Bravest To The Rescue: 9 Kittens, Cat Rescued From Chilly Fate In Coney Island

NY Daily News - November 28, 2009

by Amy Sacks

It was the purr-fect rescue by the New York City's Bravest.

A bundle of nine shivering kittens and a mama cat abandoned in a fish tank outside a Coney Island firehouse are fe-line fine this weekend, after being saved by some big-hearted firefighters with a soft spot for animals.

Firefighters at Engine 318 and Ladder 166, known for their heroic Brooklyn water rescues, were returning from a run Sunday when a cacophony of meows alerted them to another hairy situation.

"They were soaking wet and freezing cold," said Firefighter Giancarlo Andriano, who spied the crying kittens huddled together in the glass tank in a grocery cart parked on the side of the firehouse.

The large black mom was roaming around the nearby Dumpster in the freezing rain. "They were all in pretty bad shape," he said.

An assembly line of beefy firefighters helped towel dry, clean and feed the hungry cats and used a space heater - and their strong arms - to keep them warm in the firehouse.

The kitties were also beginning to warm their hearts, but sadly, a busy firehouse is no place for 10 feisty felines, said Firefighter Steve Shedd.

Instead, he spent the day working the phones. "People were telling me there's nothing they could do for us," he said, noting many shelters and rescue groups said they were filled to capacity due to a massive overpopulation crisis of needy kittens and cats.

After a call for help to the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals the felines found a home at the Humane Society of New York, where they were delivered in a cardboard box by the Alliance's Wheels of Hope program.

"We are PACKED but we looked around and we thought we could manage them," said Humane Society Executive Director Sandra Defeo. The shelter has 175 cats and kittens, and many wonderful dogs that are also desperate for a new home.

The nine adorable gray and black tabbies, which were part of two litters - about 5 weeks and 8 weeks old - are being monitored and treated before they become available for adoption.

The mom, a sweet, black domestic short-hair named Neptune, will be also up for adoption next week if the firehouse decides they cannot keep her.

Meanwhile thousands of cats and kittens around the city are in need of good homes.

"We are hoping New Yorkers will open their homes like New York's Bravest to the hundreds of wonderful cats and kittens waiting during this holiday season for a home of their own in shelters," said Mayor's Alliance president Jane Hoffman.

The Mayor's Alliance also stepped in this week to help Carmen, the 10-year-old Russian blue who was taken to the Animal Care & Control shelter last week after her owners told cops she attacked them. She was slated to be euthanized at the end of a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

Its believed Carmen's untreated thyroid condition may have caused her anxiety, but owner Rosa Davila said she could not afford to treat her cat of nine years.

After an outpouring by concerned animal lovers, however, the Mayor's Alliance arranged to have Carmen treated for her thyroid problem at a local veterinary hospital, paid for by the Picasso Fund.

The fund helps pay for the care of sick or injured animals that are transferred out of ACC shelters. To donate, go to www.animalalliancenyc.org. Carmen may soon be available for adoption.

To inquire about adopting the FDNY kittens or other available animals, contact the Humane Society of NY adoption Hotline at (212) 752-4842, ext. 229.

Online, go to www.humanesocietyny.org.