New York Alley Cat Gets Valentine’s Week Rescue


Written by Jordan Nadler of New York

About two years ago, I was getting out of a taxi to go see my boyfriend who lived on the Upper East Side. It was a really cold February night and I was bundled up as much as could be. As I got out of the cab, I heard a drawn out meow and all of a sudden a vivacious tuxedo cat came running out of a courtyard next to my boyfriend’s building, right up to me, and started walking in between my legs, wrapping her tail around my ankles. I was in shock. There are never stray animals in Manhattan, especially on the Upper East Side, and it was soo freezing outside I couldn’t imagine how this cat had gotten outside. She was a little thin, but had definitely belonged to someone; her coat was still nice and her disposition was that of being comfortable around humans. I walked into the courtyard looking to see if anyone had left any of their windows opened, but every window was closed and there wasn’t a person in sight. I landscaped the surrounding buildings to see if she could have come from any of them but there were no open doors, windows, anything.

The cat was outside on the sidewalk rummaging through some garbage bags left for pick up when all of a sudden a group of teenagers walked by. One boy saw her and for reasons that are just beyond me made a loud noise to scare her and a move mimicking a kick. He missed her but she was obviously terrified and darted as fast as she could up the sidewalk and into an alleyway. The language I used to this kid is not at all appropriate for this website, but let’s just say I had him running up the sidewalk when I was done with him.

Keep in mind my boyfriend is upstairs waiting for me, thinking I was going to be up in two seconds, and little did I know had set up a romantic surprise for me and had candles burning and rose petals everywhere and had actually baked me a pie.

So next thing I know I’m running up this sidewalk looking for this cat when I come across a gated alleyway. Behind the bars was a big dumpster. I couldn’t see her but I knelt down and made a noise my friend makes when calling her cat, praying she was there. It worked, she poked her cute little face out from behind the dumpster, recognized me and came running through meowing the whole time as if telling me how much of a jerk that guy was, and thank goodness we both got away from him okay.

Then my boyfriend called me, concerned and a little bewlidered since I had told him I’d be up to his apartment in a minute and it had now been about 20. I told him about my situation. And that there was no way I could just leave her. I asked him if he had any fish in his apartment, he told me he had bought salmon for himself for the next day. I told him he needed to come downstairs, with said salmon, immediately. (I really didin’t know about the candles and pie I swear). Two minutes later, he was downstairs a bit frustrated but relinquished the salmon which I promptly gave to her, and which she devoured as fast as she could. I begged him to let me bring her upstairs to his place, it was so cold outside and I couldn’t bare to just leave her but he told me she had to belong somebody, that there are no stray cats in New York and that I could not bring her into his apartment. I was so sad, but figured at least she got a good meal that night.

The entire next week I harrassed my boyfriend night and day about whether he saw her anywhere, and to keep his eyes out, and that she’d better be okay. He kept trying to convince me that she had to belong to someone and was probably back in their apartment with them. A week went by and I was walking down the sidewalk to his apartment when I came across the alleyway again. Again I didn’t see her, but just out of curiousity I knelt down and made that calling noise again. Well guess who poked her head from behind the same dumpster but little Miss tuxedo cat! She saw me, and we both looked a bit shocked, but she ran right up to me and started purring, rubbing against me and I just knew I would never let her out of my sight again. I’d never had a cat in my life but I just knew we belonged together. This time I didn’t consult my boyfriend. However, having never had a cat before, I was a bit wary of trying to pick her up.

Good Samaritans Came Along

Upon trying to coax her to walk down the sidewalk with me, an elderly couple happened upon me and became entertained, and then curious, as to what the heck I was trying to do. When I tried to explain to them that I was mid cat-resucue, the old man laughed and said they had rescued both their cats from the streets (they had found one in an alleyway just like me and went on to name her Alley) and that he would be more than happy to bring this cat wherever I was going. So the old man scooped up my cat, and accompanied by his wife and me, the four of us walked up the six flights of stairs to my boyfriend’s apartment where he answered the door and his jaw dropped down to the floor like a cartoon character.

I thanked the kind couple from the bottom of my heart and kept in touch with them for a couple weeks. My boyfriend wouldn’t let Fiona (That’s what I named her, though we mainly call her FooFoo, or sometimes just The Fluff) into his bedroom that night because he said he didn’t know if she had fleas or not. Well boyfriend slept alone that night while Fiona and I cuddled on his living room couch. Next day I took her to the vet and found out that she was actually microchipped. I was so scared I was going to have to give her up, and also really indignant because I felt like whoever would let an animal outside on the streets of New York in the middle of the winter didn’t deserve to have her. Well, the owner listed on the microchip never called back. I have no idea what kind of life Fiona led before she ran up to me that cold winter night but she is one of the silliest, smartest and funniest animals I have ever met!

FooFoo and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary this February. She is almost 10 years old and I couldn’t imagine my life without her!  More great photos here

Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase


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William C
William C2 months ago


W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thank you.

Joan A.
Joan Alcudia5 years ago

One of my cat's name is FooFoo. He is 3 years old. I love my cats so much. I just cannot imagine my life without them.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Jordon and the cat are both beautiful creatures.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

Jordan, thank you for the rescue of this beautiful cat!! She must have been scared to be out on the street after belonging to someone. Shame on them for letting her out!!
Fiona needed you. You were at the right place at the right time.
I hope you and FooFoo have many more years together.
P.S. Fiona is a better Valentine than the boyfriend. LOL

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

Thank you! A great rescue (and I'm glad you dumped the boyfriend).

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta6 years ago

Lovely story, well done :-)

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

Awesome you two found each other like a match made in heaven. Lucky and smart cat to have sensed good aura.

Jessica J.
Jessica J6 years ago

Hi Jordan, great work to let yourself be persuaded by the cat!! Happy to hear you've been so close with her since... I was 'selected' by a nearly-stray kitten in Greece two years ago and we've been together ever since ;-). Wish you both the best, happy snores for FooFoo!

Jordan N.
Jordan N.6 years ago

Oh and just to clarify a few things, of course I know there must be tons of stray cats and dogs in New York, but in my neighborhood in Manhattan, especially on the Upper East Side where I've been living the past 5 years, I'd never once seen one! (I can only imagine how many animals I'd be living with if I lived in Queens or Brooklyn). That's why it was such a shock to me. To this day I've never seen another stray animal in my neighborhood.

And about this boyfriend, the ONLY reason I needed his "permission" to bring Fiona in is because we were not living together; I found FooFoo on his street which was a good ten minute walk from my apartment. I wanted so badly to bring her inside that first night but having grown up in suburban NJ where cats are "let out" all the time (I could never), when the bf said she had to belong to somebody a tiny part of me was scared I was wrong and was about to kidnap someone's beloved pet. I got over it of course, and the owner never picked up. I'd never let someone talk me out of following my heart again, but luckily we found each other again (: