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


Related Posts on ATZ…

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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