The Best Thing That Happened This Week: The End to a Seaside Heights Catfight

Really, an actual catfight. And it’s a happy ending!

On one side, in sleepy Seaside Heights, New Jersey, you have the cat lovers, the locals who’d fed and cared for and cleaned up after the town’s colony of felines who’d made their home under the boardwalk.

On the other side, you had the, well, not cat lovers, who were sick and tired of the howling and mewling and the smell of cat feces and urine baking in the hot summer sun.

Fifteen thousand of the lovers signed a petition asking the borough to leave the beach cats alone. Hadn’t they survived Superstorm Sandy? Hadn’t volunteers raised $30,000 to feed and vaccinate and neuter Mufasa, Little Bean, Big Red and dozens more like them?

Ah, but hadn’t Borough Council voted unanimously to end the Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Association’s administration of that trap-neuter-return program, and then voted to ban the kitties from the beachfront? There were just too many complaints about the cats, Mayor Anthony Vaz said.

And over both sides loomed the havoc about to be wrought on Seaside’s boardwalk by a massive beach replenishment operation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, slated to begin this fall.

Enter Calling All Cats Rescues, an animal welfare group that just happened to have a 12-acre farm sanctuary 20 miles away.

The borough chipped in to help with the costs of relocation. Now the 74 boardwalk cats are lounging in the grass on the farm among sheep and goats, living the life of Riley. “It’s a cat haven,” Mayor Vaz says of the farm. And the cats seem to agree.

Well, except for Buddy. One of the first relocated beach cats, Buddy made a break for it a month after his arrival. He was found 10 miles away, lying by the road, having been hit by a car. After a lengthy recuperation, he’s back to chillin’. The farm life is purrfect, he says.

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