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.