A KISMET CAT STORY:
THE JOURNEY OF BB, aka KHLOE, aka
JOEY, aka KAOI
a cat with almost as many names as lives
She showed up on the streets of Kismet mid winter. Her owners had
left town in the middle of the night without paying rent and leaving their
three cats behind. I first saw her in May, a small, sleek all black cat with
amazing yellow-green eyes and a barely discernible patch of white under her
chin, on long ballerina graceful legs.
She was declawed, neutered and housebroken we later learned. . We
named her BB for Black Beauty
What made her extraordinary, besides her beauty, was her fearless
accessibility. She would greet people on the walk and rub against them, obviously
craving affection but stopped short at being picked up, which she tolerated for
a moment before wriggling free.
While most feral cats couple for protection, warmth in the winter
and whatever else motivates them – all neutered by our KLAW association – in
serially monogamous relationships, she stood alone, independent and serene,
wandering around, plopping down on in the middle of a busy street corners to
the delight of passers by who petted and coo-ed over her. Sunning herself in
the middle of active crossroad corner confident that traffic, human and
vehicular, would go around her, and they did. Amazing for a house cat she not
only avoided starvation, but the dangers of foxes and raccoons, let alone nasty
territorial feral cats who resented her existence. She even challenged the big
dogs being walked by their owners.
She became a legend in the town.
Feeding feral cats can be very frustrating, as I have done in
front of my front door for many years, (I have donated the land behind my house
as a year round cat feeding/shelter area) without ever being able to touch
them. So I was thrilled to find one pet-able and she eventually came into the
house with me – in a feral sort of way. I even installed a pet door in my screen
door so she could come and go at will – and she mostly went – loved being out
Once 2 little girls kidnapped her and took her to their home two
blocks away – after two days she escaped and was seen wandering around ‘till
someone brought her back, where she had to reestablish her sovereignty over the
ferals in my garden. Apparently house cats holds trump over strays and she
would proudly (though hesitantly) exit my house and wait while they made way
for her - never lifting a paw, or vocalizing or hiss, only her regal demeanor (she
was half their size) sufficed.
So she came and went during the summer weeks – coming in to eat
from her special dish, sleep as desired and leave at will.
The raccoons that would come after dark were a problem as they
could get thru the pet door, so I found myself rushing home just after sunset each
day to sit and hoping she would show up before closing the sliding doors which
would keep her out. On nights when she was out I would wake at 6AM and open
the door so she could get in – and “wake” me in bed pawing my face, head
butting me and purring in my ear till I got up to feed her indoors and the rest
These were precious moments and I didn’t mind being sleep deprived
most of the time.
But as season’s end approached I knew she would not be happy in a
NYC apartment and the threat of adoption loomed heavy on my heart even though I
knew it was best for her.
Under a lucky star, BB wandered 2 houses down mid August where the
Romanzi family had just put down a beloved pet, Coalie. It freaked them out to
see an exact replication sitting by their house. Still grieving for him they
were reluctant to make new attachments so soon but BB proved irresistible and I
convinced them to take her home on the mainland. They named her Khloe.
Soon they noticed she was breathing heavily and lethargic. This is
the email I got from Patty Romanzi:
We are now calling him Joey, he had been showing signs of breathing difficulty,
and on his shoulder/chest on Sunday I noticed he had a puncture wound, the vet
cleaned it up and gave him a shot of antibiotics, I am noticing he still has
breathing problems, I took a ball and rubbed in a bag of catnip which he chased
around for a couple minutes and saw his belly rising with each breath, we so
adore this little guy and will do whatever is best he seems to be adapting well
he sits very quietly all day on one chair in the living room and will nudge you
when he is ready for affection. If I come out for the weekend I will bring her,
but am not letting her out I will let you know if you want her by your house
for a little while. She seems to be content to be an indoor cat. Which
considering the lack of claws and his current situation I think is best
And then this email
I know by now you’re aware, that we took home the little black cat, who
we were calling Khloe, her first visit to the vet was yesterday and I am very
sorry to say the Vet informed us this is a very sick little cat. Lou had
mentioned she had labored breathing and we also did think she seemed to be
extremely lethargic. She is a he and probably 3-4 years old. Anyway
the Vet would not administer any vaccinations' because she is very concerned
about the noise in his lungs on both sides and suggested we have an x-ray
to see if this is pneumonia or if something else is going on, it was
also suggested to have a wellness test done and the cost of these procedures is
$187 & 225 respectively. I think you were aware that we just put our cat Coaly
to sleep less the two months ago and had incurred a costly bill for him And
after spending over $100 yesterday and these other costs I had been talking to
Joanie and she suggested I write to you to see if KLAW would be willing to help
with these expenses. We are so upset especially after the Vet told me if he dies
suddenly we would need him tested for rabies and if he should die over the
weekend, to put him in a plastic bag in the freezer!!
Bad news: he is a very sick kitty
Good News: Island Rescue referred Patty to the Emergency Hospital for a special x-ray - they discovered a microchip and traced his owner.
He had disappeared a year ago February 2011 from East Meadow. That would mean he
was missing more than a year and a half! The owner, who has Leukemia herself,
was incredibly delighted as were her children. They call him Kaoi. She
works in a lab that processes animal tests and is entitled to free or nearly
free vet care. Joey is now at the Emergency hospital where he spent the
night on oxygen and IV. One lung is totally compromised. They didn't
know why as of last night. He was also bitten, with a deep puncture
wound, as were several of the other ferals
Last word from Patty:
I have not heard from his owner but I did call over to the
emergency animal hosp, where I took him they said he left there on Tuesday and
was doing much better, but still needing medical attention. Will keep u informed.
When she came to see her cat, who raised his head in recognition,
she called Patty “”an angel’
Patty said she was not the angel – it was all the people who took
care of the cat when she was abandoned last winter – the system that made sure
she was fed at our many year round feeding stations and had access to safe
shelter houses, all Provided by KLAW, Kismet League for Animal Welfare which
was responsible for adoption of all three abandoned cats.
Note to cat owners: When new cats are examined and treated
by vets it should be compulsory to have them scanned for ID chips. In addition
to the usual tipping of the ear of a cat to show it has been neutered, information
can also be improved by inserting a chip.
Though we have not heard any more we are happy knowing that BB,
Khloe, Joey, Kaoi is back, beloved and cared for in his real home.
A happy ending indeed!
Bradlee White: Treasurer of KLAW with BB
Kismet League for Animal Welfare (KLAW) officially debuted the July 4th
weekend of 1993 when a group of Kismet and Saltaire people set up a table on
the old tennis courts. Anne Regan, Susan Miller, Ann & Alice Nyburg, Karen
Kelley, Marija & Sadat Beqaj sold t-shirts designed by Marija and
home-baked goods to defray the cost of the food they had been buying for the
abandoned and feral cats of Kismet. Before that time, good-hearted Kismet
residents like Carl Dahl, Marsha & Art, the Woods and Effie were feeding
groups of cats at their homes. Ali Beqaj was trapping and neutering some of
first Flea Market fund-raiser was held in June, 1997 in front of the Out and
has become a yearly tradition. We were very grateful to be able to move out of
the elements and into the Fire House community room. Our “stock”, garnered
from community donations, has improved in quality over the years. The result
has been more sales and more resources to help the cats. KLAW volunteers
continue to maintain a t-shirt/donation table on the July 4th holiday and every
Saturday thereafter until Labor Day. Fund-raising activities have grown to
include a Silent Auction and a Wagon of Cheer raffle as part of the Flea Market
and a bicycle raffle at July 4th.
Jeannie Lieberman learned 10 years ago that a cat feeding station was
unceremoniously tossed into the Bay she donated the land behind her newly
purchased house as a permanent cat feeding/shelter station. It now contains
several small “houses” lined in hay for protection from predators, warmth during
the winter and to keep cats dry during the rain.
about the cats’ welfare over the winters, Anne Regan moved to Kismet year round
until health problems dictated a full-time move to Florida. Andy Ackerson
helped her and continued to help with winter feeding until he moved off the Island last winter. Christine Helbig also joined Anne out on winter mornings, taking over
the coordination of winter activities with various volunteers: Barbara Heller,
Tommy Field, Rick Cole, Jean McMonagle, Andrea Wikso and, this year, Erin
addition to our continuing collection, we had three additional abandoned cats,
all of whom were adopted. We also trapped and neutered six new feral cats
the help of Barbara Winter, who tackled he tedious paper work, KLAW became an
incorporated not-for profit organization in May, 2010. We welcome financial
contributions at any time and donations for the Flea Market in the spring.
can be sent to:
White, KLAW Treasurer
Alice Nyburg, KLAW President
112 Jav Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
for the Flea Market – tentatively scheduled for June 15-16, 2013 -- are (with
some limitations) accepted in the spring.