By Lisa Kava
Four little kittens, recently rescued and currently being fostered on the Upper West Side, will soon need forever homes.
The kittens, named Maggie, Bart, Lisa, and Ralphie, after characters on the television show, The Simpsons, were rescued by members of The West 104th Street Community Garden. They are believed to be only eight weeks old, and are being fostered by a garden member and cat lover, Nikki Kowalski.
The West 104th Street Community Garden is located between Manhattan Avenue and Central Park West. On October 20th, a garden member spotted the kittens and a mother cat, in an alley adjacent to the garden, and wrote about them in the garden newsletter. Upon reading, another member and cat rescue advocate, Sara Lewkowicz, became determined to rescue the kittens as the weather was getting colder. However, after looking for them day and night, it became apparent that the kittens were no longer living in the alley.
The search-and-rescue operation took a few weeks. “I was starting to feel despondent that I’d never find them,” Lewkowicz said. She told the story to as many neighbors as possible. Ultimately, one spotted the kittens in her backyard. “This neighbor happens to be the sister of my next-door neighbor in my building around the corner, so through chit-chat I was able to ascertain that these were the kittens originally spotted by the garden member,” Lewkowicz explained. She then enlisted a rescue organization called Harlem Cats, directing their rescue staff to the yard.
Three of the kittens were rescued on November 20th, and the fourth, Ralphie, on November 24th. “It took four days to trap him but finally, the day before Thanksgiving, we were able to do it,” Lewkowicz said. “We were frantic to get him out of the cold.”
Once the kittens were rescued, they needed a foster home, but Lewkowicz was already fostering kittens. Kowalski stepped up, and has been busy feeding the kittens, changing their litterboxes, and socializing them. “Lots of holding and cuddling and getting them used to people in general,” Kowalski said. “All four of these guys were friendly very quickly.”
The kittens, who are being seen at discounted prices by the vets at Brilliant Vet Care on West 91st Street, had a clean bill of health after their visit on November 29th, according to Lewkowicz. “The vet said they are in excellent health, very clean and well nourished.” The kittens will soon be spayed and neutered and then listed for adoption with Harlem Cats. “Our goal is for the kittens to be adopted together, or at least in pairs, since kittens at this age need to be with other kittens,” Lewkowicz said.
Next, Lewkowicz hopes to rescue the mother cat, for whom she has been leaving food in the yard. “We want to assess whether the mom is a feral cat [an unsocialized, undomesticated cat, who lives outdoors and is fearful of people,] or if she was dumped. If there is an indication that she was dumped, we would like to figure out a foster and adoption situation for her too. If she is feral, we will get her spayed so she will not have any more kittens.”
We will update this story with a link, once the kittens are ready for adoption. In the meantime, if you would like to help contribute towards the kittens’ medical expenses and supplies, Kowalski has set up a GoFundMe, which can be found here.