snatch the can of food.

The feline queen of the Bowery is at least 10 or 11 years old by our estimation and is spayed. As we reported last year, after Manny of Coney Island Arcade and Target the Cat left the Bowery for Las Vegas, Pretty came into her own. This feral cat whom only a handful of people could pet in the past became the mascot of the independent game operators. In the summer, you’ll find her grooming herself in the middle of the Bowery unperturbed by passersby and taking a nap in Jimmy Balloons game under the Wonder Wheel sign.

Related Posts on ATZ…

February 12, 2013: Coney Island Cat & Arcade Business Moving to Las Vegas

January 14, 2013: Landlord Evicting Famous Coney Island Cat and His Humans

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

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Coney Island Kittens

Coney Island Boardwalk Kittens, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Since the dramatic rescue of Coney Island cat Snow Coney in November, we’ve written about model programs to manage feral and stray cats at Disneyland and the Atlantic City Boardwalk and asked – Why not Coney Island? It’s about to be launched.

There will be an organizational meeting on April 15th at 6:30pm at the Coney Island YMCA Community Room located on West 29th Street at Surf Avenue. Hosted by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, the purpose is to organize volunteers and support to help the stray and feral cats on the Coney Island Boardwalk. You must register via eventbrite since seating is limited. If you can’t make it on April 15th, follow the project’s new Facebook page or send a note to brooklyn.rescue.umbrella[AT]gmail[DOT]com indicating your interest to be contacted for the next meeting.

You’re invited to an organizational meeting to start a pilot program in Coney Island similar to Alley Cat Allies’ successful Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project to care for feral and stray cats. The program would utilize feeding stations, shelters and TNR—Trap Neuter Return – a humane and effective method of feral cat management that stabilizes the size of the colonies and reduces nuisance behaviors.

In Atlantic City, where the city-approved project was started in 2000, Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats draws visitors from all over the country. Disneyland in California also has a managed colony of 200 feral cats who dine at five discreet feeding stations and receive medical care. The bonus for the community is the rodent population is kept under control and calls to public officials about cats are eliminated.

Meeting organizer Josie Marrero will talk about the feral and stray cat population along the Coney Island Boardwalk, where demolition and redevelopment have displaced some colonies and thrown others into crisis. A video of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project will be screened. A representative of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals committed to solving NYC’s feral cat overpopulation crisis through TNR, will attend to answer questions.

Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty

Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Immediate Needs

–Volunteers to assist with trapping, recovery, and transportation. Let us know if you have TNR certification or experience with feral cats or cat rescue.

–A volunteer coordinator as well to help with social media and fundraising. We would like to raise funds via Indiegogo or Kickstarter and also ask local businesses and property owners for support.

–Recovery space is needed for the cats immediately after trapping and post surgery. It should be a safe, quiet space. Male cats may be released after 24 hours, female cats after 48 hours.

–Approval of pilot program, including feeding stations, shelters and TNR, by the Parks Department and other City agencies, and property owners. Over the winter, BRU volunteers put out shelters, straw and food, only to be admonished and the shelters removed.

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project – Organizational Meeting hosted by Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, Coney Island YMCA Community Room, 2980 W 29th St, Brooklyn, NY 11224. Tuesday, April 15, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

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March 16, 2014: Coney Island Bunny Makes Broadway Debut at Union Square Petco

January 27, 2014: AC Boardwalk, Disneyland Have Model Programs for Feral Cats–Why Not Coney Island?

December 10, 2013: Update on Coney Island Cat ‘Snow Coney’ & His Family

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

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Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project

Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project in Atlantic City. Photo via http://www.facebook.com/AlleyCatAllies

In November, ATZ began a series of posts about rescuing ‘Snow Coney’ and other cats in Coney Island, where strays and ferals live along the Boardwalk. While the cats are being fed by caregivers, they lack winter shelters and medical care. As we previously reported, both Disneyland in California and Atlantic City’s Boardwalk have model programs including feeding stations, shelters, and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to stabilize and manage the cat population.

