"Stray cat patrol: Feral felines deployed in NYC war on rats" by Verena Dobnik Associated Press October 22, 2016
NEW YORK — Multitudes of feral cats roam New York City’s concrete jungle, and some now have a practical purpose: They’re helping curb the city’s rat population.
A group of volunteers trained by the NYC Feral Cat Initiative traps wild cat colonies that have become a nuisance or been threatened by construction, then spays or neuters and vaccinates them. The goal is to return them to their home territory, but some end up in areas rife with rats.
That's ‘‘free of charge because they’re protecting wildlife in the city, and the cats get a second chance at life.’’
Except for the rats, of course.
Feline rat patrols keep watch over city delis and bodegas, car dealerships and the grounds of a Greenwich Village church. Four cats roam the loading dock at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, where food deliveries and garbage have drawn rodents for years.
‘‘We used to hire exterminators, but nature has a better solution,’’ said Rebecca Marshall, the sustainability manager at the 1.8-million-square-foot center. ‘‘And cats don’t cost anything.’’
What, letting nature take its course and not messing with it?
The program is run through the privately funded Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters. It estimates as many as half a million feral and stray cats roam New York’s five boroughs.
The life of a street cat is a tough one. Some are former pets, abandoned by owners. Plenty die of disease and malnutrition or are hit by vehicles. Others ingest poisoned cat food — set out deliberately to get rid of them, cat advocates say.
Many of the animals are displaced as a result of New York’s development, with new construction creating perilous conditions for those that once inhabited the city’s nooks and crannies, from vacant lots, decaying factories, and empty warehouses.
One colony of two dozen cats living in a lot on Manhattan’s West Side are about to be displaced by construction on a new $3 billion office tower. A City Council member is working with residents and developers to make sure the creatures are moved to a safe location....
How many homeless humans are there in New York City?
I went to pet him and he clawed the crap out of me.
"Free vaccinations offered to halt spread of fatal feline disease" by Amanda Burke Globe Correspondent October 22, 2016
A virus killed several cats in Mattapan last week, prompting officials to offer a free mobile clinic where pets could be vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease in cats that spreads through bodily fluids. The disease is caused by feline parvovirus and only affects cats, with kittens between the ages of 3 and 5 months most severely affected, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and fever, and the virus, also known as feline distemper, can cause “sudden death,” according to veterinarian Kyle Quigley .
Quigley said he notices the virus is more active in the fall.
“We see cases of panleukopenia around this time every year” Quigley said. “Almost every cat is exposed to panleuk it in its lifetime, this just happens to be a little bit of a cluster.”
A cats’ gastrointestinal tract is first infected with the virus, which then spreads to bone marrow and white blood cells.
Quigley cautioned that the diseases’ symptoms could be confused with less lethal conditions, making vaccination all the more important.
“It is pretty contagious, but luckily the vaccination is highly effective,” Quigley said.
“I’ve had this cat for nine years and I don’t want anything to happen to her,” said Robbie Murphy, who was waiting to have her cat vaccinated. “She’s part of my family.”
More mobile and low-cost veterinary clinics are needed to meet the medical needs of cats and dogs in Boston, said Rescue League President Mary Nee....
I love animals, too, but what about.... people?
These vaccine guys want to get a needle into anything that moves.