It's the picture that broke the Internet's heart. A crying kitty, presumably dropped off outside by its owners, left with only its litter box and a few items on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
A resident of the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn snapped the photo of the cat—now known as Nostrand—and posted it to the Facebook page of FAT Cats (Flatbush Area Team for Cats). FAT Cats is a volunteer group which helps to vaccinate/spay/neuter and find homes for feral and abandoned cats in the area.
Unfortunately, before FAT Cats could get to Nostrand to save him, a street cleaner had scared the feline off. As volunteers, members, and friends of the organization looked for Nostrand, fate intervened, and the kitty wound up in the backyard of a TNR-certified caretaker a few days later. With that, FAT Cat's Elizabeth Champ, LCSW, picked him up and took him to the veterinarian.
"He had no microchip, was not neutered, had fleas and an ear infection," Champ tells petMD. "He has since been treated for the fleas and ear infection (from which he is still recovering) and was neutered."
"He is a sweet, primarily healthy cat and it seems clear that he was owned and loved," she notes. "We hope that whoever put him out, for whatever reason it was, finds out that he is safe." Nostrand is currently in a loving foster environment as FAT Cat works to find his new forever home.
Champ says that abandoned cats like Nostrand—whether they are left out for financial reasons or an owner not knowing how to deal with a cat's behavioral issues—are, unfortunately, an all-too-common problem that can be remedied.
"If you know you can’t keep your cat, we recommend reaching out to family and friends, small rescue groups, and shelters." Champ advises."We do NOT recommend simply releasing cats outside. House cats are not prepared to live outside, and often become frightened and endangered."
Nostrand's tale, which could have been tragic, is raising awareness about this issue and inspiring many to get involved with their own area's local rescue organizations. If you do want to lend a hand and help cats like Nostrand get a second chance, Champ says that the work involved with rescue efforts is all worth it. "It's a wonderful way to get to know neighbors, other animal lovers and to help create the change you want to see" she says.
Donations for Nostrand's ongoing veterinary needs to can be made here.
Images via FAT Cats Facebook