Over a year and a half ago, Greenpoint resident Shane Gill began feeding a colony of feral cats on Eckford Street. The Cats had congregated at a construction site there, which lay dormant due to a stop work order. Now, construction is set to begin again, and the cats’ displacement is eminent. Gill reached out to the Greenpoint community for advice about how to help relocate his feline fellows, and Greenpoint residents responded with overwhelming support for our neighborhood cats.
New York City has over 500 registered feral cat colonies, and north Brooklyn has a variety of organizations devoted to community cats. There’s West Street Whiskers, The Greenpoint Cat Club, Whiskers-a-GoG0 North Brooklyn Cats, and Bushwick Street Cats, There has even been a movement to turn Bushwick Inlet Park into a feral cat sanctuary.
There has been so much ferment of felines in New York City because the construction boom that has done so much to gentrify the city and displace its residents has had a similar affect on its animal populations. In the case of feral cats, the New York Times reports, “vacant lots, old factories, former warehouses and even shuttered hospitals are being redeveloped, forcing colonies of strays to find new habitats.” As part of this process, developers are also laying traps and poisons that kill cats.
But, nobody’s buying the developers-need-to-dispose-of-cats narrative here in north Brooklyn. Referring to the cat colonies at Greenpoint Landing, Assemblyman Joe Lentol told the Times, “If they can make room for 10,000 people, they can make room for a few dozen cats.”
And the City doesn’t buy it either. Since 2012, New York has officially taken a no-kill approach its feral cat population, favoring instead the Trap Neuter Release (TNR) process, which Whiskers-a-GoGo calls “the only humane and effective way to control the free-roaming cat population.”
If you’d like to help keep Greenpoint’s cats in the community, you can attend the next Neighborhood Cats TNR workshop on Saturday, May 5th at 11am at the Dekalb Library (790 Bushwick Avenue).