Last Saturday, some of Williamsburg’s cutest kittens gathered in the backyard area of the Beehive Salon and Downtime Spa (115 N. 7th Street). They were the showcased items of a kitten adoption event put on by Empty Cages Collective, a local animal advocacy group.
In all, one adult cat and 13 kittens drew the “awwws” of both onlookers and prospective parents. Of this group, seven of these felines found probable new homes as a result of the event, which ran in conjunction with the ASPCA’s pet adoption week.
Established in January, the non-profit Empty Cages Collective is focused mostly on Trap-Neuter-Return efforts, which seek to control the population of an area whose a booming feral cat population is partly attributable to its many industrial expanses.
“We target the feral cats, but inevitably, you end up with little kittens that are completely socializable and in need of a home,” said Shawn Young of Empty Cages.
To trap them, they use a “humane trap,” the basic concept of which is to lure cats into a cage with food before a door – activated by their bodyweight – closes behind them.
Lisa Vallez, also of Empty Cages, said many domestic cats that find themselves in the streets, but don’t have the instincts to make it.
“Domestic cats might figure it out or they might now. But it’s not a kind thing to [leave them on the street],” she said, adding that it’s easy for people with even a basic knowledge of cats to tell the difference between feral and domestic cats.
In order to be adopted, kittens must be at least two months old, the youngest age at which they can be neutered. Empty Cages takes kittens to the Humane Society for the ASPCA for this.
Until then, the group keeps the kittens in a holding area, the location of which they would not reveal due to concerns about animal cruelty.
If not found by TNR problems, cats reproduce twice to three times a year, leading to a population explosion that is gaining recognition as a problem in the city, according to Vallez.
“[The feral cat population] becomes geometric and outrageous. TNR is the humane alternative,” she said.
Vallez was pleased with the success of an event.
“It was fantastic overall,” she said
“We got a lot of positive feedback. People just walked in from the street, people who saw it online and people who saw the fliers. I was actually surprised by how crowded it was.”
Empty Cages Collective will host another cat adoption event on October 4 at the pet shop Muddy Paws (447 Graham Avenue).
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