I first posted about the Loews Hotels feral cat situation last Wednesday. A lot has happened (and not happened) since then, so I wanted to give a quick update on how everything stands now.
First, if you haven’t heard about this, here’s a quick catch-up: Last week, Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando suddenly decided to end their model TNR program, trap their well-cared-for feral cats, and send them off to a shelter, where they’d probably be killed because they are feral. Because of animal lovers like YOU voicing your disgust and anger at their decision on their Facebook page and to their executive’s email addresses, they stopped the trapping the next day. Win! But not a complete victory yet. Loews is looking into relocating the cats instead of letting them stay — and this is not a good option for ferals either. We’d like them to let the cats stay and keep the TNR program in place.
When Catster first posted the story, it was just coming out. Since then, major media outlets are starting to get a hold of the story and some big name animal groups are also jumping in to help these cats.
The Orlando Sentinel ran this article: Cat activists urge Orlando hotels to keep feral cats. (Yay, we need the media helping us get the word out!)
Then, two days later, the story went national when USA Today picked it up: Loews Orlando resorts faces cat controversy. (Bigger yay — national news!)
Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, especially feral cats, has been in contact with Loews and is offering to work with them to find a way for the cats to stay. Yesterday they published an Action Alert! asking people to use this simple form they created to e-mail Loews higher-ups and let them know we think the cats should stay. I hope this helps get a huge response!
Loews, though, is still seriously considering removing the cats. I have been in contact with one of the caretakers and a couple other people who are there with the cats and on the property. They sent me a bunch of pictures of the cats to share. They all have names and all are loved.
Loews maintains that the cats need to go because of “guest liability” issues, but has yet to specifically say what those issues are. Feral cats are generally scared of people and keep to themselves. Relocating feral cats, as Loews wants to do, is not a viable option here; you can’t just drop cats off somewhere new and expect them to stay put and be fine. Relocation is a long, dedicated process that is only recommended when there is no other option (like a building being demolished, or a dangerous area for the cats themselves).
So what’s next? Everyone did such an amazing job voicing their opinions on Loews Facebook pages at the beginning of this. It made a difference! The cats are not being trapped and sent to shelters anymore. The problem is, Loews is now deleting almost everything posted on their pages. Are they allowed to do that? I guess … it is their page. Is it right? That’s up for public opinion.
Keep posting on their pages — they still have to see it before they delete it. And keep e-mailing your opinion. There is a list of addresses in our first post and the Alley Cat Allies form makes it even easier.
It sounds like a decision is coming soon, and we can’t let up on Loews yet. They probably think we’re just going to forget about the cats after a while and stop bugging them, but we can’t.
You can get regular updates on the Loews Hotels feral cat situation over at Riverfront Cats Facebook page. The woman who runs it is friends with the cats’ caretakers and is spearheading this movement to keep these kitties where they are and safe.