Demolished building sheds light on feral cat population


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The demolition of a vacant building is shining a light on feral cats in the City of Albany.

Before the Elk Street building was reduced to rubble, it was occupied by feral cats. It’s one of several abandoned buildings throughout the city where strays are fed by community members.

“The chimney on this house was so bad that if it hadn’t fallen off, it would have killed somebody,” said Larry Tume, the owner of an excavation company.

Tume’s first walk thru of the place turned up some unexpected inhabitants.

“She had some food and houses for them out back, so we brought them some more food to try to get them out,” said Tume.

Three cats were trapped and rescued Wednesday night and one more Thursday morning.

“I just have always had a passion for them, always, that’s just me,” said Leona.

Leona didn’t want to appear on camera, but she said the house was one of seven feeding and shelter spots where she cares for up to 100 feral cats.

A short walk brings us to another. There’s an outside cat shelter.

“It’s insulated with straw and during the winter and these cats will come in,” she said.

There’s also plenty of fresh cat food. It’s all backed up against another abandoned building. A few blocks away, cats have reclaimed another vacant home. We only spotted one, but Leona says she feeds several here. Next, we venture into the brush, over a pallet walkway to yet another station.

“It’s hard, and it’s tiring, and it’s demanding,” said Leona.

The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society does not take in feral cats but works with neighborhoods to start trap, neuter and return programs to reduce populations. A spokesperson says if you’re not running an established cat colony, don’t feed them.

Leona says she’s been doing it for six years and can’t imagine stopping.

“I feel as if I quit all these animals are just going to die,” she said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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