Giving Shelter 2013 a Great Success

Unlike the Florida communities of Indian Harbour Beach and Pompano Beach, New York City allows—even encourages via the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals—the ongoing care of stray, abandoned, and feral cats. And, thanks to Architects for Animals, some of these cats are going to be living in style.

Although, as New York Times Home & Garden writer Joyce Wadler observed, “not a single client was present” at Giving Shelter 2013, it was clear that participants in the competition “had taken pains to address the needs of the users.” Read more

Giving Shelter 2013

As I often to say: It’s hip to be tipped. And, thanks to Architects for Animals and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, some of New York City’s hipster street cats will soon have accommodations to match their image. Thursday evening is the third annual “Giving Shelter” fundraiser, a friendly competition for which area architects design innovative outdoor cat shelters (which are later donated to caregivers).

This year’s event will feature entries from Callison Barteluce Architects, Francis Cauffman Architects, a team of students from City CollegeH3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, M Moser, Pilot Projects, Stonehill Taylor, Zimmerman Workshop, and last year’s winner, designer Kathryn Walton—who also happens to be the founder, president, and treasurer of The American Street Cat, Inc. (“just blue collar folks working for blue collar cats,” as the organization’s website puts it).

If the photos from previous years are any indication, there’s bound to be some spectacular designs!

All proceeds go to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, a program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. For tickets, reservations, or to make a donation, click here.

Where: Steelcase Showroom (4 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019)
Thursday, January 10, 6:00–8:00 pm

Loews Update: 10 Cats Trapped So Far

For those of you not following the Loews Cats story on the Vox Felina Facebook page, here’s a quick update…

For more than a week now, cats have been trapped at both the Portofino Bay Hotel and Royal Pacific Resort properties. From what I can tell, all 10 that have been trapped have been taken to Orange County Animal Services, where they are subsequently bailed out by volunteers for CARE Feline TNR, Inc., the same organization responsible for the sterilization, vaccination, and long-term care of the Loews cats. (This is done, as I understand it, in collaboration with Orange County Animal Services—OCAS provides the veterinary services, and CARE agrees to provide ongoing care.).

Six or seven cats (reports from caretakers have, understandably, not been entirely consistent) have yet to be trapped.

Frequent updates have provided all week on CARE’s Facebook page, as well as on the recently launched Save Loews Cats Facebook page (which has attracted 1,659 “Likes” in just eight days!).

Inexcusable Conditions
On Thursday, Alley Cat Allies co-founder and president Becky Robinson published a letter on the Care2 website in which she criticizes Critter Control, the pest control company hired by Loews, for “clearly not following humane best practices.”

“We have heard reports of cats being held in the traps outside for hours. The average temperature in Orlando in the past five days has been 89 degrees; today’s heat index is expected to be 97 degrees. There is no indication that proper protocol for trapped cats—visiting the traps every hour, keeping them covered with a towel to minimize the cats’ anxiety, and removing them promptly—is being followed.”

Indeed, an update (sent from one of the caretakers) posted Wednesday on the Save Loews Cats Facebook page reads: “Just reported that there is a cat in a trap at Royal Pacific howling and baking in the sun. Somebody please stop them!”

Later that same day, a photo of Shadow—an open gash on the top of her head—was posted on CARE’s Facebook page with a note reading: “Others have sustained injuries similar to this.”

Earlier this week, Alley Cat Allies started a petition “calling on Loews to stop trapping cats right now” and, according to one of CARE’s “Bailout Team Members,” also made a “generous donation toward the purchase of crates and relocation supplies so very much needed to move the Loews/Universal cats to a safe permanent location.”

No Viable Option?
For its part, Loews has been pretty quiet—hardly surprising, in light of the coverage the story has received, from the mainstream media to various online cat-friendly outlets, including CatChannel, Catster, and Petside.

On Friday, however, the luxury chain was responding to e-mail inquires this way:

Thank you for contacting us. We hear your concerns and understand there are many reports circulating of inhumane trapping. These are not accurate. We continue to re-locate feral cats to the Orange County Animal Services Center and are working closely with the team there. Everything is being handled with the utmost care by experts. Orange County Animal Services was on-site with us as recently as last night for a detailed review of everything we are doing and advised us that they had no concerns with our process.

To provide you with more background, please understand that we reviewed our practice involving feral, free-roaming cats and talked with numerous agencies, including Orange County Animal Services. We met with a local feral cat group to seek their assistance in the re-location, but they felt they could not support this change. For more than two months, we sought input from the public on a solution for re-locating the feral cats. No viable option emerged, after weeks of diligent outreach.

It is important to note that the Florida Department of Health states that feral cats pose a continuous concern to communities due to the persistent threat of injury and disease. The priority at our hotels is the health and safety of our guests and team members.

We would encourage you to review the Florida Department of Health’s Rabies Advisory Committee position statement on this issue. You may access it here:

Page vii (near the bottom) and continuing on page viii.

Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando

Well, as always, I’m here to help. And the best way to do that—to prevent any Loews team member or guest from being exposed to rabies or, more broadly, “the persistent threat of injury and disease”—is to discourage people from going there.

Any empty resort is, as they say, a safe resort.

Please help spread the word!

•     •     •

CARE needs our help finding permanent homes for these cats. If you know anyone with a farm, barn, stable, etc. who might be interested, please email:

South Jersey Feral Cat Relocation Project

South Jersey Feral Cats

Save the Animals Foundation, Inc. and the Animal Protection League of New Jersey—working closely with other cat rescue and wildlife groups—are relocating a colony of feral cats from their current South Jersey location to nearby farms, horse stables, wineries, and the like. (Both STAF and APLNJ support TNR as the most effective means to reduce the feral cat population, and use relocation only in very rare circumstances.)

These cats are currently being cared for by a community of fisherman and their families, but their proximity to a wildlife preserve requires that we move the cats onto private property. And soon! The preserve is home to several species of birds threatened or endangered in New Jersey, and the breeding/nesting season is almost here! Any cats not relocated in time (the exact deadline remains unknown) will be trapped and put down.

Most of the cats are already sterilized and vaccinated, and have had a general health check—but there are a few “hold-outs” still to be trapped. (ALL cats will be sterilized, vaccinated, and given a clean bill of health prior to relocation.)

Anticipated expenses include:

  • Any necessary spay/neutering and vaccinations
  • Fencing and other materials for enclosures
  • Special cat fencing (e.g., Cat Fence-In, Purrfect Fence, etc.)
  • Food

How You Can Help
We are searching for anyone in the area (southern NJ, eastern PA, northern DE, and northeastern MD) who’s able to provide a “home” (e.g., yard, stable, barn, etc.) for some of these cats.

Tax-deductable donations can be made via FirstGiving. All donations are greatly appreciated!

NOTE: Any funds raised in excess of our goal will be used for future TNR efforts in the area.

Not in a position to make a donation at the moment? No problem—you can still help by sharing with your network of friends, family, co-workers, etc. Sharing via Facebook and Twitter is especially easy: just use the buttons under the “Donate” button on the FirstGiving page.

Thank you for your interest in these cats, and for your generosity.