The Archdiocese of New York has agreed to allow feeding and daily care for the colony of 8 cats living at St. James Church in lower Manhattan during a 60 day trial period. The Church’s original plan to get rid of the cats drew disapproval from many quarters and the Archdiocese has relented.
The Archdiocese agreed to work with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals at a meeting held on March 27. A feeding station and shelters for the cats will be put into place, along with a litter box, and the cat caregivers are scheduled to meet at the church this week with the pastor. According to the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, which announced the agreement today in a Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals blog post, they have “submitted a proposal for consideration outlining guidelines for ongoing care for the colony to be reconsidered and adopted after the sixty-day trial period”.
The fact that the colony had already been through the TNR process is considered to have allowed the cat advocates to negotiate from a posision of strength. The neighborhood surrounding the church is infested with rodents, and has a large population of unneutered feral cats, who would be presumed to move onto church property in the absence of the currently established colony. That state of affairs helped establish that removal of the cats would not benefit the church.
The Mayor’s Alliance expressed thanks to the Archdiocese for its cooperation in dealing with the matter of the St. James Church cat colony. They indicate that, though the issue is not completely resolved, they are pleased with the agreement and expect a satisfactory outcome.