I will preface all of this by saying the whole experience was/is no doubt the most challenging thing I've done in my life so far! I'm currently caring for 16 cats rescued from the streets of East Harlem, and I can tell you, it's no piece of catnip cake.
Just call it Jenniy's Cat Santuary. I am my own SPCA. There's more work to be done and more cats to help...and I really need your kindness to continue.
Will you help the homeless cats of East Harlem get healthy and find homes? Please consider donating! Any amount helps. Honestly...every single dollar makes a difference. Here's how everything happened:
I'm an animal lover living in East Harlem where there are LOTS of stray and feral cats on the street. It breaks my heart to see these cats and kittens who are hungry or homeless or sick without proper care so I decided to try and do something about it.
In early December I began a TNR project (Trap-Neuter-Return) at a nearby community garden where there was a colony of almost two dozen cats and kittens. I didn't quite know what I was doing — this was my very first project like this — but I was determined to try and help them before the winter fully hit. Luckily, I had help from an amazing fellow rescuer — East Harlem Kitty Rescue
— who had been doing this for years and whom I could not have done this without. Together we managed to trap 23 cats over the course of a week
We spent over 6, 7, 8 hours every day, sometimes sticking it out into the wee hours of the morning in the cold waiting to trap the scared and shy kitties.
During the week we were trapping I spent long hours checking in on the cats twice a day to feed them, clean their traps and try to figure out who was a friendly stray and who was a feral kitty who would be returned to their colony. This was emotionally draining for me as I want to save them all! But I learned quickly that there are feral kitties who would be happier and better off outside with their colony.The whole experience was extremely exhausting and intense, but it was so worth it. I can't give up now.
The cats were brought to the ASPCA where they were spayed and neutered, provided with rabies and FVRCP (feline distemper) vaccines, and treated for fleas and other health issues if they had them. This all amounted to over $300 of initial costs right off the bat that I was happy to pay for out of pocket.
Several cats have been returned to the colony where I've put together shelters to help keep them safe and warm through the winter. We determined that 16 of the cats
were friendly enough — most likely strays who were dumped out on the street or had gotten lost somehow — to be given a chance to be adopted. 6 of them were 5-month old kittens
There was nothing else to do but take these cats in myself. So since December I've been caring for them as their foster mom, spending time with them, feeding them and doing my best to remind them that humans are their friends. It's been such an incredible and challenging experience. (My fiance has been wonderfully patient!)My life has completely changed for the better because of this experience and I want to keep doing whatever I can to help these cats in my care as well as the cats of the neighborhood. They deserve it!Here's why I need your help.
I've been paying for all of this out my own pocket and I admit it's been a bit of a struggle. It's amazing how much food and litter costs add up with the care of these guys, plus my own 3 kitties. And so I'm asking for your help...any little bit you can give would be so greatly appreciated and 100% will go towards helping these cats and continuing to help the cats of East Harlem.You donations will help me:
- Cover food and litter costs as I foster these kitties and help them find furever homes
- Pay for further health care costs including medicine for upper respiratory infections and FIV/FELV testing (feline aids and feline leukemia)
- Cover costs of building more warm shelters
- Donate food to the wonderful people in the community who regularly feed cats in various colonies
- Continue doing more projects by starting the East Harlem Cat Rescue TNR Fund and helping more cats in my neighborhood.
My deepest gratitude to you, and heartfelt thanks to the incredible work and support of these organizations without whom this would be impossible: ASPCA, Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Feral Cat Initiative, Neighborhood Cats, Alley Cat Allies.How I got started:
I started with regularly feeding a couple of cats outside my building during the winter (which I still do). Then I set up a warm shelter for them to protect them through the cold. I wanted to do more so I started researching online, which led me to learning about TNR and how it helps cats stay healthy and safe. And by keeping the population down this benefits the cats as well as the entire community. Before attempting TNR I had taken in 3 friendly stray cats who have since been adopted into loving homes. Love to Ziggy Stardust, Freddie Mercury (aka Cat Stevens), and Elton John.The benefits of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) via Alley Cat Allies:
Thank you so much for your generosity! If you have any questions about TNR or shelters or caring for cat colonies in your area please don't hesitate to contact me.