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  a cat with almost as many names as lives


                                                       By Jeannie Lieberman



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 doors.


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 outside.

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:

Hi Jeannie
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
Hey Bradlee
 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!!

Another email:

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



The 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 the ferals.

The 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.

When 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.

Worrying 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 Penu. 

In 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

With 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.


Checks can be sent to:

Bradlee White, KLAW Treasurer

PO Box 5324,

Bay Shore, NY 11706.


Alice Nyburg, KLAW President

112 Jav Street

Brooklyn, NY 11222

Goods for the Flea Market – tentatively scheduled for June 15-16, 2013 -- are (with some limitations) accepted in the spring.