Animal-Lovers Scramble to Rescue Cats as Feline Nonprofit Burns

Image of 167 West 73rd via Google Streetview.

A fire on Sunday left the owner of a cat rescue group in a scary situation. Bunny Hofberg runs Frankie’s Fund For Feline Care and Rescue, a nonprofit, out of her home at 167 West 73rd Street. A fire broke out in the apartment around 2:30 p.m., while she was out of the house, the Daily News reported. Hofberg raced back and sent out a notice on Facebook calling for help. People brought cat carriers and helped her get the felines out of the apartment. According to Hofberg, none of them were hurt.

The cause of the blaze is still unclear, but Hofberg told the News and Post that it may have started in her oven, which she uses to store papers (like many New Yorkers who don’t cook. Update: We don’t recommend this practice, but were just noting that she’s not the only New Yorker who stores stuff in her oven. It’s a bad idea! Even if you don’t cook, leave your junk out of the oven.)

About 20 cats were in the apartment. Six are being held by a local veterinarian and five by friends, with Hofberg holding on to the rest.

We’ve reached out to Bunny to ask how people can help and will report back when we know.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. Kat French says:

      “…many New Yorkers” store papers in the oven? That’s nuts! Store plates or something else non-combustible.

      Thank goodness none of the cats died because of this carelessness.

    2. Jimbo says:

      Store paper in the oven? Crazy. Pots and pans maybe but anything flammable is just dumb.

    3. Brenda Starr, Reporter says:

      Wow, what a great headline:


      and it’s NOT “fake news”

    4. Wendy says:

      Also, too many pet shops in N.Y.C. have burned; &,, too many horse stables in U.S.A..Remembering many cat/dog carriers-boxes which I saw on Sidewalks, some times. Would “Purina” company be of help ? n.b., St. Francis of Assisi. I like my German language word : Hofberg: would it also be Hoffburg. ? Which type of Oven ? Any Times of London, {England] ? Already prayed. I know of some other folk, who care for stray/or, feral, or homeless Cats. Is Bunny un-injured ?

    5. robert says:

      While I’m glad the Cats were not hurt. I’m more concerned for this person neighbors. Sorry but 99.9% of NYC people do NOT key piles of paper in and/or anywhere near their stove. This sounds much more like a Collier Mansion situation.
      She is creating a health & safety hazard for all the other residents. As an example she didn’t come home and it was a smoky fire in the middle of the night, her neighbor upstairs dies in their sleep from smoke inhalation. Believe it or not this happens more often than you would think

    6. Allison says:

      I’m happy the cats are safe 🙂

    7. Renee L says:

      Bunny is terrific. She was cat-sitting for me this past weekend. She takes care of numerous geriatric diabetic cats, is always around, and is extremely reliable. I’ve emailed her myself, but please do let all of us know when WSR figures out a way to help. She’s a valued member of the community who does a lot without asking for much in return.

    8. UWS resident says:

      Running a cat rescue with 20 cats out of her APARTMENT and storing paper in the OVEN.

      I can’t even begin to say how much is wrong with this situation. Those cats could have perished. What kind of a person stores papers in their oven? Clearly nobody with any common sense or responsibility.

      This is negligence and highly irresponsible – this women doesn’t deserve to be taking care of any cats let alone 20.

    9. Shalom Stavsky says:

      In addition to the issue of storing papers in an oven — which sounds like a very New York thing to do but doesn’t make much sense — keeping twenty cats in an apartment is probably not the healthiest situation, either. The current nine is at least a little better.

    10. Pjay says:

      This is very sad. I hope neighbors all step up the neighbors that have space for an extra pet, or no pets would be the best help to her.

    11. EricaC says:

      Sorry to pile on, but this is really awful – no, it is not typical for New Yorkers to store papers (or other flammable materials) in a working oven. Seriously – this is a good example of why. Please. If you’re doing that, please stop!

      • Dissident says:

        What about housing twenty cats in a brownstone apartment?

        • Pjay says:

          Most rescuers are very diligent when it comes to the health& welfare of their rescues. I’ve seen yuppies with one cat leave a filthy litter box for a week! Rescuers wouldn’t have 20 cats if HUMANS were responsible owners. Be careful before you throw stones!

    12. Rita says:

      So happy that none of the cats or people were injured. Please store your papers elsewhere! The oven is not the place for anything so flammable. Everyone was lucky this time.

    13. Violet says:

      Storing papers in the oven (like many New Yorkers who don’t cook)…. That is the craziest thing I ever read! WSR, it reads as if you actually condone this.

    14. mc says:

      I’m thrilled that the cats are fine and that apparently no humans were harmed as well, but count me in on the shock that people save papers in the OVEN.

      I actually use mine for cooking, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be using it for a file cabinet.

      Again, though, happy that it turned out ok.

    15. Oona says:

      I telephoned today to volunteer and take one or two kittens until the rescue is up and running but the rescue only takes care of senior cats. I was unable to help because I have a cat who will only tolerate kittens. If you know anyone who would be willing to foster a senior cat…

    16. Cintra says:

      Very foolish to store papers in oven. I already have 3 cats, otherwise I don’t mind taking in more cats. Thank God cats are all accounted for and fine.

    17. Nia Gill says:

      I am available to adopt a kitten. Please call me 917.741.6313