BAYONNE, NJ - Although not a popular decision in 2019 when more than two dozen feral cats were relocated from the former A&P site, the animals seem to have adapted well to the two tiny houses they now call home.

In the past, residents used to feed the cat colonies that seemed to overtake the area near Newark Bay causing the population to explode. Now, signs are posted in the area near a parking site for school vehicles prohibiting what many would consider an act of charity.

Department of Public Works Director Tommy Cotter said First Ward Councilman Neil Carroll handled the transition and oversees the maintenance of the cat houses. “It was a decision the council had to make to relocate them,” Carroll said.

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Feral cat colonies have plagued sections of the city for years. The A&P colony is one of the biggest and lived in the area from almost when the supermarket opened its doors in 1997 until it closed in 2012. The cats were relocated just prior to the stores demolition last year leaving just a few business to continue operating in the plaza.

The cat population grew steadily, and the felines, emboldened, sometimes walked through the automated supermarket doors during the day. The area along the side became a breeding ground as well as an eyesore of old food dishes, decaying cat carriers, and other debris.

Local animal groups tried to limit the population through the use of a capture, neuter and release programs but others seemed to have been abandoned by previous owners.

While the DPW maintains the new site, animal control is being handled by Liberty Humane Society which has a humane and educational approach when dealing with feral cats, said Jay Coffey, city law director.

Ironically, the new cat facilities are located very near to a site that was once being considered as an animal shelter. 

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