Rutgers instructor saves New Brunswick stray cats
Albert Nigrin has been rescuing abandoned cats on campus for the past 15 years, in which time he found homes for more than 200 strays.
Nigrin co-founded Scarlet Paws Animal Welfare Network, a non-profit organization composed of faculty, staff and students working together to promote the humane treatment of abandoned animals found on Rutgers campuses.
If a cat is too wild for adoption, Nigrin traps, neuters and releases the cat, a method known as TNR.
“I absolutely neuter every cat I capture in order to keep the population down,” said Nigrin, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Cinema Studies.
Cat overpopulation is not unique to Rutgers, he said. There are large quantities of stray cats in most large cities, urban areas and college campuses.
The large stray cat population at Rutgers may be the result of “irresponsible owners.”
Many college students take in strays during the school year that they cannot afford to care for and then move back home in the spring, leaving the cat behind, Nigrin said.
“It’s no accident that there is an influx of strays on campus every May,” he said.
Forming “cat colonies” is another method to control the population of stray cats on campus.
A “cat colony” is formed when a member of the community provides regular feeding, proper shelter and spay/neuter services to a group of feral cats that congregate in a specific location.
Eventually, the caretaker captures the cats, neuters them and releases them back to the colony’s location, Nigrin said. After being spayed or neutered, cats living in colonies tend to gain weight, live healthier lives and will not reproduce.
“The old modus operandi for stray cats was if they were too wild, you put them to sleep,” he said. “That’s something I never did. Unless the animal is sick, I try to find a home for them."