The problem of feral cats and the long-term community solution to the situation was recently brought to the attention of the Village Officials Association. While some villages, notably the Plaza, have a very visible population, others have pockets of homeless cats known only to local residents. Although approximately 200 cats are being fed locally by a band of volunteers, no one knows the exact count of feral cats because some homeowners quietly feed cats they see roaming their neighborhoods.
GN Village Officials Association President Leonard Samansky welcomes Dr. Gay Senk from the Long Island Cat Project to the evening's meeting.
Dr. Gay Senk, a veterinarian who founded the Long Island Cat Project, spoke to the assemblage about the successful reduction in these populations when communities address the problem by trapping, neutering and releasing (TNR) cats back into their territory of origin.
Nationwide, it is estimated that there are 60 million feral and stray cats living on the wild side. One breeding pair of cats and their offspring can produce a staggering number of 400,000 cats in 7 years.
The Long Island Cat Project, through its dissemination of information to help feral cat rescuers and care givers to implement a humane and effective solution toward resolving the feral cat problem on Long Island, has made great strides in linking and coordinating efforts. Visit their website at www.licp.org.
Not only is TNR more effective than trapping and euthanizing, it is also less expensive. The cost of euthanization ranges from $61 to $175 per cat while the average cost to spay/neuter and vaccinate runs between $35 to $65 per cat.
Dr. Senk urged the VOA to take action quickly because we are entering the "kitten season."
The Town of North Hempstead has the responsibility for animal control and in the past has funded an organization, HUGS, to coordinate low cost spay and neuter assistance for residents seeking help with feral cats. However, since that organization has been overwhelmed with calls for help, Great Neck cat activists have started to get more organized so that they could also raise money to help defray the costs of TNR.
The establishment of a shelter for cats has been plagued with difficulties and currently the town is in litigation with a contractor.
As a result of the VOA informational meeting, Rafe Leiber, a Village of Great Neck Plaza trustee, will serve as liaison to the local activists to help them take the steps necessary to incorporate and handle funds.
Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman told the Record that the town is seeking to expand its efforts in the area of controlling feral cat populations and is accepting proposals for funding from more local groups that could address local problems.
The next meeting of the Great Neck cat activists will be held in the evening on Monday, March 24. Please call 482-8912 for more information.