About Us

Photo of YinYang/Princess by Núria Olivé-Bellés.

Island Cats was formed in 2005 to care for cats abandoned and born outdoors on Roosevelt Island. We manage the colonies they have formed, spay/neuter and provide medical attention as needed. We also try to find permanent or foster homes for adoptable cats. Our first major project was a two-year spay/neuter drive with the ASPCA, part of the national Trap-Neuter-Return program in which outdoor cats are returned after spay/neutering to live out their natural lives in their chosen colonies. There, volunteers feed them regularly and see to the upkeep of their warm winter shelters. Our volunteers are men, women and children, the latter sometimes earning school credit for this work. They are neighbors with a shared love for animals, living throughout the Island, from Southtown to Octagon, and even in Brooklyn.

The impetus for the founding of Island Cats was the sudden death of a beloved small black-and-white cat – to some “Princess” and to others “YinYang” – who lived for years in bushes near the subway and was named one of the best things about Roosevelt Island by the local newspaper, the WIRE. She enchanted passers-by, whom she sometimes accompanied, with her curiosity, prickly charm and delight in everything from her own bowl of Costco dry food to leaping after fireflies and tumbling in high snow drifts.

YinYang, pictured at the right, died in September 2004, killed instantly by a truck. Like her, most of the outdoor cats on Roosevelt Island were once pets. Abandoning pets or allowing them to run loose outdoors is not only cruel but punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine. You can help by signing up to foster newly abandoned adoptable cats or by photographing people dumping cats, with their license plates, and forwarding the photos to us at contact@island cats.org. Thank you.