Feral Cat Program at Javits Center


A new feral cat program at the Javits Center has helped to reduce rodents on the convention center’s loading docks, providing a safer and healthier environment for employees and customers.

Led by Sustainability Manager Rebecca Marshall, the program has served as a sustainable alternative to hiring professional exterminators and regularly spraying chemicals to deter rodents from visiting the loading docks. Four feral cats — Sylvester, Alfreda, Mama Cat and Ginger — are currently housed at the building, brought in by the non-profit organization Feral Cat Initiative.

“I called … thinking, if man-made practices weren’t working, that nature already had a solution,” Rebecca told online news site DNAinfo. “That would be the cats.”

According to DNAinfo, volunteers from the Feral Cat Initiative brought felines from its trap-neuter-return program, under which feral cats are trapped, neutered, vaccinated and returning to their “territory of origin.” Rebecca told the news site that once the cats arrived at the Javits Center, they lived in an enclosure on the docks for several weeks, getting comfortable with their new surroundings. Employees take turns buying food for the cats, she said.

The presence of the cats has significantly reduced the rodent population on the loading docks, leading to a very cost-effective, sustainable solution.

“People love seeing the cats around on the loading docks,” Rebecca told DNAinfo. “They kind of work here now — they’re almost like employees.”

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