It Sucks To Be A Stray Cat In New York City

June 16, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Stray cats have a rough time, especially during “kitten season,” when cats breed and cat shelters fill up with hundreds of homeless kittens that they then have to try to find homes for. Being a stray cat sucks, but it’s even harder to run a cat shelter. DNAinfo talked to a number of cat shelter employees all over Brooklyn, and they all expressed similar sentiments to what Sean Casey of Sean Casey Animal Rescue said:

“It’s really hit full speed,” said Sean Casey, who runs the rescue and said it averages more than 100 calls per day in warmer months. “We’re getting constant calls. We’re overrun with kittens.”

People are trying to help by bringing the cats to shelters, but unfortunately are overwhelming the already resource-thin organizations. Sean Casey Animal Rescue and Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition in Williamsburg are both already at maximum capacity, with Sean Casey taking in somewhere between 30 and 40 kittens in the past month. People call or show up with kittens, hoping to find them a home, and they get turned away. How heartbreaking is that? Taking these adorable kittens to a shelter thinking you’re going to save them, because the kind shelter people will be able to help, only to be turned away at the door, like weary travelers at an inn being sent back into the dark forest.

Plus, there are older cats already there taking up space that could be used for kittens (a cage that holds a single adult cat could hold a litter of kittens), but older cats are adopted much less frequently than kittens, especially during kitten season.

And it’s not just stray cats reproducing and swelling populations, either: People whose pet cats aren’t spayed or neutered and have kittens will abandon those kittens at shelters or in parks. So spay and neuter your pets. It will help the problem.

Perhaps the best solution for people who don’t want large numbers of feral cats running around is to contact a trap-and-return organization, like Bedford Corners Community Cats in Bed-Stuy, that sterilizes stray cats and then releases them back into the wild, now unable to reproduce.

(Photo: Andrey)