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Island overrun by cats: Island in NY drags in cats upon cats in feline foray

An island overrun by cats in upstate New York is getting some attention this week, not because the feline isle is a sanctuary to its honored guests – like Tashirojima, Japan’s cat island seen here in video – but because the hundreds of feral and abandoned cats roaming about are becoming a nuisance to this island’s visitors. Now that the cats are out of the bag however, island dwellers are hoping that something can be done about the purring populace.

Writes The Associated Press, via ABC News: “A small island near Buffalo has a big cat problem thanks to people who have abandoned felines there over the years. Mike Charnock owns a marina and restaurant on the 85-acre island just north of Buffalo. He says the cats are making a mess of the island, and even have gotten onto boats at his marina.”

The 85-acres of Niagara River's Tonawanda Island, near Buffalo, have turned into a dumping ground for unwanted cats. Nearby residents crossing over to work on the island say that the cats are now multiplying, and estimate that there are about two hundred cats and kittens living on the island – home to the marina, a yacht club and not much else.

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 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.”

The owner of the Shores Waterfront Restaurant & Marina, Mike Charnock, agreed. “They’re throughout the whole island. They’re multiplying horrendously; there’s just too many cats is what it boils down to.”

Danielle Coogan, who is now doing something about the cat infestation, called it “a small island with a big cat problem.”

Coogan has started a GoFundMe site called Operation Island Cats, and is attempting to fix the problem, one kitty at a time.

She writes:

If you've ever been to The Shores restaurant in North Tonawanda, NY or have ever visited Tonawanda Island at all, then you may well know there is an overwhelming number of unvaccinated, unsterilized strays living on the island. Cats and kittens roam free and 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 and 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 and stop this vicious cycle of reproducing in an already extremely overcrowded area, I've decided to try to humanely trap as many adults as I can.

Coogan says the cats will be vaccinated, sterilized and have one of their ears “tipped” to indicate they have been seen by a vet. Non-adoptable adult cats will be released back to the island, and the kittens and smaller cats will be “placed in foster care for socialization and put up for adoption; with a bit of time and patience these babies will make wonderful pets!”

Coogan explained: “They’re going to be spayed and neutered, they’re going to be vaccinated and they’re going to live the rest of their days on their beautiful island home where they’re comfortable and they’re not going to keep reproducing.”

Since the media coverage, Coogan has raised over $6,000 in under one week.

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