Join the movement to protect cats

Sign up for our mailing list and learn how you can help us win the battle against unnecessary killing of cats. Sign up now »

Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 1, 2007
Contact: ELIZABETH PAROWSKI, or 240-482-1984; FRANCIE ISRAELI, or 202-207-1134

Alley Cat Allies Responds To Request From Local Groups to Help Save
Feral Cats at J.F.K. Airport

National Organization Cites Recent Harris Survey: Americans Don’t Want Feral Cats Killed in Animal Shelters

Bethesda, MD — Alley Cat Allies has responded to a request
for assistance by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and other local
organizations to help save the lives of feral cats living on the grounds of J.F.K.
Airport. The organization has reached out to the Port Authority of New York and
New Jersey and has requested a moratorium on all trapping until a humane
solution for the feral cat colonies can be discussed.

As the national advocates for feral cats, Alley Cat Allies has successfully
intervened on behalf of threatened feral cat colonies across the country. Last
year, Alley Cat Allies negotiated with representatives from the Army Navy Club in
Arlington, VA when plans to trap and kill a colony of feral cats living on the
property were announced. The cats were safely relocated to a remote area of the
property and are vaccinated, spayed and neutered. Alley Cat Allies hopes a
similar relocation plan can be implemented for the feral cats living at the 5,000
acre airport.

The Port Authority claims the cats pose a risk, because their food attracts birds
that could fly into and damage aircraft engines. Becky Robinson, President and
co-founder of Alley Cat Allies says removing the cats is not a solution. “Birds are
an issue at every airport around the world,” says Robinson. “It is ludicrous to
assume that simply removing these cats will reduce the bird population at J.F.K.”
Robinson points out that the airport is situated on the waterfront next to the
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Alley Cat Allies has appealed to the Port Authority to consider Trap-Neuter-
Return (TNR) as a solution. A properly managed feral cat colony would assure
that food is not available to the birds or other animals. TNR is the recognized
non-lethal method of managing outdoor cat populations. With TNR, stray and
feral cats already living outdoors are humanely trapped, vaccinated, and spay or
neuter by veterinarians. Kittens and social cats are adopted into good homes.

Healthy feral cats are returned to their outdoor habitats where an organized
program of feeding and sheltering the cats is carried out by volunteers.

“Trapping feral cats and bringing them to animal control—where they will be
killed—is not a humane solution and we know that Americans are not in support
of this cruel practice,” said Becky Robinson. A recent national survey conducted
by Harris Group for Alley Cat Allies reveals that an overwhelming majority of
Americans — 81% — believes that leaving a stray cat outside to live out his life is
more humane than having the cat caught and killed. These results reveal a
significant disparity between the public’s humane ethic and the operating policy
of most U.S. animal pounds and shelters.

“Americans need to understand that the killing of feral cats, like those at J.F.K.
airport, happens every day around this nation. Contacting animal control
agencies to remove outdoor cats is handing these animals an immediate death
sentence,” said Robinson. Feral cats are not a threat to humans. They are not
socialized to humans and cannot be adopted, so most shelters kill them. Not only
is this practice cruel, it is also a waste of money and resources and is not
effective in reducing the total number of cats who live outdoors.

Respondents to the Harris survey were also asked to consider the most humane
outcome if they were to assume the stray cats would be hit and killed by a car in
two years; 72 percent said it was still more humane to let the cat live out his
natural life.

The Alley Cat Allies survey also found that more than two in five Americans have
put out food or water for a stray cat, with more than one in five respondents
reporting to have done so in the past year.

For a full copy of results from the Harris survey, “U.S. Public Opinion on Humane
Treatment of Stray Cats” visit


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the nation’s leading advocate for stray and feral cats. Their website is