Though you may not see them, this city has many, many feral cats living in it. Though on a rare occasion somebody will turn up pushing a "solution" to the problem involving trapping and euthanizing them by the dozen (even cats that aren't actually feral and have homes and owners), there are also many people and organizations working to help the feral cat population from getting worse. Especially since a recent bill passed by the City Council endorsed the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method—as practiced most notably by members of The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals—as the most humane and effective way to control the city's cat population.

"There's no point in a feral cat going into the Animal Care & Control," Jane Hoffman of the Mayor's Alliance told us, "because they can't adopt them out." But just because they can't be adopted doesn't mean that they should be left to a serial cat euthanizer like Paul Zhang. "It's a shame that this has happened," Hoffman said referring to that case, "and I hate to have one 'bad apple' spoil the whole barrel, because there are a lot of good people out there doing good TNR and we're really beginning to gain traction. We in no way, shape or form, condone what he was doing and emphasize it is not trap-neuter-return."

If you'd like to help take groups like the Alliance, there is lots that you can do. You can give money, sure, but you can also get yourself TNR certified (or just become a certified feral cat caretaker). Once you're certified you're eligible for free traps from the Alliance, free/affordable spay/neuter from city vets and transportation help. "We need the community to be involved," Hoffman says. If you think you don't like feral cats, a lot of the problem behaviors that upset people are dealt with by TNR. Once cats have been neutered you'll get, "No yowling, no fighting, no kittens everywhere, no dead kittens."

All that seem a bit too much? Well, you can still adopt a cat. There are lots of them out there looking for homes. In fact this weekend the Alliance is holding its annual Holiday Pet Adoption Extravaganza Saturday and Sunday at 125 West 18th Street from noon to 6 p.m. Because what better way to celebrate the holidays than by bringing a new furball into the family?

Finally, one thing worth noting about the recent bill passed by the City Council: If you have a cat that goes outside in anyway shape or form you are now required by law to have it spayed or neutered. And, if you want to make sure that if your four-legged friend walks away it might come back someday please, please, please, microchip them.