Tonawanda Island is a small 85-acre island in the middle of the Niagara River in New York. The island has literally been taken over by cats. The small island is now home to hundreds of abandoned feral cats that are reproducing at an alarming rate for the few humans that inhabit the island. In fact, WIBV News notes that cats now outnumber people on the island.
Wayne Howard of North Tonawanda said,
“They’re just everywhere. People drop them off. I’ve caught people dumping them on the road; they just unload them on the island.”
The island may be a dream come true for cat ladies everywhere, but for business owners on the island, they are concerned about the unsanitary conditions that are developing from the large number of cats. Howard notes that the unsanitary conditions stem from the large amounts of feces produced by the cats.
“The messes that they make, especially the feces around the island and where people walk, it’s disgusting. I’ve caught them on my boat a few times and they made messes; they’re just a problem.”
Many of the human residents of Tonawanda Island are only seasonal. However, the cats remain year round. This makes for a large clean-up effort when returning to the island. Danielle Coogan, a resident of the island, is trying to take matters into her own hands for the “small island with a big cat problem.” Coogan has started what she is calling “Operation Island Cats” and has started a GoFundMe page for the project. Coogan is fixing the problem by slowly trapping and sterilizing the cats. Coogan’s GoFundMe page explains the process:
“If you’ve ever been to The Shores restaurant in North Tonawanda, NY or have ever visited Tonawanda Island at all, then you know there is an overwhelming number of unvaccinated, unsteralized strays living on the island. Cats & kittens roam free & can be seen sleeping under boats, on boat trailers and on boat slips stacked high. Many of these cats have been born on the island & this is the only life they’ve ever known, some have been dumped by irresponsible owners who think souls are disposable. In an attempt to clean up the island & stop this vicious cycle of reproducing in an already extremely overcrowded area, I’ve decided, along with a friend & the help of Feral Cat Focus to humanely trap as many adults as I can, they will then be transported to Operation Pets, where they will be vaccinated, steralized, have one of their ears “tipped” (to show they’ve been steralized) & re-released back on to the island.”
Coogan does note that currently residents ban together to care for the cats food needs explaining that dry and wet food are left at various locations across the island.
Tonawanda Island is not the only island that has been taken over by cats. “Cat Island” in Japan also houses more cats than people. Do you think Coogan can get the cat population under control, or will Tonawanda Island go to the cats with humans fleeing the overpopulated island?
[Image Credit: WIBV]