They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but for late-night New Yorkers who recently witnessed a blood-spattered zombie chasing a black cat near Times Square, it was hard not to stop and stare.
It’s not clear exactly what prompted the cat to frantically run back and forth across 42nd street in Manhattan last Saturday night, but the frightened feline was chased out of one building after another as he tried to take shelter in a restaurant, coffee shop and movie theater. Then enters our hero, 22-year-old Coney Island native Jeremy Zelkowitz. With concerns that the cat would be struck by a car at any moment, Jeremy abandoned his post luring tourists into the horror-themed attraction Times Scare and gave chase while onlookers wondered if he was planning to rescue the cat or devour it.
“He was not very difficult to get a hold of, ” explained Jeremy who has grown accustomed to strange looks he gets when he’s in costume off-location. ”It took a little time, but I got him.”
Jeremy tried to calm the cat in his arms and the feline seemed undisturbed by the ghastly appearance of his new friend.
“After holding him there for about 20 minutes, he did try and jump out of my hands a few times,” Jeremy recalls. “He was scared so I asked someone to hail me a cab and I took him to a 24 hour animal clinic. When I brought him in they said they didn’t take strays, but I told them I didn’t want him to go to anywhere where they were going to put him to sleep after a certain period of time. I convinced them to take him for me and luckily they were able to scan him for a chip and were able to track down the owner.”
He’d Been Missing for Two Years
It turns out that the cat belongs to New York police officer Jimmy Helliesen, who hadn’t seen his cat Disaster in two full years. Disaster is just one of many stray cats that Officer Helliesen has adopted in his patrol area.
“He couldn’t believe it and thought we were playing a practical joke on him,” BluePearl Veterinary Partners Administrator Steve Baker said of that phone call to Officer Helliesen (in an interview with the Daily News).
Officer Helliesen said that he believes Disaster clawed through the screen of his Long Island home two years ago. That began the feline’s journey with hundreds of days unaccounted for. It’s not clear whether someone took Disaster in for a while and he escaped again or if he had been stray all that time, but in either case, it seems that Disaster may have somehow made it through the Midtown Tunnel.
And as for Jeremy, well, he’s back on zombie duty, but don’t let the stage makeup fool you. This ghoul is all heart.
“I just love animals,” he says. “They are such innocent, loyal and loving creatures.”
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Photo credit: Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners