All About CPAW NJ & Karen Shinevar

Ever since mom met Karen Shinevar, co-founder of Communities Promoting Animal Welfare (CPAW) NJ about 18 months ago, she has been so impressed by Karen and her efforts on behalf of our most vulnerable – our stray and community cats.

What is CPAW?

CPAW NJ is a local Montclair, NJ non-profit dedicated to keeping cats out of shelters by preventing surrenders and controlling the outdoor cat populations.

When CPAW NJ launched, the intent was to help make the world a better place by raising awareness about the need for Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return (TNVR) and helping pet owners keep their pets.

What is CPAW NJ’s #1 mission?

Education and solutions to reduce cat overpopulation and suffering is their #1 mission – Karen always says that getting the stray cats spayed or neutered is their main action plan which will, over time, reduce the cat population and help our community cats lead a healthier and better life.

They make their action plan happen through collaborations with community partners and raising awareness through education and training.

They advise feeders and colony caretakers who are on high alert for any new cats who show up and don’t have the universal sign of an un-neutered cat, a tipped ear. They will coordinate with the feeders to start trapping those cats and getting them fixed!

How can CPAW NJ help residents?

People call them when they find cats in their yard and don’t know what to do or if a familiar stray cat has an injury and they need help in catching the cat so it can get vet help.

Residents will reach out to them when they have a “difficult” cat who they are thinking of surrendering to the local animal shelter. CPAW NJ will then work with them on the issues to try to save the situation or help in re-homing the cat. Cat and dog surrenders are the saddest events possible as those pets lived as members of a family – and now they will be in a cage at the shelter.

Since CPAW NJ launched, Karen and the team have:

  • taught people how to trap cats in their own backyards

  • brought the People for Animals “Neuter Scooter” to Montclair NJ for local residents to have access to low-cost spay/neuter days and vet care…currently this is a monthly event

  • counseled pet owners on Cat Behavior as many pets are surrendered by pet owners who don’t understand “CAT”…currently gives classes on Cat Behavior 101

  • stocked pet food at the Montclair Humane Needs Food Pantry to help people have food to keep their pets…another reason pets are surrendered

  • advocated against feral cat feeding bans and encouraged municipal funding and support for TNVR

Each month, CPAW NJ publishes a newsletter chock full of good information, noteworthy rescue stories and coming events. They are a very active group and offer monthly classes and cat-related events.

Just this month they had a screening of “The Cat Rescuers”, a documentary film about cats struggling to survive in NYC and the people who work to help them with TNVR efforts. The film follows 4 individuals who are “boots on the ground” cat rescuers as they went about trying to help their local stray cats.

The film was accurate, poignant, funny and will bring tears to your eyes – it takes a special person to commit themselves to helping those cats who are living the hard life on the streets. Often vilified by residents who don’t like cats, harassed by towns who don’t “get it” and always short on money, these rescuers carry on and get the job done – even including getting the friendlies adopted.

CPAW NJ and Karen Shinevar are just the cat advocates this world needs more of – and we applaud them and consider them our heros for all that they do! Since April 2017, the organization has spayed and neutered 836 cats!!

If you would like to learn more about Karen and her organization, check out their website and sign up for the newsletter. Consider becoming a volunteer or foster if you live in the area as they always need more “hands”! Also donations are greatly appreciated so they can continue doing all the great work they do for the benefit of our most vulnerable kitties.