Roberta recently passed away. She was much loved. Today, she represents all of the loved and cared for boardwalk cats of Atlantic City. Roberta was adored by the Alley cat Allies community of volunteers who have cared for the boardwalk cats in partnership with the city while conducting a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program for 17 years.
The cats who live under and on the boardwalk are famous. They are community cats. They seem to be as much an attraction for tourists as the boardwalk itself. The cats are an excellent example of how a TNR program can be run and how community cats can enrich the lives of both cats and humans.
I cannot do better than quote verbatim the note that Rebecca, one of the volunteers, made in memory of Roberta who she knew very well.
It was late afternoon on a cold winter day when I found Roberta in her final hours. This once-shy cat let me pick her up and hold her in my arms for the first time—looking up at me with eyes that said she couldn’t have run if she wanted to. Her age had finally caught up to her.
Roberta was a real trooper. She would show up in rain, wind, or snow just to see me—even if there was food left over from the previous day. As I spoke to her, she would look at me with her half-closed eyes, and it seemed like she was reassuring me: “Yes, I am still here.”
When I carried her off the beach one last time that day, I told her that I hoped she would always have the sun on her face and always hear the ocean. Rest in peace my little friend.
Your friend always,
Alley Cat Allies Volunteer
Below is a video made by Alley cat Allies about the boardwalk cats program.
I don’t think anyone can fail to be impressed by the volunteers. They do great work. They are organised. The cats look healthy. The visitors like to see the cats. Surely this sort of program could happen more often elsewhere. This must be a shining example of how TNR can work in the community and how we can behave with compassion towards feral cats, treat them humanely while gradually and sensitively reducing the numbers or at least stabilising the population size so that people who don’t particularly like cats can accept them.
This is the way we should be treating feral cats across the country.
Alley Cat Allies provide some great services to the public. Here are three questions and answers regarding outdoor cats:
Q: Cats in my community are in urgent danger. What can I do?
A: If you require help for an urgent situation, such as cats being threatened or removed, fill out our Online Assistance Form.
Q: Where can I find other local assistance for cats?
A: Request a list of Feral Friends at: Get Help from the Feral Friends Network for local resources in your community such as spay/neuter clinics, trapping support, trap loans, and more.
Q: How do I find information about caring for outdoor cats?
A: Visit Community Cat Care for advice about providing food and shelter, conducting Trap-Neuter-Return, resolving conflicts, and changing your community.