At BaxterBoo.com, we’ve been concerned about our furry and non-furry friends on the East Coast and the catastrophic storm they’ve been through this week. I have heart for the stray cat populations because of my own experience of not knowing where my forever home would be… not once, but twice. So I am pleased to give you an update on some of these cats in the affected areas.
The Celebrated Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats
In Atlantic City, there is a famous colony of cats living under the boardwalk. I am happy to report that the resilient cats there are already returning to their homes and taking up their important jobs of rodent control and being a tourist attraction. And folks at the Alley Cat Allies are on the scene rebuilding feeding stations and shelters and providing supplies to the cat colony caretakers.
The population of the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk cats once numbered 300. Now with careful management, this healthy family numbers 120. How can this be? Don’t worry! This was one of the first cat colonies managed with TNR, which means Trap, Neuter, and Return. This began back in 2000. See, we cats serve a valuable purpose, even when we aren’t living in homes. We control rodent populations, and diseases. Plus, we just look good!
What’s More Humane?
Before the TNR program was developed, (this is really difficult for me to say… give me a moment) some people felt that to control our populations, they would have to capture and kill us. They felt our outside lives were terrible, and that they were doing us a favor by choosing to end our lives.
Sometimes living on the streets is tough, and as a petite girl myself, I’m not sure I would have thrived outdoors like I am in my comfy family home and at my job at BaxterBoo. But given the choice, I’d choose to live! And the TNR programs are helping outside cats live better lives by ending the drama that comes with the constant issues of reproduction (no more cat fights, wondering how to feed the babies, etc.) Not only does that help stabilize our population, but it gives us a chance to get vaccinated to prevent disease. This means we live stable lives with more food available to us.
When we used to just be trapped and killed, this would create a well-known phenomenon called a “vacuum” where more cats would move back into the territory the original cats had settled in and guarded and continue to reproduce. And the cycle would continue. Obviously this system didn’t work very well, and shelter workers who got into the job to help animals get overwhelmed and demoralized having to control the populations with mass killings. It is heartbreaking! Even now, 7 in 10 cats admitted to shelters are killed.
This just shouldn’t be the case, folks. Again, we cats fill a valuable roll in the environment, especially with so many predators that have been killed off. We may be predators, but we are less scary than some of the wilder alternatives! Consider the two island examples of the Marion and Macquarie islands where cats were eradicated with horrible methods over decades only to have rabbits eat nearly all the vegetation and rodents consume bird eggs. This resulted in ecological devastation! See this article for more information:
So I am happy to report that this celebrated cat colony in Atlantic City is recovering. We cats are tough and clever, and those cats must have known to get to higher ground! In fact, one hotel doorman weathering the storm reported seeing 25 cats walking in single file during the eye of Hurricane Sandy, heading to safety! We cats are a wonder!
With all my love and support,
Ms. Bella Boo
P.S.: To support relief efforts to the Atlantic City cats and other managed cat colonies hit by Hurricane Sandy, visit Alley Cat Allies.