The cats of Roosevelt Island can be found stalking through the underbrush of the abandoned smallpox hospital, lounging in the community gardens, and slinking through the gaps in construction fencing throughout the island.
For generations their presence has been tolerated, and sometimes encouraged with food and water being left out from time to time, but since 2005, a small group of people has been dedicated to the task of helping and finding homes for the cats abandoned on the island by persons unknown.
Inspired by the death of a beloved local cat by the name of Princess Yin Yang in 2004, a group formed to trap and neuter strays, and create an adoption program.
Today the Wildlife Freedom Foundation operates a small shelter on the southern end of the island. On any given day, you may see a few of the island’s felines lazing around their little fenced-in sanctuary, well fed and utterly content.
Know Before You Go
The Roosevelt Island Cat Sanctuary is easy to find just north of the smallpox hospital on the path that runs along the east shore of the island. There is a second shelter south of and across the street from the Octagon.