Posts Tagged ‘TNR’

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats banner painted by Marie Roberts

Look for the Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project on Pet Day at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, June 14, on the Boardwalk under this beautiful banner painted by Marie Roberts. Stop by their tent on the Boardwalk across from the Wonder Wheel to learn how this new group of volunteers is helping the feral and stray cat population of Coney Island.

Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project

The T of TNR: Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project first rescue trapping. June 8, 2014 Photo © Tricia Vita

The Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project is just winding up a very successful first week of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) rescue trapping. Beginning last Sunday, 28 cats were trapped, with 20 sent to the ASPCA’s Glendale facility for spaying and neutering.

“Thank you to everyone who made this possible,” said Josie Marrero, founder of the Coney Island Boardwalk Cats Project. “Drivers, trappers, brain stormers, those very special ladies who helped get the clinic appointment, Wheels of Hope Guides. The cats need us all working together so they can have a chance at a better life! The work is just beginning. We have 15 clinic spots for July. Hopefully, that number will also go up to 24.”

Coney island Boardwalk Cats

This pregnant cat will be fostered and get veterinary care while she has her kittens. June 8, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

The majority of the cats have now been returned (the R in TNR) to their Boardwalk colonies after a few days of being cared for by CIBC volunteers in donated recovery space in Borough Park. The building, which is a garage, is in the process of being sold and a new recovery space is needed after July for the group to be able to continue their work. (more…)


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Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project

Alley Cat Allies Boardwalk Cats Project in Atlantic City. Photo via

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

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

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

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,

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

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.


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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