Brooklyn, NY, 2015 - Joe Tortora, 61, feeds a colony of feral cats under his care in Sunset Park, Brooklyn which totals nearly 40 cats.  Joe is a former NY Sanitation employee of 21 years who now spends most of his retirement savings on cat food and veter
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Thomas, a feral kitten, atop an NYC snow plow.  The cats live in an industrial area near a NY Sanitation garage in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  The facility welcomes the cats' presence as a natural combatants against the rat population, a strategy once deploye
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Joe at home with Bettie and Shiva, two of his four adopted cats in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  He was allergic to cats before an ex-girlfriend brought several rescues into their home years ago, where his fascination with cats began.  "I failed the allergy test
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Joe feeds one of his feral colonies as John Kaper watches.  John helps feed the cats on weekends when Joe walking dogs for wealthy families on the Upper West Side, his main source of income since retiring from driving garbage trucks in NYC.  "I've spent a
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Joe fills out paperwork during the TNR outing in Sunset Park, BK as volunteers help.  "When I did the trapping, I had to fill out identical forms in triplicate for several organizations just to make it happen.  I spent half the day filling out forms. It's
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Joe shows a trapped feral to two volunteers from the Neighborhood Cats organization during a TNR outing.  TNR - or trap, neuter, return - is a standard practice in many cities for humanely keeping feral populations in check.  Over 5,500 volunteers are reg
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Joe carries a trapped feral cat to be tagged and transferred to a local vet.  The ferals are generally lured by sardines or cat food into rigged cages before a local vet performs neutering or spaying to keep feral populations from ballooning.  TNR, as the
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Feral kittens watch  an older cat slink by near one of Joe's colonies.
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Joe's feeds catnip to his feral cats, seen rolling on the ground.  Catnip is a shrub in the mint family that basically gets cats "high" when the plant's chemicals bind to receptors in their noses, stimulating brain neurons.
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Joe at home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with a recently adopted feral kitten and house cat.  Feral kittens can be domesticated if they are taken in at early ages.  On Joe's table rests a statue of Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of cats.  "When I first li
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"Clowney Face" peers out from heavy machinery at an industrial site near the NY Sanitation garage in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  Joe has named almost all the cats in his colonies, including Smokey, Potato, Hunter, The Half, The Lip, The Hiss, The Cryer, Troub
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Joe bangs a spoon as he calls a feral colony to eat.  "Come and eat, you knuckleheads!", he can be heard shouting affectionately from up the block.  The cats live a harsh life in the outdoors and must endure brutal New York winters, relying on humans for
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Joe seals a fire hydrant used to provide fresh drinking water to a colony of feral cats.
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Joe chases a flock of geese away from the pier.  The geese frequently try to steal cat food that Joe leaves for the feral colonies under his care.
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White Foot, one of Joe's feral cats, exchanges glances with a young Orthodox Jew praying at a Tashlich ceremony during Yom Kippur in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
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Raccoons and cats share an abandoned building in another colony up the block in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  There are hundreds of colonies officially registered in NYC on Neighborhood Cats.com, many in people's backyards.  "There used to be a friendly raccoon
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Joe waits as ferals eat and groom themselves near one of his colonies.  "Feral cat caretakers are territorial like their cats.  It's total madness.  Nobody really talks to each other.  They're all nuts."
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Joe exchanges glances with one of his feral cats while closing up a storage container where he keeps supplies on a pier in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
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