Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 56)

Murray was orphaned at a very young age. I’m sure many of you know that already. He was so young he had to be bottle-fed by human hands. I talked over Chapter 56 with Murray and he agreed that those human hands are what I need to write about today.

Murray was nurtured by two people: Lisa and PJ. Though PJ doesn’t quite remember Murray (due to the number of cats he’s cared for before, and since) he is responsible for much of Murray’s trust of humans.
When Murray was a few weeks old, Lisa took over. Because Murray is unable to thank them personally, I’m going to try and do it for him.

PJ and Lisa have dedicated themselves to starting a unique animal advocacy group, and I’m attempting to contribute what I can to their effort.


“The Empty Cages Collective (ECC) is a New York-based animal and environmental advocacy organization. ECC aims to cultivate a culture where animals are recognized as fellow sentient beings worthy of respectful and compassionate treatment. Through advocacy, education, hands-on rescue and assistance, the ECC envisions a world free of animal exploitation, abuse, and ecologically destructive behavior.”


They Trap, Neuter and Release animals back into their natural habitats. Here’s where being a realist can actually make a difference. As opposed to someone like me, who can only see the big picture, someone who wants ALL animal abuse to stop, all homeless cats to be adopted, all things to wrap up perfectly. It’s never going to happen that way. Instead of doing something, I get overwhelmed and give up.

PJ isn’t like that. Neither is Lisa. Sure, they want all of those things as well, but they’re a bit more level-headed about it. They take it day by day. They’re hoping that with every cat they trap and neuter, a dozen less will be born next season. They’re hoping that we city-dwellers can one day coexist with our city-dwelling friends. They’re hoping to teach people that animals living within the city aren’t a nuisance and that it’s not necessary to kill every stray or feral or wild animal you come across.

There’s room for all of us. Hell, they were probably here first anyway.

The problems they’re facing is that they’ve found so many adoptable kittens during their trapping efforts that they’re running out of room and resources to continue with their TNR efforts. To put it bluntly, they need some help.


When I asked PJ what they needed the most, he gave me the following list: donate, volunteer, and adopt. He reiterated twice to me that donate and volunteer are head-to-head in urgency. Granted, if they can get the cats they have in-house adopted soon, they might have more money to use for TNR. Obviously, adoption is important as well.

I’m writing this today on behalf of Murray and all the critters out there that are needlessly killed. Can you help Lisa and PJ and their cause? Do you have a dollar to spare? Do you have some time to donate? Do you have a Web site you can use to help get the word out? Can you write them some kind words? Anything will help, any amount, any number of hands or hours, any advertisement—big or small.

If you have some extra paypal cash and/or an Amazon gift card you’re not using, visit this link and send some stuff their way. (Some of the items on that list run as low as 4 bucks.)

If you’re interested in adopting a cat, here are the animals they have up for adoption. I’m going to put up some pictures as well.

And if you got some old balled up dollar bills you washed in that pair of jeans from last winter, they’ll take monetary donations as well.

For those of you who have some cash but don’t have a lot of time and just want to click a button and be done with it, here’s a link to their paypal account.

To read more about what they’ve been doing click here.

From here on out, I’m going to be donating as much as I can out of the money I make from advertising on this Web site. It’s not much, but it’s something. I purchased 90 pounds of cat litter for them yesterday. Like I said, every little thing matters right now. It doesn’t have to be a huge sum—or cash at all.

At some point in the near future, I plan on designing some banners for them so that other bloggers can add them to their site. I hope that you will join me getting the word out for them. I realize that they’re Brooklyn based right now, but if this works out—this model—it could become a nationwide advocacy group.

If you have a dime or or some time to spare, do it for Murray. He wouldn’t be here had it not been for these two people and their great big hearts.


