Cat City

100 Sandoval St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Sunday April 28th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Cat City (2023) is a documentary chronicling Chicago’s love/hate relationship with feral cats.

A ground-breaking 2007 ordinance protects feral cats in Chicago that have been trapped, neutered and returned (TNR) to their neighborhoods. Dubbed community cats, they control rats, enable government to avoid the cost and perception of catch and kill policies, and provide love and meaning to their caretakers. There are now thousands of cat colonies in Chicago, many with only a single cat, but some with more than 40. These colonies are fed by volunteer caretakers that report on their well-being yearly. Many ferals succumb to the elements, are hit by cars, or catch diseases, but the most hardy, tough and careful survive many seasons and become legends in their neighborhoods.

While the TNR community advocates for feral cats, birders see Chicago’s ordinance as an abomination that protects a non-native species that kills billions of birds each year. In pursuit of a better approach, in 2019, animal scientists came together to conduct the Washington DC Cat Count, the most rigorous study of feral cats ever attempted, creating science to inform better policy. Could this new science change Chicago’s policy? Public opinion researcher Anne Beall doesn’t think so, as policy is based on popularity, not science, and people love cats.

Cat City features Autumn – aka Castleblackpaw – a TNR activist supporting marginalized caretakers; Julia Kilgour – an animal scientist at Purdue University and the Lincoln Park Zoo; Stacey Williams – an army veteran and apartment manager on Chicago’s westside; Annette Prince – a bird advocate saving birds that collide with Chicago’s skyline – and many more intriguing humans and animals.

Through an ensemble story and cinematic style, Cat City presents a holistic portrait of the many feral cat issues and interventions, to inform better outcomes for all people and animals.


For over 15 years, Ben Kolak has worked as a documentary cinematographer, editor, producer, and director. He is also a FAA-licensed UAV/Drone pilot. Ben enjoys collaborating with small teams on projects designed to encourage social good. He graduated from The University of Chicago in 2006, serves on the board of the Media Burn Video Archive and is a member of The Arts Club of Chicago.


Ben Kolak


Rebecca Burns, Researcher


Kyra Mitchell


José Agustín Donoso (Editor) Michael del Rosario (Assistant Editor) Kerry Stevens (Designer / Assistant Editor Jamaal Crowder (Composer) Hannah Kolak (Composer)

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