Target: CVS Pharmacy
Goal: Keep feral cats in their home
A feral cat colony makes its home behind the Jericho Turnpike, East Northport, New York CVS store that has been tended by Bill and Mary McDonnell for the past few years. The colony has made its home behind the CVS for about 8 years, blending in almost without a trace with the bamboo forest behind the store’s back parking lot. The colony contains about a dozen cats. It is maintained by the McDonnell family, who have been caring for the cats for years. They have paid to spay, neuter, and vaccinate the colony so it will not get out of control or be a danger to the public. The McDonnells provide food and water as well as some covered nests and a wooden play structure for the cats. However, CVS is threatening to forcibly remove the cats from their natural home.
Diane Farella, of The Long Island Cat Project, has worked with feral cat colonies for 20 years and says relocating a cat colony is rarely effective. Cats will almost always return to the area. The most humane way to manage a colony is through a trap-neuter-return programs which keep odor and howling associated with mating behaviors under control.
“As they are fixed, they also tend to get friendlier and there’s a better chance that they can be adopted,” she said.
A trap-neuter-return program works by trapping stray and feral cats, already living outdoors are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized by veterinarians. Tame kittens and cats are adopted out, which immediately reduces the number of cats in the colony. Healthy adult cats, too feral to be adopted, are returned to their familiar habitat to live out their lives under the care of volunteers who supply them with food, water and shelter. Volunteers, like the McDonnells, keep watch over the colony and identify any newcomers. Already spayed and neutered cats are identified by tipping the left ear. If the newcomers are not already tipped, they are captured and taken to be fixed, then returned. This prevents the cats from breeding and creating a larger and larger colony.
The cats in this colony are already spayed, neutered, and vaccinated. The colony will get no larger through breeding cats, and the mating howls are eliminated. The cats are not bothering anyone, and should not be removed. Tell CVS to allow these cats to keep their home.
Dear CVS Pharmacy,
Please allow the feral cats behind your East Northpike, New York store to keep their home. The cats are not bothering the public, as they are mostly hidden in a bamboo thicket behind the back parking lot. They are spayed and neutered, keeping the population from growing, and vaccinated, keeping the public and other animals safe.
These cats deserve to stay in their home. Their care does not fall upon your company, as the McDonnells have agreed to provide for the colony. Moving the colony is ineffective, since feral cats usually return to the site of removal. Leave the feral cats alone– they aren’t bothering anyone.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons