Colony of feral cats in NYC goes missing without trace. Help needed

Old Man Grey of feral cat colony of NYC that went missing

Over the past two weeks, a colony of feral cats being cared for in the New York City area has mysteriously disappeared one by one. Their loving caretakers are presently trying desperately to ascertain what has happened to seven of the eight kitties that they have been lovingly tending for many years. To say that they are worried about and heartbroken by the loss of their beautiful cats would be a huge understatement.

An extensive search to locate the missing cats was launched by the caretakers; but so far their investigation has yielded no results. What makes the situation even more upsetting is they suspect the cats were subject to foul play.

Old Orange feral cat

On their newly launched website, “Astoria7”  was posted,

“Prior to their disappearance, we learned neighbors discovered evidence of attempted poisoning (open tuna fish cans laced with antifreeze). Shortly after their disappearance, we discovered evidence of trapping. Since we did not find the remains of any of the cats, we can only assume the worst — they were trapped and destroyed.”

“In a span of approximately two weeks, almost an entire colony of alley cats (except one little girl) has vanished leaving neighbors heart-broken and outraged. These 7 souls brightened the lives of many; not just the neighbors who fed and cared for them, but dozens of friends and family who visited us and came to know and love these cats as much as we did. There is no doubt that these cats met with foul play. Prior to their disappearance we learned that neighbors discovered evidence of attempted poisoning (open tuna fish cans laced with antifreeze. These cats would never leave the alley of their own accord.”

On December 15 the caretakers contacted 311 to find out how the missing cats could be reported. The operator told them they had to contact their local police precinct and the call was transferred to the local precinct. There they were told they had to call 911. But when they reached that emergency number they were told that the police would not take action. This information boggled their imagination, leaving them wondering why apparently no one was concerned sufficiently in order to get involved.

Inasmuch as their colony was registered with Neighborhood Cats, the caretakers would have been alerted by email if Animal Care and Control had picked up one of their cats. But they soon learned that they would not have been notified if a cat had been brought to one of the ACC centers. With no further recourse, they drove to NYC’s Animal Care and Control shelters in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, looking for their cats among the dozens of homeless kitties being held in these shelters. Sadly not one familiar face was found.

Making this situation even more dismal was a tweet recently posted on their Twitter page  alerting their followers that

“ASPCA’s humane law enforcement will not open investigation into our missing cats.”

I spoke with Mary, one of the colony caretakers on January 8. Although one female cat remains in their care who was lucky enough to escape this disaster, she is miserable without her playmates. The caretakers need our help to get an investigation underway so they can learn what happened to their cats, and to seek justice for the seven cats who have inexplicably gone missing. I told her we would do our best to lend a hand.

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for these crimes. If you have any information about their disappearance, please contact them at :

  • Call or text: (917) 627-4950
  • Email: astoria7@earthlink.net

How we can help: Spread the word on Facebook, on twitter, email, blogs, and any other social media outlets.

Meet the cats, and read more about them on their website https://astoria7.org/home.html

Photos with Permission of Caretaker

Jo

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Colony of feral cats in NYC goes missing without trace. Help needed — 50 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Jo. Sadly, for me the story simply highlights the war that rages around feral cats: the people who want to do the right thing (TNR etc.) versus the people who believe the solution is to kill them all.

    the police would not take action. This information boggled their imagination…

    The disinterest shown by the police and other agencies does not surprise me at all.

    My impression is that, in general, the police are anti-feral cat and not very sympathetic towards animal welfare even when there is a strong possibility that a crime has been committed. They are selective (as is the case in the UK) about which crimes to deal with. Animals are way down the list. De-prioritised.

    Are police (anywhere, any country) sufficiently animal orientated when carrying out their duties?

    How many feral cats are silently killed by cat haters? This colony was high profile so it gets discussed. How many feral cat colonies are wiped out without anyone’s knowledge?

    I am convinced there is a lot of unreported, unrecorded crime against cats of all types.

  2. A few years ago – also in new york – somebody killed a bunch of newborn kittens with a blunt object in a colony. The mother cats were a total mess after finding their dead babies strewn about and litterally battered to pieces.

    I am sorry but the percentage of f*ck*ng a**holes in America is huge. Being an animal lover in the US would make me want to slash my bloody wrists every other day if I didn’t feel like I had to help these poor animals.

    God I would love to hunt down the people who do this. Have them in the end of my telescopic sights and really scare the shit out of them.

    • Marc, you have great passion and I love that passion. I agree. Can you image the sort of mentality that it takes to smash kittens to bits with a blunt instrument. You have to be brain dead to do that. You have to be devoid of sensibilities and the usual emotions or filled with anger and hate or all of these things. Bl**dy horrible. I’d kill them if I could get away with it.

      • Yeah – actually I apologize for being so blunt. I feel the same way but it isn’t helpful to make defeatist hate filled comments without actually any suggestion of optimism or constructive action. I shouldn’t be so negative out-loud. It doesn’t help anyone.

        I agree with you jmuhj when you say that for evil to flourish all it takes is for good to do nothing. That’s why we have to find a way to fight evil without somehow becoming evil in the process. It’s awful and contagious.

        When this other thing happened in NY with the battered to death kittens I believe they put out a reward as well and they too had little to no help from the law.

        We are alone in this in many ways and we have to do our best and try not to hate and try to help the cats and animals as much as we can. I personally have made it specifically about cats for me because cats are second class citizens even compared to dogs. They need the support unlike dogs and children and other victims of inhumanity.

        The word ‘humane’ is oxymoronic since humans have created some of the worst things and feelings in existence. Also good feelings. However to promote the word ‘humane’ in the context of animal welfare would surely mean that humans would have to be decent and respectful. However a good 50% or more don’t even know where kindness ends and cruelty starts. I think we need to find another more concrete word for all that is good in welfare. Just my two…

  3. I’ll donate another 5000 dollars to anybody who gives information leading to the murder of the people or person who did this.

    • 🙂 well said and a good proposal. The sort of people who do this are anonymous. They do it a night, laying poisoned food down. It is very sad but it is all too easy to kill cats through poison and all but impossible to catch the perpetrator even if the police were interested.

  4. This is terrible! I’m so sad for the people who looked after and loved those cats and that poor little cat left on her own now. It does sound as if they have been deliberately killed by a cat hater or haters.
    People who do these things are not human, they are a race apart, a race of cold hearted monsters and I just hope there is such a thing as Karma to deal with them because even if caught, animal abusers and murderers get away too lightly.

    • We are at war with these nasty people. They are like trolls, anonymous and very unpleasant. More needs to be done, though, to prevent cats becoming feral because they are so vulnerable to these people. I don’t see much going on anywhere to improve cat ownership skills.

  5. It seems so sad that someone decided that an animal that is loved and cared for has to be removed. How hateful is this person(s) that they did something like this. We have no feral colony in our area but if we did our whole neighborhood would help care for them. I hope that someone will step forward to help the caretakers find justice for the missing cats. This is so wrong on so many levels to remove these animals. The not knowing their fate is the worst part of it all. I will be praying for the cats and their caretakers. I hope the remaining cat can be safely kept from the fate of the other colony members.

    • Yes Lorrie – not knowing is awful. One can but assume the worst and given the kind of creativity humans are capable of when it comes to creating a living hell on this planet it’s hard not think the worst.

  6. Poor things. I’m so sorry for the people who have invested so much love, time and effort in caring for these kitties only to have this happen. Heart breaking.

  7. It’s so tragic and heartbreaking, Jo.
    I’m all too familiar with scenarios like this.
    Poisonings happen quite often around me.
    Generally, the cat victims will just disappear. Occasionally, one will just be lying down, sick and dying. Occasionally, a caring neighbor will call me to say that a cat is staggering around or is “down”.
    It’s sickening and no agency (law, animal control, etc.) will act without proof. The only thing that I have been able to prove is that cats are poisoned through toxicologies on three. Forensics are expensive and I had to come out of pocket because the county (animal control) said they couldn’t afford to have it done. That proof goes nowhere. Although I am 99% certain who the monsters are, I can’t prove they are doing it.
    So, because I can’t camp out at my colony sites , the best protection I’ve come up with over the years is to change my routines quite often. I don’t feed or show up in any pattern. It’s really not the best way to caretake because the cats like routine; but, I feel I have to.

    • Nice comment Dee. Dee, you have a lot of experience of feral cats and caring for them. If you have time I’d like you to write a short article in which you provide some advice, gathered through your extensive experience, on how to care for and protect feral cats.

    • Dee I would be willing to chip in or even pay entirely for a closed circuit video cam you could set up on random days and download the data from next time you go there. If they are hidden well which should be easy enough, then you might get that proof you are after. I would be 100% willing to help out in catching them. I believe the cams get better and better now. Main thing is it needs batter power and should record for a good 6 to 12 hours. That would make it pretty effective in random spot checks on your colonies. Or if you have a better idea? I’d be very happy if you succeeded in nailing abusers.

      • Marc, you are just a hunk of hoey, and I will keep that very generous offer in mind.
        What I have been and keep doing is hammering the police to get on the job. I want THEM to set up surveillance.
        I’m relentless. I think some of them see me more than they see their spouses. I’m not shutting up! They’re sick of me, and I rely on that to push them into action just to get rid of me.

  8. Dee- in this case since the cats have disappeared it’s almost impossible to get anything that forensics might show. I do hope those cans of cat food that were laced with antifreeze were kept as evidence for foul play.

    This atrocity has just broken my heart.

    • Toxicologies weren’t any help to me. They only verified that the cats were poisoned but that couldn’t be linked to the culprits.
      If the cans were saved, the fingerprints might be beneficial depending on how they were handled. We have to be our own investigators these days, it seems.
      This NY situation is really bad since it sounds like the colony was in a neighborhood or nearby, a place that would be thought to be safe.

      • Dee- Thanks for your idea about fingerprints- will pass that along to the guardians. Perhaps someone did save them for evidence.

        The neighborhood was safe, and the cats were visited by so many people who adored them- The whole neigborhood is so upset and angry about this.

  9. How sad and awful that it looks like the poor cats have been deliberately killed, I’m so sorry for the people who were taking care of them and who obviously have come to love them. there are some really evil people in the world and sadly mostly they get away with murder, literally

  10. It is a FELONY in all U.S. states except one to harm ANY cat. Law enforcement have too few tools and too little funding to pursue these unspeakable murders in too many cases; how I wish it was legal to hunt the devils who do this down and annihilate them! This is the worst of all crimes, the crimes against the most innocent, blameless and vulnerable of all, and those who should be respected, protected, and loved by all. I advocate for capital punishment for anyone wilfully harming any cat, as was the law in a much more enlightened society, that of ancient Egypt. In the meantime, there are those with little or nothing to lose who may be moved to take matters into their own hands and take out the trash. Just sayin’.

    • Love your fighting talk. The trouble is catching them and the resources and commitment required to catch these cat abusers and to prosecute them. I sense that there are enough crimes committed by people to keep the police fully occupied. I know in Britain the police hand out cautions (warnings) for all kinds of serious crimes such as burglary. If the police in Britain treat burglary as something so minor what chance a feral cat who has been harmed? I have a feeling it is similar in America.

      • Truly. That’s why I truly believe that in any society which purports to be a democracy, the government (and by association, the law enforcement) IS the PEOPLE and the people have to get involved. Those of us who care — and there are millions of us — need to speak up, speak out, advocate, and in the case, as I said, of those with little or nothing to lose and who can afford to deal with these unspeakable crimes committed by soulless devils, DEAL with them. Not everyone can, of course. But there are those who can. Just sayin’.

        • For a long time I have wanted to start a revolution! I am kidding but also serious. There is a need for people to change things. To be more vocal, less accepting and less passive. There are lots of improvements to make and you can’t trust business and politicians to make them.

          • Yes and there are multitudinous statements by great people attesting to the facts that the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing; that it is always right to speak out against injustice; that any society which regards itself as moral prioritizes as its first duty, to protect the most vulnerable, blameless and innocent; and to paraphrase the Christian Bible (a faith of which I am not a member, but I have read one version from cover to cover), ‘What you do to the least of these, you do also to me’ and ‘Better never to have been born that to hurt one of these little ones’…just a few great thoughts from great minds through the ages.

  11. In households throughout the USA, according to an article on ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/06/the-truth-about-cat-and-dog-owners/
    cats are the second most favorite pets. Dogs are still leading the pack, sadly to say. So it seems that cats are stil considered “second class “citizens.. and don’t seem to be as “important” than canines.

    People who hate cats and want to do them harm have very sick and twisted minds and hearts.

    • Actually, those figures are incorrect. There are over 10 MILLION more cats than dogs in domestic homes, making them far and away the most beloved companion animals, for many reasons.

      • Yes – cats are more ‘popular’ but I wonder how many of those are just home accessories. I’ve always maintained as in my comment above that cats are second class citizens in a household. Dogs are always present on the familly xmas card but not cats. I got a xmas card this xmas saying happy xmas from each person in the familly by name, the dog by name, Daisy – …..”and the cats”. From a woman who allows her 2 ladycats to have 2 litters a year and yet seems barely to understand cats, or at least until I started force feeding her with information.

        All those cats in all those homes would make you think otherwise though but I suspect many people get cats because ‘they don’t have to do anything really to look after them’ – and they would have their cats killed the second it gets expensive or tricky. And these people will tell you they ‘love’ their cats. Love is too general a word I’m afraid. It is love with conditions which they are offering. Nothing more. It’s not enough. It’s not empathy. It’s not respect. It’s a teddy bear which moves. Idiots. I always force people to think about how they care for their cats if the subject comes up. Always nicely though. In a matter of fact sort of way. like “ya well obviously if you only ever feed your cat dry food you are looking at kidney problems pretty early on and probably that will lead to death” – so many people only feed dry and their vets say it’s fine. So when I say that in a matter of fact way they get all ansy – which makes me happy because they are thinking. I could go on…. 🙂

        • Don’t get me started Marc- about vets and their dismal knowledge about feline nutrition. It is simply appalling. They get their education on nutrition from the cat food company reps who peddle their wares and hope that the vet will fill their waiting rooms with the crap (pardon my language) that they sell.

          They pander to people who are too lazy to learn about good feline nutrition- saying that dry food cleans the cat’s teeth (UGH)- and that their products are nutritionally balanced and perfect for felines. GIVE me a BREAK!

          I even ran across a message board about feline nutrition administered by two veterinarians who claim that cats can easily digest carbohydrates. WHAT is the matter with these people anyway?

          So many veterinarians don’t truly appreciate that cats are obligate carnivores and primarily need a good quality meat.

          I could go on and on- Marc- I am passionate about this subject. Too many practitioners think that cats are small dogs- and they don’t do justice to their four-legged patients at all. SIGH..

          • Ye I totally agree – vets just say what people want to hear which is the lazy option.

            The lady I often mention with no concept of cat caretaking is sadly not helped because her vet says dry is fine. So even if I tell her other wise she believes the vet more than me. This makes me so angry at the f**ktard of a vet who has a duty and responsibility to help the animals and not the humans. I would love go yell at him – I told the lady her vet was a moron and she knows I know about cats. Luckily I have talked her into using some wet food. I go up there and bring the kittens wet food. You know she would just have these litters of kittens go straight from nursing from mama to eating only dry food. I had to intervene in large part also because the moms were so weakened and thin – so I bring up kitten food and give it to the moms and the kittens and everybody looks healthier. My message is slowly sinking in regardless of her vet’s message.

            My personal problem is finding a good quality meat based preferrably organic catfood source. I feel like most of the big brand stuff is junk food. They love it but you can’t live off fast food and candy as a human so why anyone thinks a cat is happy to eat nothing but biscuits is beyond me, and the brand wet food seems carcinogenic to me. I honestly believe if they eat big brand wet food all their lives they will surely get cancer. That’s why I need a different source of food for my cats pretty soon because they have been on big brand foods for about 2 years now (Lilly around 4 or 5 years) and that’s too long already.

            I can’t stand that the vets in the US are lobbied by the big brands to enforce the idea that raw food is dangerous and should be made illegal. If they win that battle and raw food becomes illegal to sell commercially I will be so bloody angry yet again at the selling out of our lives and our cat’s lives once again to corporate profit and power. Those companies think it’s balanced but they don’t understand that the ingredients might contain the right nutrients but they come from plants and all the wrong places so will never ever work in a healthy way. You can’t construct meat out of plant materials. Losers and sellouts the lot of them. Profit hungry rats. It’s not even fair on rats to say that.

              • Jo – thanks alot for this link – I will check it out! I want to be able to do it myself if I have to. I can even get organic beef here. Pricey but I would gladly spend it on my cats.

            • Life does tend to suck and a lot of people likewise, but that really doesn’t describe the many friends I have whose concern and yes, LOVE, for their cats is genuine. Life is far from perfect, but we do try to do the best we can by those we love. As to the spending, the same applies to me as it does to my cats — the 1% are sucking the rest of us dry and we have to keep stretching what we have and cutting out things to pay the basic bills. But my cats eat better than I do, and I name them individually on letters and cards to close friends.

              • Yes – there are many wonderful people thank goodness. When I feel hopeless I see everything negatively and it’s unhelpful.

              • Truly. Look toward the light whenever you find it! (For me, cats are bringers of light and unconditional loyalty, love and beauty. Just to name a few of their many sterling qualities.)

            • I have never understood why we can’t buy fresh, raw, unprocessed meat tailor made cat food from supermarkets. It would be more expensive than the conventional stuff but it would be far more healthy. Some cat health issues stem from poor cat food.

          • Currently, there is a good story in the UK newspapers about the high sugar content of human food. Manufacturers put it in to make it taste better. There is v.high content and people don’t realise it. It has contributed to a surge in type 2 diabetes over recent years and obesity.

            The same problem exists in dry cat food. The cat can’t taste the sugar but it is in there to help make the pellets as part of the process and it is believed that the high level is at least partly responsible for increased obesity in cats and an increase in diabetes in cats. It is a mirror image problem: humans and cats.

            The food manufacturers are cynical and their first objective is profit.

    • Far be it from me to want to correct you, my dear friend; just stating what I’ve seen published many times in many animal advocacy forums and elsewhere.

  12. I am just heartsick over this. Those poor cats……
    Just because they are “stray” or “unwanted” doesn’t mean they have no right to live. :'(

  13. I knew this guy on my block in NYC who had a trained german shephard who would kill on command. This guy would also release the dog late at night so he could chase and kill cats of which many disappeared. I fear the same maybe be happening in this neighborhood of missing cats. Look for someone late at nite with a trained dog. Just saying…

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