“For over 10 years, a fractured stray colony of 30 plus cats has been tended to by Key West locals on Caroline Street. Local waitresses, bar managers, renters, neighbors, store owners, and Key West cat lovers have been leaving food and water for this incredibly affectionate and docile colony of cats. The cats live in the middle of a small dirty courtyard where bars and liquor stores back up together. They come out from under the structure of the stores, look over the roof easements at you, and peak around from behind building items as you shake a container of food for them. Although they are skittish at first, they soon are bumping against your legs and purring for affection. Efforts have been made in the last 2 months to socialize the cats more on a daily basis so that a wonderful organization called SNIP, Inc “Spay/Neuter in Paradise” can continue spaying and neutering the colony. Gwen and Valerie of SNIP, Inc. have been capturing and releasing cats of this colony for 6 years….successfully fixing 27 of these precious babies. Until recently, the goal was to spay and neuter all the cats in the colony and allow good souled citizens to continue giving these cats love, food, water, and protection. Now the goal is to ensure these cats survive.

“Things have changed in recent weeks and people who have invested themselves in these cats started to notice missing water bowls, piles of food removed, and new construction in the courtyard. New ownership has arrived at one of the bars and those who watch over these cats have been told every single cat must go. We have been promised by the new owner that no animal will be harmed, but they demand removal immediately.

These cats are not feral and have the potential to become cuddly indoor companions with the patience and love of willing cat-lovers. Coordinated efforts of SNIP and local volunteers are currently being made to quickly trap the cats in order to avoid any harm coming to them and to avoid them being pushed into the unknown streets where they will lack the daily food and water they have come to depend on. Trapping them is extremely difficult because most have already been trapped and released before from being spayed/neutered. It will be even more difficult to find a place that will take them all in and guarantee they are not killed.

One involved citizen has agreed to take 3 of the 30 if we can catch them. Our local shelter, Florida Keys SPCA, has agreed to come trap and place the cats in a special room to evaluate which ones have the potential to be adopted. The rest of the cats caught will be euthanized if we do not find homes for them. Since we have nowhere but the shelter to take these cats, we are hoping that their facility will be able to put them in a holding pattern until further fostering and forever homes can be found. We are going each morning and night right now to try and capture the cats immediately. We cannot meet the demands of the bar’s timeline, but are desperately trying. We need help of promised foster homes, permanent homes, and prayers.

If you are willing to be a foster or forever home, please contact savecarolinestreetkitties@gmail.com, and as coordinated efforts unfold, we will contact you with more information.”

~Martyne Kostka

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