Catnip Nation

Valley Cottage, Rockland County | Film Feature


Tina Traster

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $12,444 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

33 supporters | followers

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For every cat who has a lap to sit on, there’s another surviving on the streets. There are 90 million feral cats roaming the U.S., unprotected by laws & from people who want them dead. Catnip Nation brings awareness to this invisible feline genocide and meets those on the humanitarian front lines.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

How can we care for one another if we can't care for street cats who need our help? Catnip Nation is a story of compassion and tolerance, exposing the cat fights people endure while innocent cats suffer and die. While politicians and neighbors turn a blind eye, colony caretakers show true empathy.

The Story

Every day, no matter the weather, no matter what, Stony Point resident Andrea LeResche climbs into a tangled copse to feed a colony of cats. And Drazen Cackovic, a Nyack architect, steals time away from his blue prints, to care for a group of felines he keeps in his office. Meanwhile, Ken Salerno, a one-man cat whisperer, makes frequent visits to a New Jersey sanctuary, where he has relocated more than 60 beach cats who would have been rounded up from under the boardwalk in Seaside Heights and taken to shelters, or killed.
These are just some of the characters we meet in Catnip Nation, a full-length documentary that looks deep into the soul of a handful of unsung and unseen heroes who feed and care for feral cats. In some cases, the best-case scenario is for feral "colonies" to be fed, but also to be TNRed -- which means Trap Neuter Returned. Over time, a colony fades out, which is the goal: stopping the endless cycles of kitten births. TNR has been shown to be the proven way to deal with large populations of homeless cats. Nevertheless, it takes "a village" to condone and enable TNR. What our "characters" know all too well is that despite their best intentions, they are constantly dealing with adversity: angry neighbors, misguided animal control officers, apathetic or mercurial politicians, and development pressures. As we get to know our characters throughout the documentary, it becomes clear as to what makes them tick. Why they do what they do, and how they sustain themselves through such diversity.
The ASPCA estimates there are some 90 million cats living on the streets, in every community, nationwide. Some cities have adopted favorable TNR policies, but too many don't. Additionally, TNR only works if there is a collaboration of cooperation among colony caretakers, veterinarians, communities, public officials, etc. It really does take a village to endorse and enforce good rules for cat colony management. The alternative is bleak. Feral cats, by and large, remain unadoptable. When animal control officers round up cats and take them to shelters, that's the end of the line. These cats will get put down. Euthanizing healthy animals is inhumane, even if many see them as nuisances. Also, many times angry neighbors take matters into their own hands, poisoning or harming cats. This is illegal, yet it happens all the time. Education on TNR can slow down this injustice.
TNR-friendly communities have learned ways to mitigate the needs of everyone, feral cats included. Not everyone is cat-sympathetic -- although you'd never know it considering the cat-love we see everyday on the Internet and in popular culture at large. TNR is hard work, and we need to celebrate those who undertake this burden, often at their own expense, and their own peril. In a humane society, we take care of animals. We are hoping Catnip Nation will change hearts and minds on this subject. We're hoping cat lovers will help ignite a grassroots movement demanding a humane solution for feline homelessness. We need the conversation to be brought into the open; it needs to be aired, understood and addressed. 


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Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Camera Crew

Costs $2,100

Director of Photography for 12 upcoming shoots.

On-Site Producer

Costs $2,100

Two on-site producers at all production shoots coordinating locations & talent.

Production Travel

Costs $1,000

Travel and lodging expenses during production.

Sound rental

Costs $800

Location Sound rentals. Wireless Mic rentals. Boom Mic rental. 744T 4-Channel Portable Audio Recorder with Timecode.

About This Team

The Catnip Nation team is comprised of dedicated and award winning filmmakers with a passion for all things cats. Director, Tina Traster, has an accomplished background in journalism for papers like The New York Times, The New York Post, and Huffington Post. She is also the author of the acclaimed memoir Rescuing Julia Twice: A Mother's Tale of Russian Adoption and Overcoming Reactive Attachment Disorder. She first worked with filmmaker and author, Lennon Nersesian, on her inaugural, socially-conscious short-documentary, This House Matters, which garnered awards in several film festivals. Nersesian brought his technical and creative expertise from working on prize-winning feature documentaries, such as TWO: The Story of Roman & Nyro & In Our Backyard: A look into Brooklyn sex trafficking. Along with award-winning cinematographer and documentary filmmaker, Karin Hayes (We’re Not Broke, The Kidnapping of Ingrid BetancourtHeld Hostage in Colombia, & Pip & Zastrow: An American Friendship, etc.), the Catnip Nation crew is excited to uncover the underground world of feral cats.

Current Team