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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Feral Cats Ignore Eminent Domain

    It turns out the work of the New London Development Corp., in clearing the Fort Trumbull peninsula, is not quite done.

    It's true, now that the last of the houses have been demolished, the agency appears to have succeeded in finally eliminating all traces of the old neighborhood.

    The crown of the hill where the houses of some of the last holdouts stood the longest has been swept clean, and there's not so much as a trace of the families that used to call this block home.

    And yet, some life still stirs here.

    Under a stand of trees, not far from the original site of Susette Kelo's little pink house, the enduring symbol of the city's bruising eminent domain wars, is a small colony of feral cats.

    There were some accounts of wild cats living in some of the abandoned buildings at Fort Trumbull, before they were torn down. They were spotted coming and going and, in some cases, perched on the front steps, as if waiting for someone to come home.

    And now they've taken up residence in a makeshift little hut at the top of the hill that has apparently been crafted for them out of some old debris.

    The main shelter is an aluminum box with windows that might have come off an old boat. There's some hay stuffed inside and a plywood lean-to on one side seems to provide more open air shelter from the rain.

    There's a bowl and a plate nearby, and so it appears someone may be feeding them, too.

    I counted six cats on a recent visit, one or two inside the hut on a cold afternoon, and a few more lounging around in the overgrown grass nearby. But I would guess there are quite a few more.

    Some of them appear to be related, certainly the ones that share the same dark grey colored fur and white markings in some of the same places. A few are pretty big and appear to be well fed.

    They are also skittish. I suspect it would be hard to catch one if you were to try.

    These cats, it might be noted, have claimed quite a spot for themselves.

    To the south, you can look all the way down the Thames River, toward Fishers Island and The Race. To the north you can see the skyline of downtown New London, probably quite beautiful lit up at night.

    And across the street are the trim and landscaped grounds of the fort itself. This expansive state park is bounded by a decorative black metal fence, nothing to keep out an adventurous cat.

    There's always the danger of displacement, of course. But something tells me these cats have not much to fear from the NLDC's current call for development offers for the site.

    Sadly, given the economic climate, I suspect this interesting little hilltop will remain simply the rubble of a ruined neighborhood for quite some time to come.

    I have never heard anyone from the NLDC accept any blame for the things that went wrong at Fort Trumbull.

    I wonder, though, if someone from the agency might take responsibility for all the cats that now call the place home.

    This Is The Opinion Of David Collins.

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