Actress and Brooklynite Rosie Perez joined Jackson Galaxy, the popular cat-loving influencer, along with New York City electeds in launching a nonprofit veterinary clinic that aims to help reduce the city’s feral cat population.
The Flatbush Veterinary Clinic opened for business Monday as an extension of the nonprofit rescue group Flatbush Cats. Its team can now give spay/neuter surgeries to outdoor cats, so fewer kittens are born outside. In addition, low-income families, who may find veterinary bills too expensive, now have an affordable clinic to go to. The organization says there are 500,000 feral cats in Brooklyn, and according to its executive director Will Zweigart, the clinic aims to provide over 7,500 spay neuter surgeries annually.
“Money should not be what prevents you from a life with animals,” Galaxy said at a press conference for the opening Monday. “It’s a privilege to share our lives with them, and to have that barrier lowered is remarkable. Whether we’re talking about the cats who live in our community, whether they’re feral or friendlies or somewhere in between, it’s time to bring them out of the shadows.”
Perez said she was moved by the nonprofit’s efforts to spare kitties from being abandoned.
“It touched my heart on a level of seeing how many abused cats that are in the streets,” Perez said. “People are so cruel. And just to think we can decrease that cruelty with their trap-and-release program of controlling the population, spoke volumes to my soul.”
The clinic received funding and support from the Mayor’s Office for Animal Welfare, through legislation introduced by City Council Member Justin Brannan in 2019. Brannan, on hand for the press conference, praised the work of Flatbush Cats and called out the city to do more for such organizations.
“I want to get to a point where there’s places like Flatbush Cats ... all over the city,” Brannan said. “The work all your networks do is really something that the city of New York should be doing.”
Council Member Farah Louis, who worked with Brannan to ensure the last city budget had funding for Flatbush Cats, also attended the press event, along with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. After ending his remarks, Brannan presented Flatbush Cats with a check for $150,000.
Alexandra Silver, director of the Mayor’s Office for Animal Welfare, said in a statement that the new veterinary clinic is expected to “positively impact the community cat population as well as help keep cats and dogs with their families.” She added that “the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare looks forward to working with this wonderful organization to improve the lives of animals—and the people who care for them – in New York City.”