  1. Stumpy.
    Funny Face.
    Lisa and PJ helped us help them all, three of them in forever homes, two more waiting for their chance, and the rest living comfortably under our old neighbors’ watch in our old backyard. None of the six girls will bear more kittens. Thinking of the numbers we’d be dealing with now had we not been able to get them fixed is overwhelming – think 3 to 4 kittens per litter, per female, several times a year – and ours was just one little colony of cats in Bushwick!

    What Lisa and PJ are doing is so important, and Mike and I are so grateful to them on a very personal level. We’ll do our part to help in whatever way we can, and I hope with all my heart that others will, too. We may not be able to give them all a home, but we can give them a chance at a better life.


  2. Thanks, Jen for writing and elaborating on how these two helped you out personally. I wish I had the words to really explain how amazing these two are and their efforts as well. Even if you’re not a cat lover like myself, it helps the community at large to take a few of the strays off the street. It really does help. Each cat that is fixed makes a huge difference.

    I hope that people can help in any way possible. I really mean it when I say a dollar helps them.

    Thanks again!


  3. Thanks for this Mihow! I love the project and I sent them a few items from their Amazon wish list this morning. If we all do just a little bit… whatever we can… these two can make a huge difference in our culture’s tendency to see homeless animals as disposable.


  4. Thanks, Julie! And from the West coast even! Brooklyn thanks you more than words can say.


  5. I would support this no matter where it was. :-)

    One quick question… I found a page for them on Petfinder (I’m going to link to your story from my site and ask people to donate). Have they thought about setting up a blog? It would be a way to keep people apprised of their progresses and to get more donations!

    Again, I think this is an awesome idea. The kitties certainly thank them.


  6. Lisa is working on a site. SHE MAY HAVE one already. I have to write her and get the link. If she does have one, and I get it up in time, link to them instead. I’ll look for it.

    Thanks, Julie! You’re a kind one, lovely lady.


  7. Just shot over a few bucks via PayPal. We got our beloved little furry guy from a shelter who took great care of him, but places like this are oh-so-very necessary.


  8. Thanks, Milissa! Yeah, it’s funny because had it not been for a feral, unfixed momma, Murray wouldn’t be here! I am happy he was born, but they need to get a hold of the feral cat population here in Brooklyn. It’s completely out of hand. We have a bunch living in our backyard, well, we did until the drunk hobos took over. Now, I am not sure where they are. :[

    Anyway, you guys are awesome.


  9. Thanks for this post. I just purchased a few items from their Amazon wish list and had it shipped to them, and it also made me think about organizations here in my hometown. I love cats, but my heart belongs to dogs, so I’ve sent out a few emails this morning offering to volunteer at my local rescue shelters and made a donation or 2 along the way. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of the things that are right in front of us. Thanks again!


  10. Thanks, Stephanie! They are working to help dogs as well. I think it’s just that there are SO MANY cats here in Brooklyn roaming the streets. I can’t speak for them entirely, but PJ told me his heart actually belongs to birds. They have worked to help squirrels here in the city as well as dogs, (which usually ends up being pit bulls because NYC is one of the largest dog fighting cities there is). They also are working to keep animal control from wiping out all our local raccoons. It’s a big beast to tame, but they are doing everything they can, which is why any little bit helps.

    You guys are kind.


  11. Lisa just sent me this link to their blog. She’s having trouble with the paypal link, however. When we get that sorted out, I think all links should go there.


  12. This is awesome. SO awesome. I am totally in awe of all that PJ and Lisa do for Brooklyn’s kitties.

    I just sent them a bunch of items from their amazon wish list. And I’m going to blog about this as well (we have no foster kitties at the moment, so I might as well talk about someone else’s kitty efforts!).

    Every little bit helps and every cat they help will have a better life because of this program. Thanks for posting this!


  13. Michele thank you so much for writing about this. All this has become so close to my heart and as soon as I get some cash in the ol’ US bank account I will donate some money to this fine, fine organisation.