Disneyland is home to a managed colony of 200 feral cats who dine at five discreet feeding stations and receive medical care in exchange for keeping the rodent population under control. While the Disneyland cats are only occasionally sighted by visitors, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats, founded by Alley Cat Allies in 2000, have become something of a tourist attraction. The national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats cares for the feral cat colonies along the boardwalk as part of a city-endorsed Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. We first heard of the Atlantic City cats after Sandy, when news reports documented their survival. The Coney Island cats also survived Sandy, but are being displaced by development. With the new year and the new pro-animal rights administration of Mayor de Blasio, we would like to see a program modeled on Alley Cat Allies Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project.

ATZ interviewed Alley Cat Allies Interim Programs Director, Aileen Walden, who has been instrumental in the Atlantic City program, to learn how her organization’s success can be replicated in Coney Island. Here is an excerpt:

Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project in Atlantic City. Photo via http://www.facebook.com/AlleyCatAllies

Q: On your website it says Atlantic City Boardwalk’s famous cats draw visitors and admirers from all over the country. This is a really interesting and positive aspect. I would like to know how a feral colony can go from being kept secret by feral cat advocates or considered a nuisance by some locals to world famous and admired. This is a very good selling point for a project in Coney Island!

A: One of my favorite things to share with people is that in 2012, the Boardwalk Cats were named by Atlantic Coast Magazine as one of the top 10 attractions in Atlantic City. Whenever we are down at the Boardwalk, we are stopped by people who tell us that every time they visit Atlantic City, they make it a point to visit the Boardwalk Cats. We also have people who come regularly from Philadelphia, northern New Jersey and NY just to feed the cats. During high season, it’s not unusual for our staff and volunteers to be surrounded by a crowd of people asking us about the Boardwalk Cats and sharing stories of their love for their own cats.

Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project in Atlantic City. Photo via http://www.facebook.com/AlleyCatAllies

Q: Can you tell me how many cats were originally at Atlantic City, the approximate size of the population over the years and today. If the cats are spayed and neutered, doesn’t the size of the colony dwindle or do new ferals and strays join the colony?

A: We had approximately 250 cats at the Boardwalk Colonies when we began. Over the years, we have handled 394 cats there (many within the first 3 years) which would be original colony members, kittens, friendlies that wandered in or were dropped and migration from other city colonies. There are now just 127 cats in those colonies and no kittens have been born in over a decade.

We have found relatively few abandoned cats over the years but there are a few. It’s important to prominently display the local ordinances against abandoning animals when you have colonies at public locations.

There is now a Seaside Heights NJ official colony that the mayor and local TNR group modeled after Atlantic City with support from ACA.

Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project in Atlantic City. Photo via http://www.facebook.com/AlleyCatAllies

Q: How did you manage to get the support of the City for the program and organize the support and cooperation of businesses as well as people feeding the cats?

A: Perseverance, Professionalism and Persuasion. We were reasonably lucky in Atlantic City because early on the head of the Department of Health, Ron Cash, recognized the value of managing the breeding of the cats at the Boardwalk and that removing them wasn’t making a dent. He also recognized the public health and PR benefits of TNR. We also worked closely with the Atlantic County Humane Society who were well-known in the area.

The people feeding were the easiest to convince. Once people know the cats are safe and will remain, they are more than happy to help. The HS and DOH were helpful in relating to business owners who had concerns. The best advice I can give is find the people who care about animals who are opinion leaders. They are everywhere. Elected and appointed officials, media people, wealthy community members, prominent business leaders.

There is no single formula that will work in every community. You need to identify and build a coalition of support for the TNR program. You then need to identify and target the departments and administrators who are the decision-makers for TNR and for Animal Control. I don’t know if Coney Island is a state or federal park but if it is, you will need to identify the decision-makers for that park as well as trying to find sympathetic ears in the Borough. You have an advantage in NY because the Mayors Alliance supports and promotes TNR for outdoor cats and oversees the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, www.nycferalcat.org.

Here are some links to:
Advocating for TNR and humane programs for cats.
Starting a TNR program or organizing what was previously a lot of separate programs and people.

Here is a contact form to send Amusing the Zillion a private message about helping the Coney Island cats. Let us know if you’re interested in volunteering to help organize a TNR program in Coney Island or can provide post-op recovery space for a few days after surgery.

Related Posts on ATZ…

January 26, 2014: Save Coney! Adopt Steeplechase the Coney Island Bunny

January 18, 2014: Coney Island Bunny Rescued After 21 Days on The Run

January 8, 2014: Bunny Returns to Bulldozed Coney Island Garden, Kitten Euthanized

December 10, 2013: Update on Coney Island Cat ‘Snow Coney’ & His Family

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Coney Island Mama Cat and Kittens

This Coney Island Mama Cat is Snow Coney’s mother. She and her new kittens are in immediate need of a foster home. Can you help? November 15, 2013. Photo by Amusing the Zillion

Did you know that Disneyland is home to a managed colony of 200 feral cats who dine at five discreet feeding stations and receive medical care in exchange for keeping the resort rodent free? Since the weather turned colder, our thoughts have been with the abandoned, stray and feral cats of Coney Island, who are on their own. Discussion ensued with Carolyn McCrory, who works in the amusement area, and Dianna Carlin of Lola Star Boutique about launching a group to help the Coney cats. Maybe we could raise funds for prefab cat shelters, organize a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, and find foster homes for the kittens?

We all have pets but no experience as caretakers of homeless cats and are just learning what’s involved. Dianna, who has fostered and helped find homes for three dogs rescued by PJ McKosky of Empty Cages Collective, said he would help. Yesterday, thoughts suddenly turned to action when a very sick white cat, whom we’ve named “Snow Coney,” had to be rushed to the vet who works with Empty Cages.

Coney Island Cat Rescue

Yesterday in Coney Island: Snow Coney the Cat En Route to Vet. November 15, 2013. Photo by Amusing the Zillion

Snow Coney cried in the car, but the fact that he started purring for the vet’s assistant made us feel optimistic. However, Dr. Jill Caruso of Faithful Friends Animal Hospital said Snow Coney was very seriously ill and today we learned he is much sicker than we thought. He had to be rushed to intensive care in another hospital to receive a blood transfusion. The symptoms suggest the cat ingested rat poison.

Donations to cover the cost of Snow Coney’s care, which is rapidly adding up, can be sent to Empty Cages Collective. Questions about volunteering to foster or adopt the other Coney Island cats can be sent to PJ McKosky as well.

Coney Island Cat

Snow Coney at Faithful Friends Animal Hospital. November 15, 2013. Photo by Empty Cages Collective

The mama cat in the photo at the top of this post is a former house cat who is Snow Coney’s mother. We are seeking a foster home for this cat and her kittens after they receive veterinary care.

Since ATZ began covering Coney Island in 2009, the cat colonies have been pushed farther west by the dismantling of Astroland and the demolition of vacant buildings such as the Henderson and the Playland Arcade. In 2010, we wrote about a gray cat who was the last tenant of the Henderson Building after the humans had been evicted by Thor Equities. We soon realized the cat was part of a colony of similar looking gray cats living in the former music hall.

Help Save Coney Island Cats

Yesterday in Coney Island: Snow Coney the Cat En Route to Vet. November 15. 2013. Photo by Amusing the Zillion

The NYC Feral Cat Initiative offers free TNR workshops, classes and events to educate and support colony caretakers. If you have experience managing a feral cat colony or would like to learn and help launch a TNR program in Coney Island, or can foster or provide post-op recovery space for a few days, please send a private message using the contact form at the bottom of this post. You may also leave a comment below or subscribe to the comments. We’ll reply or post updates as soon as more info is available.

Coney Island Cat

Yesterday in Coney Island: Snow Coney the Cat. November 15, 2013. Photo by Amusing the Zillion

UPDATE November 17, 2013:

 Help Save Coney Island Cat ‘Snow Coney’ and His Friends

Snow Coney after blood transfusion at Manhattan Cat Specialists. November 17, 2013. Photo by Gina Manes

Snow Coney is feeling better after a blood transfusion! If not for the swift action of PJ McKosky of Empty Cages Collective, this cat would not be alive today. Donations to cover the cost of medical can be made via www.emptycagescollective.com/donate/.

Here is the contact form to send us a private message about helping the Coney Island cats. Let us know if you’re able to foster or provide post-op recovery space after TNR surgery.

