Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition is making a difference in the homeless cat population in Brooklyn, New York, by shifting the paradigm of animal rescue. In 2007, we created a cooperative that provided individual animal rescuers with medical, foster and adoptive support such as was otherwise found only in traditional shelters. This grassroots model has made it possible to be more cost-effective and responsive than a traditional shelter by engaging many community volunteers who are both knowledgeable and passionate about feline welfare.
Four years ago, we created our community adoption and rescue space, Brooklyn Cat Cafe, one of the only cat cafes in the country operated as a non-profit, rescue organization. Brooklyn Cat Cafe introduced the general public to animal rescue and facilitated rescue and adoptions. Now we are expanding our outreach efforts and focusing on the relationships we have developed in communities with large homeless animal populations to proactively address the root causes of animal homelessness and overpopulation.
Our network of passionate animal rescue veterans is on the ground raising community awareness and facilitating accessible participation by the public. We work in basements and crawl spaces, rescuing cats and newborn kittens. We work in public schools and housing projects to educate neighborhoods about how they can help cats and other animals in need and actively address the root causes of animal homelessness and overpopulation. We empower members of the public to participate in animal rescue and respond to homeless animal problems they find in their communities.
The Brooklyn Cat Cafe is our public face and our adoption center — and what a resource! From January to September of 2019, over 21,000 members of the public have come to play and interact with our adoptable animals. Hundreds more have attended our private events and classes, creating an unparalleled opportunity for us to connect with and educate cat lovers from Brooklyn and beyond. We are a hub for promoting humane education and we make cat rescue accessible and exciting. Constant phone calls and visits from concerned neighbors and stressed pet owners make it clear that we are a needed resource.
Since the coalition formed in 2007, we have rescued and adopted over 2,000 cats. In 2018 alone we helped 673 animals, with 380 adoptions, 59 owned animals spayed and neutered, and 114 TNRs (trap-neuter-return).