Greenpoint cat lovers need a helping hand to care for wild kittens.
India Street resident Anna Melnyk, who brought cat food and fresh water a feral cat colony on her block for several years, died unexpectedly during a heat wave earlier this month.
Now the neighborhood’s top cat caretaker, Tory Bond, needs new volunteers to help nourish the estimated 17 to 100 cats and kittens around West Street.
Workers from the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals spayed and neutered several colonies in northern Greenpoint, and built specially-designed cat shelters for two colonies that Bond regularly visits.
Animal experts caution people should not try to handle feral cats since they can bite and scratch when their space is invaded.
“Feral cats don’t want to be handled by people and don’t want to be touched,” said ASPCA feral cat liaison Jesse Oldham. “Give them some space. They don’t want to buddy up to you. They’re not warm and cuddly. They just want to survive.”
Bond worries constantly about the safety of her cats.
The animals regularly endure rainy weather, extreme heat, aggressive pigeons, construction vehicles, and harassment from human interaction.
In the winter, Bond dug out one colony’s shelter, which had been entombed under several feet of snow.
She says the cats appear healthier since a new pier opened off India Street this summer. Before that, people left broken bottles and garbage on the block, which imperiled the kittens.
Now, their habitat is protected by a concrete barrier, and Bond can feed the cats in relative peace. Right now, the biggest problem is strangers who leave food, as the cats are on a strict schedule and diet.
“I appreciate people’s kindness, but overfeeding is a problem,” she said. “And people leave food in cans with the tops open and cats can cut their tongues and paws. There’s a great need for volunteers on a regular basis, worked into a schedule.”
For info on becoming a volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.