We recently completed a new TNR project in Bushwick. This time around we went to the opposite end of the neighborhood, up where all the bars and restaurants are.
This project was pretty straightforward: a feeder was taking care of about 10 cats outside of her apartment on the Bushwick/Ridgewood border (near the L train at Jefferson). The cats were well cared-for and had a pretty solid routine. The population had basically doubled in the past year due to new births so the feeder reached out for help. We checked out the scene, a multifamily apartment building with alleys between each building. There was plenty of space to set up traps without drawing a lot of attention, and since the feeder had been so consistent, it was unlikely the cats had alternate food sources. We also found:
Malibu had been hanging around the property for a few days, she wasn't part of the colony but had clearly found out there was food to be had. She was very friendly so we couldn't help but take her in until we could get her fixed.
We rented traps from the Neighborhood Cats trap bank and booked spots at the ASPCA clinic. On Saturday, March 10th, we set them up around the property. The feeder had obliged (begrudgingly) to stop feeding 2 days before so the cats were very interested in the baited traps. We caught them in waves, 4 at first, then 3, then 3 more by evening. We also set traps nearby at a friend's house who had been noticing a near-constant stream of cats wandering by her home. This netted 3 more cats!
Back at our place, we trapped one very annoyed black male cat. Another acquaintance trapped one more cat (a semiferal they had been slowly taming from their back yard) for a total of 15 cats. We set them up in our "cat room" and cared for them until the spay day on Tuesday.
Despite our friend's generous loan of her car for a lot of this, it wouldn't be big enough to move 15 cats in traps at once. I had heard that the Mayor's Alliance offered free transportation in the past, but frankly I thought it would be all booked up for months in advance. This was not the case (at least for me!) and I was able to request transportation from our home to the clinic and back. This is an incredibly useful tool to have, and I can't thank the MA enough for providing this service to us car-poor New Yorkers.
The surgeries went fine (although 2 of the cats turned out to be already neutered!) and we got them home and situated for their recovery. After surgery the cats smelled better, but taking care of 15 cats on top of our resident felines is a ton of work! We released the already-neutered cats the next day, and then the male cats after 48 hours. The females were released the following day, and despite scampering off at high speed, all were soon seen back in their usual haunts within a day or two.
In some ways this was a textbook TNR project. But then this happened: