North Bergen exploring solution to feral cat colonies

A Trap, Neuter, and Release program is being piloted

Feeding of feral cats should be done in a responsible manner.
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Feeding of feral cats should be done in a responsible manner.

A solution to the feral cat colony problem may be implemented in North Bergen.

The Township of North Bergen is exploring a pilot Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) program to deal with the feral cat colonies in various parts of town, according to a March 3 press release.

From North Bergen to Bayonne, Hudson County is home to a number of feral cat colonies.

The township is making progress in its attempts to remedy the situation and is looking to implement a responsible and sustainable TNR program in the near future. The program will be created in collaboration with active community partners and volunteers.

Feeding ban temporarily lifted

In the meantime, the township is temporarily lifting the feral cat feeding ban, so that cats will not go hungry before the program is implemented.

North Bergen had placed a ban on feeding feral cats that would cost anyone caught in the act approximately $150.

The township, however, is asking that feeding be done in a responsible manner so as not to bother neighbors.

Until the pilot program takes effect, the township has issued guidelines regarding the lifted ban.

If you are providing food for a colony of cats on your property, remove the food scraps and bowls after they finish eating, clean up any mess or leftover food, and do not feed at night.

The township of North Bergen will provide TNR workshops throughout the community to educate all residents in the coming months.

While some people enjoy feeding and caring for the feral cat colonies, not all Hudson County residents are fans of the felines.

Felines under fire

In 2017, a Go Fund Me fundraiser was started for a feral cat from a North Bergen colony that was found struck with an arrow.

According to the fundraiser page, Kelly Shannon went out to feed a few friendly neighborhood feral cats, just like she always does before work every day.

Shannon was horrified when she found one of her favorite cats, a sweet, gentle male named Sparky, wounded by an arrow. The arrow was still protruding from his body when Shannon found the cat.

The fundraiser reported that the arrow struck him in the left shoulder area, and the tip exited his left flank, leaving the shaft embedded in his body.

With the help of a Good Samaritan neighbor, Kelly was able to get him in a travel crate and immediately took the him to her veterinarian at the Animal Clinic of Bayonne.

After the assessment, it was determined that the arrow did not pierce any vital organs and that Sparky’s prognosis was fair, according to the fundraiser. Once the procedure to remove the arrow was finished, the cat was neutered and given the appropriate vaccines before being released.

Up to $2,560 was raised to pay for Sparky’s medical bills.

North Bergen residents like Shannon have been helping the feral cat colonies prior to the start of the pilot TNR program in town.

The Lucky Cat (TLC) Rescue is a nonprofit, charitable organization that has been funding a TNR program in Hudson County since January of 2019.

According to its mission statement, TLC is dedicated to working with the Hudson County community to reduce the number of homeless cats by trapping, neutering, and returning healthy, feral cats; adopting friendly cats; and through education and outreach programs focusing on animal health, safety, and pet retention.

Other than TLC’s efforts, the North Bergen TNR program will be the first of its kind in the local area.

The support of North Bergen residents is instrumental in the success of this program, because it’s membership is volunteer-driven.

For more information, residents are encouraged to email the North Bergen Health Department at NBHealth@northbergen.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.