Best Friends Blog

Atlantic City boardwalk cats thumb noses at Sandy and TNR alarmists

NPR’s Melissa Block broke the news to listeners yesterday as she toured a badly damaged Atlantic City shoreline that her team described as looking like a bombed-out war zone. Amid the storm-battered boardwalk area, like crocuses emerging after a brutal winter, the famous Atlantic City feral cats were returning to their beloved boardwalk homes near the various casinos that dot the waterfront.

Ms. Block interviewed a lifelong resident, 63-year-old Frank Hoops, who had come to the beach area to check on the colony of ferals that he cares for. He was happy to note that they were all just fine. At another location, a casino security guard reported that as the eye of the storm passed over the area, he saw a line of 25 cats walking single file down the boardwalk looking cool, calm and collected.

The Atlantic City cats have been a signature project of Alley Cat Allies for 13 years and are a model of trap/neuter/return (TNR) in action and in full public view. TNR is the only humane, not to mention only effective, method of community cat management and has replaced the old, failed catch-and-kill model that is neither humane nor effective.

Oddly, some animal rights advocates, led by PETA, claim that TNR is excessively risky and cruel and places cats who are returned to the location at which they were trapped at risk of injury by cars, dogs, rock-throwing kids and, in the case of the Atlantic City cats, storms.

Well, chalk up another win for the cats, TNR and, in this case, Alley Cat Allies, which not only took on the Atlantic City cats as a model program, but are the folks responsible for establishing best practices for TNR and who continue to be effective advocates for community cats everywhere. To learn more about the Atlantic City cats, visit the Alley Cat Allies Facebook page.


Francis Battista


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  • siferal

    apparently my first comment was too scathing, because it’s been disallowed – i think anyone educated about the situation can agree that PETA and those like it is the biggest danger faced by free-roaming cats. This is a beautiful example of simple common sense in action. Thank you BF, and kudos, AC.

  • siferal

    Hey PETA…ever consider that maybe YOU’RE the biggest threat free-roaming cats face? I mean, what’s a bunch of cars, dogs, and kids got on a bunch of lemming nincompoops with money and a mobile killing machine, right?

  • Dr. Cartel

    Dear Francis,
    Great update. Kudos to ACA and all they do for community cats. BF promotes cooperation and this is what it takes to end the plight of homeless pets.
    Best Wishes, Dr. Cartel

  • Peta is nothing but money making trouble makers. They hurt the one they are SUPPOSE to be helping. Go Atalntic City Cats!!!!

  • Linda in Arizona

    So glad that all the cats are safe…and I agree with the person who said she wished that someone had taken a pictrure of the cats walking in front of the casino….and PETA is proved wrong again, as usual…

  • Anonymous

    I think what they’re doing with the cats are amazing, wish we had more of that going around rather then the cats being captured and killed. TNR is basically a second chance for strays.

    • putt

      yes I agree wish there were more caring humans like thosse down thee just wish I could help but 4 -5 hours too far to drive so do the best I can from my house.

  • Kim

    Thank god I having been thinking of the cats for days so glad to hear they are okay

  • I’m so glad they are ok! Also, it makes me feel a little better about the colony that I care for when we get storms here. One of them sits out in pouring rain awaiting my arrival. And I never put any stock in anything PETA says. They are the biggest bunch of hippocritical lunatics I have ever seen!

  • Bonnie

    Cats are remarkable – smart resilient and very insinc with nature and their surroundings!! They deserve no less than TNR.

  • Challen

    Those cats are home and where they belong. Kudo’s to the lovely man who has taken care of this colony.

  • Jean

    Brave kitties in the storm – yes, it would have been nice to have seen them walking the ‘boardwalk’/catwalk! Worrying over them was like worrying about the cats on Cat Island and the Tsunami last year in Japan. All’s well.

  • venkat

    Thank you for the update. The ferals may look fragile and helpless, but take the cruel humans out and they are resilient to most everything- rains, storms, snow, heat and non-cruel, attentive humans driving cars on the road 🙂

  • Colleen

    I love how Best Friends is always highlighting and applauding the work of other organizations! So many rescue groups and shelters think this work is a competition, and it’s so refreshing that Best Friends gets it: the road to no more homeless pets is a collaboration.

  • Dallas

    PETA sucks. They euthanize more cats than a city shelter on any given day.

  • Dallas

    PETA sucks. They euthanize more cats than a city shelter on any given day.

  • Dallas

    PETA sucks. They euthanize more cats than a city shelter on any given day.

  • Stephanie D.

    thanks goodness i was so very worried about them!

  • Janet in Cambridge

    I wish someone had been able to capture the line of cats walking the boardwalk. That would have been awesome. So glad they fared well. They have lots of friends to help them rebuild!!

    • Janet in Cambridge

      And by “capture” I meant in pictures. These cats and their caretakers rock.

  • Mags

    I kept thinking about them…where would they go? So happy to hear they are ok!

  • Lovecats

    Bless the angels who take care of these beautiful cats. We have been searching for news that they survived the storm. Thanks to all who love and care for the cats.

  • NJ born and raised


  • putt

    I wa so worried about the kitties THANK YOU for the update 🙂