NEW YORK (PIX11) — Animal advocates and community groups are raising the alarm about a cat crisis in New York City. 

One Queens animal rescue said it can’t keep up with the influx. President and director Meagan Licari of Puppy Kitty New York City reached out to PIX11’s Monica Morales for help to stay open. 

They are adorable and feisty and need to be adopted. Cupcake is about 2 years old and was found in a park. She is malnurated and has a skin infection — signs of a painful past. But she has a beautiful personality and wants to love anyone who tries to pet her. 

Licari said every cage has a story. She has helped cats find homes in the city for almost 20 years and opened her animal shelter in Middle Village in 2017. She takes care of about 1,000 cats a year. But she said she has never seen conditions like this before.

Licari said there is a constant flow of cats who need homes and there’s not enough space right now. Every cage is filled. Daily her heart is broken, and she said she knows more can be done about it.

Licari said the influx of cats was caused by several factors. She said the pandemic and a bad economy are also causing terrible overcrowding. 

Licari desperately needs more volunteers and resources to keep up with the growing problem and stay open. 

To make matters worse, a low-cost vet clinic nearby closes on Sept. 1, leaving even fewer options for pet owners. 

PIX11 contacted Animal Care Centers of NYC, who confirmed they were closed for intake from July 26 to Aug. 7 this year. However, the organization still took in 318 cats during that period.

The Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare told PIX11 News:

The Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare is frequently contacted about stray and feral cats and supports coordination among agencies and the community to address this population. We work closely with remarkable organizations and volunteers caring for and working to humanely reduce the number of cats on streets across the five boroughs. We are actively discussing ways to better collaborate on this and other animal welfare issues. New York City currently provides funding to nonprofit organizations to deliver critical programs and services in communities across the city to meet local needs and fill gaps in city agency services. Animal welfare organizations can learn more about the city’s primary nonprofit funding streams, including City Council discretionary funding and other opportunities at

As for New Yorkers interested in caring directly for community cats, we encourage you to connect with us and/or learn best practices from one of the organizations with expertise in the subject. Meanwhile, it’s essential that those of us with cat companions get them spayed or neutered and not let them roam outside.

Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare spokseperson

If you have a story, reach out to Monica Morales at