Save Loews Cats!
Loews resorts in Orlando, Florida—the ‘pet-friendly’ hotel chain—is inhumanely trapping and removing healthy, neutered feral cat colonies from its properties. Here you’ll find up-to-date information on the situation and ways you can help save Loews cats.
In January 2012, three Loews resorts in Orlando, Florida, (Loews Royal Pacific, Loews Portofino and Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resorts) began considering a plan to remove healthy, neutered feral cats from managed colonies on their grounds. Although Loews had previously supported the Trap-Neuter-Return efforts, their abrupt turnaround put the cats’ lives at risk. Alley Cat Allies, along with others, reached out, offered guidance and assistance, and hoped that Loews would make the right choice and allow the cats to stay in their home.
In April, Loews decided to move forward with their trap and remove plan. They hired a trapper, and the cats’ caregivers were forbidden to continue to care for them. The cats were left in traps for up to nine hours, baking in the hot sun in temperatures of 90 degrees, with no food or water. Eyewitnesses posted photos of cats who were injured from the frantic struggle to free themselves—at least three with bloody noses, another with a gash on her head.
Loews goes to great pains to sell itself as an animal-friendly hotel. But these vaccinated, healthy, neutered cats are being taken from their colony—their family and their home.
Alley Cat Allies has been working with local groups to secure the cats from animal control and move them to safety.
January 2012—Multiple constituents reach out to Alley Cat Allies, alerting us about cats who are members of a Trap-Neuter-Returned colony and are in danger at Loews hotels (Loews Royal Pacific, Loews Portofino and Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resorts) in Orlando, Florida. The colonies were previously welcomed on the grounds, but new management is calling for their removal.
First week of January – Alley Cat Allies connects with the cats’ main caregiver, a former employee who leads the TNR efforts at Loews. We learn that the lives of 23 healthy, well cared for cats are now in jeopardy.
January 11 – Alley Cat Allies reaches out to Loews management offering advice and support.
January 11 – The cats’ main caregiver calls frantically. He has been given two weeks to remove the cats, but he already sees traps out and set.
January 11 – Alley Cat Allies sends a moratorium letter to management calling on Loews to halt trapping.
January 12 – Alley Cat Allies learns that trapping has halted, for now. Loews Florida resorts comment on their Facebook page, asking for feedback from the public on the situation. They hear from dozens of people urging them to support TNR.
January 12 – Alley Cat Allies hears from Loews that they are “considering options.”
January 13 – Alley Cat Allies contacts the local animal shelter and learns that five cats were already trapped on the property and killed at the shelter in early January.
January 13 – Through a letter, Alley Cat Allies again offers assistance and guidance to Loews and tries to confirm that trapping has halted.
January 13 – Loews sets up an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, to “welcome any viable suggestions.”
January 18 – Alley Cat Allies sends our first e-action alert to our constituents. More than 6,000 people send emails to Loews Orlando management, urging them to embrace TNR and talk with Alley Cat Allies.
January 26 – A representative from a local group meets with Loews management to tour the property and discuss the benefits of TNR and the health of the cats. Loews management refuses additional guidance and continues insisting on relocation.
January 30 – Alley Cat Allies sends another letter to Loews management, calling on them to do the right thing for the cats and work with us to find a viable solution that will take everyone’s needs into account—staff, guests, and cats.
February – Loews remains silent and uncommunicative about finding a humane approach for the cats.
March 27 – Loews distributes a memo to their employees ordering them to stop feeding cats or risk being fired.
March 28 – Alley Cat Allies receives a call from a supporter informing us that Loews has buried a comment on their Facebook page announcing their decision to “relocate cats to the shelter.”
March 28 – Alley Cat Allies reaches out to a local TNR group, CARE, to confirm that Loews has resumed trapping cats.
March 28 – Traps are seen on site at Loews.
March 29 – Alley Cat Allies sends a second e-action alert to our constituents, this time directing them to reach out to Loews corporate headquarters in New York. More than 10,000 people take action.
March 30 – Despite thousands of pleas to let the cats stay, a hired exterminator traps the first cat in months, Abbie, and removes her to the animal shelter. She is released to CARE by the shelter.
April 4 – Four more cats are trapped and removed from the resorts. Two show up at the shelter with bloody injuries on their noses. They are released to CARE by the shelter.
April 4 – A sixth cat—Shadow—is trapped and removed. Shadow shows up at the shelter with a large gash across her forehead; this is a result of her terrible experience being left in a trap all day, in the sun, without food or water. She is released to CARE by the shelter.
April 5 – Alley Cat Allies sends out our petition calling for Loews to stop the trapping. By the third day, signatures on the petition reach 20,000 and counting.
April 5 – Oreo, the colony’s “mascot” cat, is trapped and removed. He is released to CARE by the shelter.
April 6 – Three more cats are trapped and removed. All are released to CARE by the shelter.
April 7 – One more cat is trapped and removed. He shows up at the shelter with injuries on his nose. He is released to CARE by the shelter.
April 9 – Alley Cat Allies hand delivers the first round of signatures from our petition—numbering 11,000—along with a letter to Loews management. We again call on Loews to halt trapping.
April 12– Alley Cat Allies delivers an additional 9,000 signatures to Loews Orlando resorts executives and the total 20,000+ to Loews corporate offices in New York.
April 12– Alley Cat Allies announces a protest to be held in Orlando on Saturday, April 14 to call on Loews to stop their inhumane treatment of cats.
April 12– Alley Cat Allies hears from Loews after months of outreach, but their goal in calling was an attempt to persuade Alley Cat Allies to support their removal of the cats. We asked for an immediate moratorium on the trapping, but our request was denied. Alley Cat Allies will not support any effort to remove these healthy, neutered, and harmless cats from the home they have known for years.