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Ossining Event Builds Shelters For Feral Cats

Volunteer Madalyn Grano of Shrub Oak works on a cat shelter.
Volunteer Madalyn Grano of Shrub Oak works on a cat shelter. Photo Credit: Gene Lugo

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Winter shelters for feral cats in Westchester will be built Saturday, Oct. 15 when LIFELINE Cat Behavior Solutions in Briarcliff observe National Feral Cat Day.

The goal is to construct 100 winter shelters.

The build event will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ryder Park pavilion. The shelter materials are paid for by donations. Every $50 raised funds one shelter. Each shelter can house two cats, said a release.

Events like this will be held nationwide. They raise awareness about feral cats and Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR, a humane and effective method of care that improves cats’ lives.

Alley Cat Allies, a national advocate for feral and stray cats, and TNR authority launched National Feral Cat Day in 2001.

Through TNR, outdoor cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be evaluated, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.  While under anesthesia, the cats are ear-tipped—a small portion of the left ear is painlessly removed for identification, the release explained.

The cats after recovery from the the sterilization surgery, are then returned to their outdoor home.

The unnecessary killing of cats in animal control pounds and shelters is the leading documented cause of death for cats in the United States, according to the release.

“Feral cats are the same species as pet cats, but they live outdoors and can’t be socialized to people,” said Paula Garber, owner of LIFELINE Cat Behavior Solutions.  “Most animal shelters across the United States kill virtually all feral cats who come through their doors because they can’t be adopted. We’re honoring National Feral Cat Day by urging shelters and pounds to adopt TNR as their approach to feral cats because it saves lives and improves communities.”

In 2014, Westchester County installed a County-assisted TNR program, the first of its kind.

Several municipalities in Westchester have also established TNR programs, including Cortlandt Manor, Dobbs Ferry, Ossining, Peekskill, Yonkers, and Yorktown.

For more information about National Feral Cat Day, click here.

To donate toward a winter shelter for Westchester’s community cats, click here.

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