The Construction Kittens

There have been all sorts of updates about the Construction Cat (and her kittens).

The newborn kittens

First, Stephen Pile, who took the original photos, commented this:

I’ve not seen the mother cat, I’ll call her “Duco,” in over a week. As much of the construction site was being paved over these past two weeks, she lost so much territory that I expect she has moved on. The last time I saw her she was carrying a small rat, that she plucked from the middle of four large rats. She drank from the many water drips around the site, but seemed to prefer the leaking hydrant at Bogardus Park. She was not a very trappable cat, as she was well fed, hyper wary of humans, and had a labyrinthian domain. Traps are essentially baited cages, and the hundreds of rats, along with her suspicious nature, made traditional trapping impractical. I’ve witnessed her ignoring food left by humans. She would dart away when she heard the click of my camera, even though she was very familiar with me. There were eight kittens born, I believe early July. Seven were gathered up by construction workers, and taken to the Unleashed by Petco on Chambers. From there they went to a rescue group. The eighth kitten, when I saw her, was holed up under the Chambers-W. Broadway intersection, where we were able to drop water and food (the last photo above is her feeding). I alerted construction foremen, who had been wondering about the “eighth kitten.” Last week, that kitten wandered out into the site, was captured, and has a home with Shannon, one of the traffic guides at the intersection. So now we are left to wonder about Duco.”

Bruce Martin (right), co-owner of Reade Street Animal Hospital, called to tell me that his partner, Dr. Mary Xanthos, advised the folks at Unleashed by Petco on how to feed and care for the kittens, and he hooked me up with the kittens’ “foster papa,” Jared Reinmuth. What’s more, Bruce is adopting two of the kittens himself.

Here’s an update from Jared—it’s a combination of emails he sent to Stephen and to me:

I was contacted by Unleashed by Petco and told the story of the kittens being found on the construction site, and I have been caring for them since they were about four days old. They are a joy! One of the babies (Ashur) had a severe medical condition, and lived a happy, short life, and did not suffer. He was the sweetest baby. The other six are thriving and will be ready to adopt this weekend when we estimate that they turn eight weeks old. Two tiger tabby males, Kaia and Marco, are set to go to Bruce Martin’s home on Sunday morning. The four remaining still need homes and it would be ideal if they could go in pairs. One tiger tabby female, Kula; two black females, Octavia and Pipa; and a black-and-white tuxedo male, Sinjin, that looks like his mom. Because they are “bottle babies” they are terrific with people and already accustomed to apartment life.

It has been a team effort. Mary Beth at Unleashed by Petco took the babies home first and then Will Cassius of Inky Blue Sea Animal Rescue brought them to me. Jason and Natasha and Mary Beth have kept the kitties in all the supplies they’ve needed through Petco. And, finally, we have a recent mother cat, a feral outdoor cat, Zelda, who adores the kitties and plays with and grooms them. My wife, Saluda Camp, is also involved in their care.

The last word, for now, comes from Stephen:

Interesting how these cats were “networked” into the community. Construction workers, Petco, Reade Street Animal Hospital, the traffic director (Shannon), the Inky Blue Sea rescue group, the W. Broadway woman who walks her arthritic dog and had been watching and sometimes feeding “Duco” for six months….

And of course himself. Stephen said he’d try to go take photos of the kittens this week. In the meantime, here are a bunch of photos from Jared. Anyone interested in adopting the remaining kittens should contact Inky Blue Sea Animal Rescue (and you might also want to reach out to Jared at

Zelda with Sinjin courtesy Jared Reinmuth



  1. I think Jim Smithers needs some kittens in his life!

  2. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but that sounds like a delicious idea. Two, please.

  3. ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!

  4. What a nice story… people working together to rescue these kittens. I just hope some way, some how the mommy can be caught and saved. NYC streets are not safe for her or any other cat or dog.

  5. Love love love this story and the people who cared. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This past Thursday I visited Jared and his wife Saluda, “foster” parents of the Duco’s litter to take a few photos. Wonderful couple, of course. I learned that the kitten’s eyes were yet to open when they took on the task of bottle feeding and bringing them along, so these kittens never actually saw their mother. Predictably, Sinjin and Kula “adopted” my wife and I, and have taken permanent residence with us. Awesome dispositions and comfort with humans, thanks to the care they had the first eight weeks. There are still two left…!

  7. so glade they have a forever home