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When 80-year-old Rose Kaufman was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, she moved to Wisconsin to be near her family while she received treatment. But she was forced to leave her 27 cats behind in her New York City townhouse.

Lorraine Ritter stepped in to take care of the felines. She stops by Kaufman’s home every day to feed, clean and care for them.

But Kaufman will be selling the townhouse soon, and Ritter is trying to find people to adopt the cats before they end up at a shelter.

“They’re sweet and loving and gentle. They lick and play with one another,” said Ritter, who describes herself as an animal advocate.

If the cats are sent to a shelter, Ritter is afraid they might be put down if they can’t find homes quickly enough.

They’ll come over and look to be petted… They have so much to give to someone. We can’t kill these animals,” Ritter said.

Ritter has had Kaufman’s 21 adult cats and six kittens vaccinated and spayed or neutered by New York City Animal Care & Control. The former Catholic school administrative assistant says she has spent almost $2,000 to take care of Kaufman’s cats until they can be adopted.

“To kill these cats is unheard of in these times. It’s horrific and unnecessary,” said Ritter. “I walk in and I look at them, I hear them purr and it’s a living breathing thing.

“It’s sad that they might not be alive in a month. They deserve better. They deserve a home with a chance. That would be the right ending for the story.”

Kaufman, who currently resides in an assisted living facility, said, “I love my cats and I’m still connected to them so much. They’re special creatures and I can’t stand the idea of them being put down. They have every right to live. I need my fellow New Yorkers’ help.”

During their last conversation, Kaufman asked Ritter to cook the cats some chicken.

People interested in adopting one of the cats or donating supplies to help care for them can call Ritter at (917) 557-7816 or (347) 225-4769.

[Source: New York Daily News]