JFK Airport cats being trapped, killed

From Stray Cat Alliance:

Despite an avalanche of criticism from thousands of outraged members of the public, the Port Authority of NY and NJ began trapping feral cats at JFK Airport over this past weekend, with the plan of exterminating them.

Rescuers were barred from feeding or attempting to rescue the cats and were threatened with arrest by federal wildlife officials from USDA.

In addition, a Port Authority spokesman admitted to the NY Post his agency had lied when telling the public last Friday the cats would all be adopted into good homes. The NY Post confirmed the cats would be put down immediately instead.

Experienced feral cat workers have also refuted the Port Authority’s claim the cats pose a risk to aviation because their food supposedly attracts seagulls. “That’s another lie and a fright tactic designed to fool the public. JFK Airport is located near the ocean and has mountains of trash strewn all over the grounds. That’s why there are seagulls, not because of an insignificant amount of cat food,” said Bryan Kortis, Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats.

Experts point out that cats are usually blamed for killing birds, not attracting them, that feeding cats can be done in a manner that leaves no food for birds, and that there is no study or other report suggesting a link between the presence of cats at an airport and an aviation risk.

In addition, the admitted desire of JFK wildlife biologist Laura Francoeur to create a “cat-free” airport is doomed to failure. Similar attempts at countless other locations have repeatedly failed to overcome the constant appearance of new cats and their reproductive ability. Only through sterilization and long-term monitoring by caretakers (that is, Trap-Neuter-Return or “TNR”) can the cats’ numbers be reduced.


Phone, fax and e-mail the people listed below and demand Port Authority suspend the trapping immediately and meet with representatives of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals to come up with a humane, effective feral cat management plan.

The people contacted on Friday refuse to meet, so now let’s talk to their bosses. Please review the three talking points at the end of this letter so you know how to respond to their PR dept’s fabrications.


Anthony Shorris
Executive Director
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(212) 435-7271

Shawn Larenti, Director
Government and Community Relations Dept.
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(212) 435-6903

Charles E. Meara
NYC Community Relations Dept.
Port Authority of NY and NJ
(917) 596-0492

Port Authority Corporate Headquarters
(212) 435-7000
(get a live person on the line and demand to speak to someone about the JFK situation)

Susan Baer
General Manager, JFK Airport


LIE #1: “The cats will all be adopted into good homes.”

THE TRUTH: Feral cats are unadoptable and usually are immediately put down when brought to shelters, as Port Authority plans to do. Port Authority ADMITTED LYING to the public about this in the NY Post article, “Frequent Liars”, published Saturday, October 27, 2007.

LIE #2: “Feeding the cats attracts seagulls and the birds are an aviation threat.”

THE TRUTH: Seagulls are at the airport because JFK is NEAR THE OCEAN!! And because there are tons of trash strewn about the airport’s grounds. There is not enough cat food to attract large numbers of birds and there is no food left anyway when the cats finish eating. Cats hunt birds, they don’t attract them. There is ZERO evidence proving a link between the presence of cats at an airport and an aviation risk. DON’T BE GULL-IBLE!!!

LIE #3: “We can achieve a cat-free airport.”

THE TRUTH: You can’t wipe out the presence of feral cats in a 5000 acre area in which new, unneutered cats are constantly being abandoned or lost and then reproducing, and where there are plentiful food sources. Only Trap-Neuter-Return can, over time, reduce the numbers. The Port Authority’s extermination effort is futile and will only result in new furry faces, not fewer. The killing is senseless.

For more on the NYC Feral Cat Initiative: www.nycferalcat.org

For more on the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals: www.animalalliancenyc.org

For more on Neighborhood Cats: www.neighborhoodcats.org

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