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Related Posts on ATZ…

September 30, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Boardwalk Kittens

January 24, 2013: Landlord Evicting Famous Coney Island Cat and His Humans

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

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Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty

Coney Island Boardwalk Kitty, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

This Coney Island kitten was sunning herself on the Boardwalk over the weekend. Donate to the New York City Feral Cat Initiative. $100 provides a winter shelter and straw insulation for 3 feral cats. $50 sends a TNR coach to provide hands-on assistance to a volunteer who is completing a Trap-Neuter-Return project for the first time.

Coney Island Kittens

Coney Island Boardwalk Kittens, September 28, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

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Related Posts on ATZ…

September 19, 2013: Photo of the Day: Coney Island Parakeets Go for a Walk

June 17, 2013: Photo of the Day: Paquito the Chihuahua in Coney Island

May 8, 2013: Traveler: The Cats of Rimini’s Italia in Miniatura Park

April 1, 2013: Sea Rabbits Swim Ashore in Coney Island, Up For Adoption

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Pretty the Coney Island Cat

Pretty the Coney Island Cat on the Bowery. May 15, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

We’re happy to report that Pretty the Cat is doing fine since Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat moved to Las Vegas. Manny left plenty of food and she is being fed by Jimmy Balloons and his friends. This feral cat whom only a handful of people could pet over the past three years is coming into her own and warming up to her humans. She’s more approachable, too. The other day, we were astonished to see her grooming herself in the middle of the Bowery unperturbed by passersby and rubbing against one of her caretaker’s legs. “She’s a little lonely,” he said. “Target was very territorial and used to beat her up.” Now Pretty is the feline queen of that part of the Bowery though we don’t expect to see her calling people in to play the Balloon Dart like Target did anytime soon.

Pretty the Coney Island Cat

Pretty the Coney Island Cat on the Bowery. May 15, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related Posts on ATZ…

February 12, 2013: Coney Island Cat & Arcade Business Moving to Las Vegas

January 14, 2013: Landlord Evicting Famous Coney Island Cat and His Humans

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

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Target the Coney Island Cat

Target the Cat & Jimmy Working the Balloon Dart, Coney Island Opening Day, April 5, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

We’re sorry to report that our friends Target the Coney Island Cat and his human, Manny Cohen of Coney Island Arcade, are leaving Coney Island’s Bowery forever. Evicted by the landlord, they’re moving to Las Vegas, where Target will prowl the casinos on a leash and hunt chipmunk, says Manny. We’ll especially miss taking photos of the cat working the Balloon Dart with Jimmy. Cohen, who has been a tenant on the Bowery for 22 years, has until May 1 to vacate the premises, according to a court ruling on Monday. “It’s time for me to move on. I don’t have the arcade anymore,” said Cohen, whose business now primarily consists of selling arcade machines and parts. In May of 2010, a terrible fire destroyed his amusement arcade on a day that workers sent by the landlord tarred the roof.

Coney Island Cat

Manny Cohen and Target the Coney Island Cat. Photo © Coney Island Arcade

The future of Target’s feline friend Pretty is uncertain. After Target’s sister perished in the arcade fire, Manny took in the feral calico cat to keep Target company. Pretty’s territory is more wide ranging than Target’s and includes Wonder Wheel Park as well as 12th Street. Though she runs inside the arcade’s warehouse at mealtime and bedtime, neither Manny nor his friends have been able to pet her or get within several inches of her over the past three years. Getting the cat into a carrier and taking her on a road trip would be daunting, so she will remain in Coney Island. The two game concessions that Manny still operates on the Bowery will open on Coney Island’s Opening Day and Easter Sunday. We hope that Jimmy Balloons is able to rent the game for the remainder of this season and that Pretty doesn’t become another homeless Coney cat. She’s had a pretty sweet deal for the past few years.

Pretty the Cat

Pretty the Cat, Coney Island. February 11, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Related Posts on ATZ…

January 14, 2013: Landlord Evicting Famous Coney Island Cat and His Humans

February 21, 2011: Target the Coney Island Arcade Cat & His Friend Pretty

January 26, 2011: Photo of the Day: Henderson Music Hall Cats Now Homeless

May 6, 2010: Suspicious Fire at Coney Island Arcade Building

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