It took a borough — or two — to save this kitty!
Leaders of a local animal-rescue group cheered the efforts of two Southern Brooklynites and another city dweller who saved a stray kitty from life on the streets, recently giving one of the do-gooders an award as part of the organization’s ongoing initiative to reduce the number of feral felines citywide.
The Gravesend woman who first discovered the wayward fur ball — and started the chain of events that took the kitty to Bay Ridge, Queens, and ultimately its forever home in Texas — said the whole ordeal started back in 2015, when Babydoll first showed up on her patio looking for a bite to eat.
“I’m an animal lover and I love feeding these cats,” said Fran Coyle.
Following her initial visit, Babydoll regularly returned to Coyle’s house — often with friends — over the next two years, knowing she could always find a fresh meal, according to the homeowner, who said there were times no less than eight strays swung by looking for grub.
“I wake up in the morning and sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed, but I do because I know the cats are waiting for me,” she said.
But in November 2017, Coyle noticed that Babydoll suddenly stopped eating, and wouldn’t leave the makeshift shelter the animal lover set up for the cat in her yard.
Coyle then took Babydoll to a vet in Bay Ridge, who kept her for about a week for treatment after she contracted a serious cold, according to the doctor, who said the kitty was all skin and bones when her care taker dropped her off.
“The cat was in a very poor body condition and dehydrated at the time, it had a 106-degree fever and we had to keep her here for a few days,” said Dr. Ninette Ibrahim, who nursed Babydoll back to health at the Animal Clinic of Bay Ridge on 86th Street between Seventh Avenue and Dahlgren Place.
Ibrahim on Dec. 4 received the honor from the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals — which has no affiliation with the mayor’s office — for her work to get Babydoll back on her feet last year, but the cat’s vet-assisted recovery was not the end of her ordeal.
Coyle could not keep Babydoll after her stint at the veterinarian, due to what she said are her severe allergies to cats, so she called around to city rescues until a Manhattan shelter put her in touch with a Queens woman, who said she agreed to foster the ball of fuzz and get her in better shape.
“She was in a bad condition, really frail,” said Clara Collazo.
The foster mom said the kitty arrived at her place with dirty, matted fur — under which, she found something even more grisly.
“The day before Thanksgiving we took her to a grooming place in Queens because we wanted her to be clean. They gave her a hair cut, and then we discovered she was covered in fleas,” said Collazo. “She was infested.”
The groomers gave the Babydoll a three-hour cleanse that included a flea bath to get rid of the pests, which made her anemic because they sucked so much of her blood, according to the Queens resident.
Babydoll remained in the care of Collazo — the owner of two other felines — for months, and when the foster mom moved to faraway Texas this past January, she decided to become the kitty’s real mom, adopting her out of fear the cat would not find another home in New York City.
“We weren’t sure if she was going to get adopted and I figured we had a space,” she said.
Babydoll still suffers from an autoimmune disease, however, which Collazo treats by giving her medication and steroids every other day — a regimen she said has already helped the cat develop a fuller, healthier figure.
“I call her my loaf of bread because she plumped up a bit,” Collazo said.
And although Babydoll learned to co-exist with her owner’s two tomcats, Thumper and Bravo, the former stray still exhibits traits picked up during her life on the streets, Collazo said.
“She’s not the most social cat, she’s very shy and needs her space,” she said. “I call her a true New Yorker, do not get in her space.”