Volume 22, Number 26 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 6 - 12, 2009e
Jackson, 6, with Trixie, one of the kittens his parents adopted. Trixie likes to lick her brother Speed. They and three of their siblings were born this summer in the Goldman Sachs building under construction.
Orphan kittens get homes. Goldman ‘BlackBerries’ adopted
By Julie Shapiro
The five kittens rescued from the Goldman Sachs construction site are settling into new names and new homes this week as their saga finally comes to a close.
Nicknamed the BlackBerries, the 4-month-old kittens had been living in Gateway Plaza with their rescuers, Rich and Patti Brotman, while the Brotmans searched for adoptive homes. Three families stepped forward, and the Brotmans delivered the kittens last weekend to their new owners.
“We have a great community down here,” Rich Brotman said this week. “This is a pretty happy ending.”
Brotman gave credit to many people: The construction workers who first noticed the pregnant mother and started feeding her in the spring; the friends who helped the Brotmans trap the kittens; Downtown Express stories that helped find the kittens homes; and Goldman Sachs, whose corporate office agreed to pay for the kittens’ medical expenses and now appears to finally be about to cut the check.
Brotman said black kittens are harder to adopt than others, and even after taking the BlackBerries to a pet adoption event at the Javits Center earlier this fall, he still hadn’t found them homes.
But for the three families that adopted the kittens, the color of their fur is of no concern.
“For me, they’re good luck,” said Christina Howard-Porcu, 23, who adopted brothers Buzzy and B.B. “I always end up with black cats. I’m like the queen of black cats.”
Howard-Porcu and her husband Davide Porcu, 27, welcomed the kittens to their Brooklyn home on Halloween, and so far they are adjusting well. Cleo, the couple’s miniature dachshund, licks the kittens so much that she gives them little Mohawks. (The Porcus are using well-timed squirts from a water bottle to keep the menagerie in line.)
Howard-Porcu works in Tribeca and heard about the BlackBerries from her boss, who had clipped a Downtown Express article over the summer. The couple renamed the kittens after Italian singers: B.B., who is bigger and more relaxed, is now Zoco, and Buzzy, who is skinnier and more active, is now called Nomi.
Over on E. 11th St., two more of the BlackBerries found a home: Brother and sister Chicklet and Silkey are now living with Susan and Jason Staal and their 6-year-old son Jackson. The Staals were looking to adopt after their 18-year-old cat Henry died in September. They heard about the BlackBerries from a friend who is an attorney for Goldman Sachs and is involved in the construction of the new building.
Jason and Jackson love the 2008 movie “Speed Racer” and renamed the kittens after the main characters: Silkey became Trixie and Chicklet became Speed.
Trixie is much more social than Speed, who sometimes gets nervous and hides. But Susan Staal said Trixie often comforts Speed, and they are together so much that she often looks at them and sees two heads on a single black cat.
“They’re adding so much to our lives,” Staal said. “I’m so happy already.”
As for the color of the kittens, Staal said, “I wear a lot of black clothing. We live Downtown. I happen to think they’re beautiful.”
The final BlackBerry, named Pearl, is staying closest to her birthplace. She’s going to live in the Battery Pointe condo building with Maria Smith, a longtime B.P.C. resident and former chairperson of Community Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee.
“It’s a real neighborhood cat,” Smith said. “I felt a connection.”
Smith read about the kittens in Downtown Express and picked Pearl for her sweet, calm disposition. Pearl, who will keep her name, lived with Smith for a few days but then had to go back to the Brotmans for another round of medicine to get rid of a parasite. She should be healthy in a week or two, Rich Brotman said.
Brotman said he was sad to see the kittens go because they were starting to develop their own personalities, but he is glad they found homes.
He and his wife, who have been rescuing cats in the neighborhood for over 15 years, are already on to their next project: Trapping four stray kittens that were born recently on the south side of Battery Park, near the playground. If the Brotmans are able to trap the kittens and find a group willing to pay the medical expenses, they may once again be in search of adoptive families. Their e-mail is RBrotpaw@aol.com.