Loews Hotel Feral Cats: A Model TNRM Colony Threatened

In 2004, when cat lover George Ricci first established the model managed feral cat colony on the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel property in Florida, he likely never dreamed that one day those cats would be cruelly and inhumanely ripped from their home. But that’s exactly what is happening.

George Ricci and Loews Model Feral TNRM Cat Colony

Hailed as a hero by hotel staff and management, Ricci was once recognized by his department manager through his nomination as “Employee of the Month” for January, 2007 and was also nominated for “Outstanding Employee of the Year” with the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association. This was all in part due to his handling of the situation with the feral cats on the property.

Since 2004, when the existing colony of feral cats was established, Loews welcomed them, touting themselves as a “pet-friendly” hotel and allowing George to build “cat mansions” for the cats on their property.

Take a look at these videos created by cat advocate Deb Barnes and Christine Michaels of Riverfront Cats Miami to learn more about feral cats and meet some real live feral cats. (Note: the cats featured in these videos are not the Loews cats but they and their lives are pretty typical of a managed feral cat colony.)

Unfortunately, times have changed and, according to the hotel management, the cats are no longer welcome on their property.

Loews Orders Their Feral Cats Removed!

In fact, Loews has hired a company to trap and remove the cats from their premises. Even more, Loews management has prohibited staff members from even feeding the cats during the removal process, threatening them with disciplinary action and even loss of employment for disobedience. What was once a well-managed and stable population of feral cats now has an extremely uncertain future ahead of them.

In almost all instances, feral cats are unadoptable unless they are kittens still able to be socialized. What happens to most feral cats turned over to animal control facilities? Sadly, most are euthanized.

Relocation? It may sound like a reasonable option but most feral cats try to find their way back to their original home, resulting in injuries, illnesses and even death as they face unknown predators and try to cross busy streets.

To learn more about the ongoing plight of these cats, listen in on this interview with blogger, author (The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey) and cat advocate Deb Barnes.

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So much love for these cats.  It truly shows.  THANK YOU for all that you do.


Thank you so much for the opportunity for this interview Lorie. On behalf of all of us that are trying diligently to save these cats, we really appreciate all the press we can get and hope all of your readers and listeners will help share the story. The fight continues.... Loews Corporation is a mega powerhouse giant with holdings in everything from hotels to gasoline, so it is truly a David versus Goliath story. They are not playing fair and have claimed that they have not received viable suggestions on how to manage the cats, and that is why critter control was brought in. Complete and utter marketing fabrication...


I also want to elaborate, while I make it very clear that feral cats are not adoptable, there are degrees of what constitutes a feral cat and some of the cats on the property are more socialized than others - if any of the cats can be adopted, we will let people know.


  1. […] The next opportunity was also presented to me by a fellow CWA member, Lorie Huston, DVM, for her animalCAFE podcast where I was able to discuss the pending situation with the feral cats being trapped and removed from the Loews Orlando resort properties as well as the misconceptions of feral cats. To read the full post and listen to the podcast, please click here. […]

  2. […] learn more about feral cats in general and the Loews cats specifically, listen in to this Animal Cafe podcast interview featuring author and cat advocate Deb Barnes and myself. To help, please visit […]

  3. Why Is says:

    […] Animal Cafe interview with cat advocate and author Deb Barnes recaps the plight of these cats and explains why […]

  4. […] to sound somewhat authoritative on occasion and Lorie was a doll about the whole thing (click here to listen to the podcast – the link is at the very end of the post) and it was from that point […]