Saving Bronx Cats

IMG_1334I got a phone call in early October to help with a dying kitten in the Bronx. I ended up in a 2BR apartment with a couple who were clearly overwhelmed. They love cats, and they tried to do the right thing by taking in just three cats who needed homes, but they didn’t keep up on the spay and neuter. The original cats had litters, and those cats had litters, and before you know it they had 35 cats in their home and they’re overwhelmed. Minutes after I arrived the kitten I had originally come for passed. Not even 2 weeks old, he had an infected bite wound on his head that had abscessed, unnoticed. The back bedroom is for the kittens, but many die from lack of care. They have so many cats that they could not remember all of their names or tell me how many there were.

I’m a little overwhelmed myself. I’m in production for a new Broadway show and we’re in our 8am – 11pm days, 6 days a week. But I couldn’t not help them. They needed help badly; about 25% of the cats in their home were approaching sexual maturity and the house was about to have a huge population explosion.

IMG_1326I quickly arranged for a day of mass spay/neuter, with an ASPCA truck coming to their home and picking up as many of the cats as possible, returning with them the next day – and I got very lucky. When I called the ASPCA, they had a truck available a mere two days later. They are a fairly amazing resource in New York City for this kind of work. A friend of mine whom I partner with on many spay/neuter projects very generously made herself available to be at the apartment with the truck on short notice when I could not, and she added a few Bronx-trapped feral cats to the truck load.

IMG_1379A few days after the first big spay/neuter I stopped by the apartment with supplies. While this project is primarily about stopping the cycle of reproduction and ending the deaths in the house, it was also an opportunity to teach the residents to care for the remaining cats as well as possible – good quality care does not have to be expensive. I brought new, large litter pans to replace the tiny, overflowing ones, 160lbs of clumping litter with scoops that will last longer, smell better and be more sanitary than the non-clumping litter, and 50 lbs of dry food and 150 cans of wet food that are solid quality nutrition that is not outrageously expensive. I also reached out to rescues and rescuers known to me to take a few of the most vulnerable cats, and a huge thanks to Anjellicle Cat Rescue, Companion Animal Trust, and Little Wanderers for their help and assistance in getting them to safety and making them available for adoption.

There is a little clean up still to do: there are three cats that we could not get access to on the initial day and I’ll have to return for them as well as the moms who are now nursing and their kittens. I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks. Once my show opens, in early December, I will switch focus to adopting out as many cats as the owners will allow; they have already given up 7 and are expected to surrender more.

IMG_1333Thus far the bill has been $1357 for spay/neuter which also included rabies and FVRCP shots, FIV/FeLV testing, flea treatment, and round trip transport – not too bad. In addition, I have spent approximately $200 on supplies. This project had to move quickly, so I financed everything out of my pocket hoping that people might want to help me once I got a chance to write this all down! I estimate that the total cost of the project will be approximately $2000. In addition to spaying and neutering every single cat in the house that is of age, I would like to be able to provide funding for any group that steps up to help me to fund their expenses, especially if they take a young kitten. At this point I intend to stop asking for donations when and if I hit $2000 and holding off until I determine if more funds are necessary. Any excess funding will be given to the 501(c)3 groups that have helped me on this project; I do not intend to keep a dime. IMG_1445While the people who live in the apartment will be asked to contribute, they have modest means. I think this is worth doing, not just for them but for the animals who live there, for the animals who will now not be born (and perhaps die) there, and for the sake of public health before this home becomes a law enforcement situation. If you would like to help, I would be very grateful. If you’re looking for a good number, $55 provides one cat with all of the basic services. I have partnered for this fundraising with the Social Good Fund so that your donation is to a 501(c)3 and is fully tax deductible; we are one of their sponsored projects.

Thank you so much for your help.

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