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.