    The husband and I took in three feral kittens off the street six months ago (who are doing fabulously now..amazing how far they have come) and since then, I have been trying to get involved in TNR over here in Ireland. It has been very difficult and frustrating and I break down about it and I am so happy that there are people out there in the world that are actually organising and doing something about this issue. (Sorry to ramble – been a really bad week so far…and it’s only just started).

    Thanks PJ and Lisa. Thank you.


  14. Thank you everyone for your help and kind words! I am sure Lisa and PJ appreciate it—the cats, birds and other critters as well!


  15. After reading this and seeing the pictures (and being a big fan of Murray), I had to help our PJ and Lisa, so I sent them several items from their Amazon wish list.

    Thanks for the post!


  16. what a great profile! thanks for giving these guys a much-needed bow. these guys have helped me fix some 20-odd cats around my neighborhood, and allowed us to be able to afford to take in many of them to adopt out. their dedication level is amazing, I wish I had more time to help them out, but the wishlist is a really good thing for them, and I hope this exposure gets more folks involved.


  17. I have four “strays” that my kiddos bought home over the past few years. Always with the intentions of fostering to give them up. Of course, those four, Elvis, Bigfaced Bub, Littleone and Shrute are all now part of our big happy family. You can bet we’ll be donating, we know how first hand how hard these organizations work and we are so grateful to them for saving kitties, and not just taking the easy way out and having them put down. Thank you M for always taking the time, no matter how busy you are to give a voice to good causes.


  18. A big thank you to Murray for letting Lisa and PJ share the spotlight on his day! I’ve been a fan of all the foster kitten and TNR photos on Lisa’s Flickr stream for months. Keep thinking I want to help somehow. Because of you, I finally made a donation.


  19. Wow! Where to begin to thank everyone for all the donations and encouraging words It’s easy to have a cynical view of the human race when you do this kind of work. You see so much cruelty and ignorance when it comes to how we treat animals. PJ and I both lean to a cynical point of view when it comes to “the public” tempered with a healthy, if dark, sense of humor. I think things are slowly changing for the better thanks to awesome writers like Michele, people taking direct action like Jennifer, Jimmy Legs and Isabel and everyone who donates or volunteers or even just brings up animal issues in their everyday conversations or sends an email.

    Thank you all so much! I’ll be thanking everyone individually as well and will post photos like Michele did with Emory’s baby gifts on flickr. The first box arrived today and it jingles, so we’re having a kitty-party tomorrow bigtime! PJ is placing a big food order at the wholesale place today with thanks to City Critters for letting us use their account to get the discounted prices.

    Oh and many headbonks and purrs from the cats and kittens!


  20. Mihow – I love your posts. I actually found your blog through your “The Birth of Emory” story and now I’m hooked. (I’m 5 weeks away from the birth of my own son and your story is helping me prepare to be a Brooklyn mom as well.)

    I was particularly touched by the ECC post. I’ve just donated items to them through their Amazon account. What a great organization! Thank you for getting out the word about what they do.



  21. Natasha: Thank you! You’re too kind. I’m sure you’re going to make some fuzzy people really happy!

    If you’re near, feel free to email me. Perhaps we can meet up someday!


  22. Hello,

    Thanks for posting this. I know Lisa from Flickr, and am always grateful for the amazing work that she and her colleagues do. I’ve donated some time ago, and am moved to do so again today. It takes a very strong soul to do what Lisa does. She’s a hero to me.

    I am so appreciative of an organization that not only cares for these sadly discarded animals, but also goes to the root of the problem and works with neutering these strays, as well as educating people, so that maybe one day this problem won’t exist – – at least not at this level.

    In closing, I want to say that your photos here are so striking…Really something…

    All the best. I’m going to donate now.



  23. You guys are really amazing. I can’t even begin to tell you how warm your comments make me feel. While there are some really awful people out there, it’s a good thing knowing more folks are like you.

    And yes, Lisa is my hero as well. Truly.


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