Mind the signs: Brooklyn Bridge Park asks visitors to stop feeding feral cats

Mind the signs: Brooklyn Bridge Park asks visitors to stop feeding feral cats
Feeding Time: Brooklyn Bridge Park-goers have been spotting cats in the green space, such as this one being fed by an animal rescue organization.
Photo by Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition

Stop feeding the feral cats of Brooklyn Bridge Park! Just stop!

An animal welfare group is begging Brooklynites to stop providing nourishment to a colony of feral cats in Brooklyn Bridge Park because these random acts of kindness and nutrition are making it more difficult for volunteers to corral the foraging felines and get them spayed and neutered.

“When we find that someone’s thrown an entire chicken in the park, the cats are obviously not going to pay attention to our food,” said Anne Levin of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Animal Welfare Coalition, which is trying to lure the wild beasts with their own offerings.

Park officials put up signs last year to discourage feeding, but the messages have gone unheeded, added coalition member Julia Rassmann.

“I don’t think most people notice the signs,” said Rassmann, whose group also runs the Cat Café on Atlantic Ave. “I think only we’ve noticed them.”

The effort is a part of an ongoing partnership between Brooklyn Bride Park coalition to manage the cat population. Volunteers from the welfare coalition use food to lure the cats to designated feeding stations where they can be monitored and trapped for relocation and adoption.

But months after posting the signs, one volunteer said there are still cats evading the traps because of interference from park-goers who feed the animals. The cats have less incentive to take the food in the feeding stations when they’re being fed elsewhere, according to Rassmann.

And the coalition says the cats that have been left unchecked are now threatening neighboring wildlife, particularly the birds around Pier One. Rassmann said the park is discussing ways it can redo the signs to better inform visitors about the rescue efforts, which will hopefully make it easier to better care for the cats.

“Long-term, we want to make certain these cats have a decent quality of life,” she said.

Not everyone is so fond of the felines.

“I don’t like that there are cats around because my dogs always react to them,” said Ursula McGee, who frequently herds pooches — cats mortal enemies — through the park.

Don’t feed the cat: A sign in Brooklyn Bridge Park urges park-goers to stop feeding the cats in the area.
Photo by Saul Marquez

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