Kitty hoarder on the hunt for new pet-friendly digs

Barbara Berger’s cats have names like Jake, Yoshi, Montgomery and Caca.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A Brighton Beach cat hoarder about to be evicted from her apartment for having too many kitties is hunting for a new home with a pet-friendly policy.

Barbara Berger, a feline fanatic who got rid of half of the 45 cats that once roamed her one-bedroom apartment on Coney Island Avenue — but is still facing eviction for refusing to part with all but two — is frantically searching for a building whose landlord will let her move in with the 10 kitties she claims she can’t live without.

“I would take anything that’s halfway decent,” said Berger, who’s hoping for a place near the ocean in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay. “I tell [landlords] I have pets. I think 10 is reasonable.”

But Berger — who pays just $153 per-month for her rent-subsidized home — is running out of time to find a new place to live.

A housing court judge is scheduled to hold an eviction hearing on June 4, and the emergency transfer voucher that Berger obtained from the city to help pay for a new apartment expires in mid-July — meaning that Berger could soon wind up on the streets.

Berger’s friend Andrew Kent said the cat lover’s situation is getting dire.

“We’re hoping she can find a new apartment soon,” said Kent, who’s helping with the search.

Berger moved into her apartment near Neptune Avenue with 15 cats in 2007, but the number quickly ballooned to 45 as she took in strays off the street and accepted unwanted kittens from neighbors and friends.

Herald Realty Group threatened to evict Berger from her apartment in December if she didn’t get rid of 43 of the cats. She began unloading her kittens with the help of the Petco and the Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella group, whose founder put 22 of the pets up for adoption before having a falling out with Berger last month.

Berger missed a May 13 deadline to downsize her brood, and has insisted all along that she would rather be homeless than part with her 10 favorite kitties.

“I don’t want to give up the cats that I love,” Berger said.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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