Latonya “Sassee” Walker has a heart for feral cats in need and she lives by the credo, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
And while she’s been about feral cat care for a decade now, the current coronavirus spread has her busier than usual.
In her Canarsie neighborhood, Sassee has been caring for four cat colonies, but she’s expanded her feeding territory to cover more of the Bronx in recent weeks. Many senior citizens feed the feral cat colonies across the city, but with the elderly’s susceptibility to COVID-19, these cat caring individuals have been chased inside. And with restaurants either closed or takeout only, the feral populous can’t fill their bellies from their dumpsters.
The feral cats of New York City are hungry.
But Sassee is doing all she can to help the cats survive an existence that was already tough before the coronavirus spread.
Before the New York shut down, she spent an estimated $600 monthly, but she knows this month will be more thanks to empty dumpsters and isolated seniors. It doesn’t stop her though. No matter the cost, Sassee makes sure the feral cats are fed, watered, and receiving the medical care they need.
Spaying & Neutering the Feral Community in a Pandemic
Part of the necessary medical care for feral cats is spaying and neutering.
Sassee told the NY Post, “A big part of what I do is TNR: trapping feral cats, getting them neutered, and returning them to their colonies. In March TNR’ed 20 cats.”
One key to keeping a feral community healthy is stopping the kitten cycle, but surgery can be expensive and the coronavirus has closed vital resources for the care of feral cats. “Now that the ASPCA, which spays and neuters the cats for free, is closed, I’m taking them to a private vet in Coney Island who is giving a big discount, but I’ve already spent about $500 on neutering and other services.”
In addition to her seven family cats, Sassee is kenneling six wild cats on the mend from surgery in her living room. But, in order to keep everyone safe and distanced in her home, she’s reached capacity for space and time. Care of the feral cats outside, plus the six in recovery mode, keeps Sassee busy.
On Instagram, she shared, “My living room looks like a mini shelter, I think I’m maxed out, cages full too”.
In spite of limited resources, high expense, and a virus, Sassee keeps on, saying, “The cats have no clue what’s going on because nothing has changed for them. It’s not in my DNA to see a cat suffering and not do anything about it. I’m equipped to make a cat’s life better, so I’m going to.”
And for that, cat lovers everywhere say thank you to Sassee for her devotion to the often-forgotten feral cats.