Courier Life’s

Feline face off!

Brooklyn Daily
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Call it Barbara Berger’s line in the litter.

A Brighton Beach cat hoarder has taken steps to put all but 10 of her 45 kitties up for adoption — violating a deal with her landlord that could get her booted from her rent stabilized apartment.

Berger’s landlord said she can stay at her one-bedroom apartment on Coney Island Avenue as long as she whittles down her massive cat colony to two, but the 51-year-old said she would rather give up her home, where she pays just $153 a month, then get rid of her 10 favorites.

“It would be very traumatizing to lose them,” said Berger.

Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella founder Josie Marrero agreed to help Berger put some of the cats up for adoption after reading about the cat lover’s plight on Brooklyn Daily, but she has yet to get her to give up the last 10.

“We’re working on her,” Marrero said. “As she begins to trust us, she might give us more cats.”

Berger agreed to let Marrero screen most of her cats at a local vet clinic and move the healthy ones to the Petco store on 86th Street at Stillwell Avenue in Bensonhurst, where 12 of the cats will be put up for adoption this week.

The Long Island-based North Shore Animal League has also agreed to take in seven of Berger’s cats.

Petco manager Jeff Artis said anyone who passes the company’s background check will be eligible to adopt one of the animals.

“We’re glad to help,” Artis said. “Every pet needs a good home.”

Berger moved into her city-subsidized apartment with 15 cats in 2007, but said that number ballooned as she took in strays off the street and accepted kittens from neighbors and friends.

Her landlord, Herald Realty Group, threatened to evict her in December but hammered out a deal in housing court last month that would let her keep her apartment if she ditches 43 of the felines by mid-March.

Herald Realty Group declined to comment on Berger’s case.

Cat adoption at Petco [2601 86th Street at Stillwell Avenue in Bensonhurst, (718) 266-1206] from March 2 to March 11. Call the store for more information.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Andrew Kent from Manhattan Beach says:
The two-cat deal is not yet etched in stone and is only a settlement proposed by the landlord to be incorporated into a stipulation that Barbara will be required to sign when she returns to court on March 14th in order to avoid eviction.

Under the stipulation, if she wants to remain in the apartment, she will have an additional 60 days to divest herself of all but two of the cats and agree to not take in any more for at least a year. Because some of the ten she wants to keep are long-time personal pets and a few others too old or feral to be adopted, she is hoping to find and move to a more pet-friendly apartment before the deadline, or, failing that, to foster or board eight of her ten personal pets until she is able to relocate. If she doesn't agree to the stipulation as offered or violates its terms, the landlord can move for her eviction.

We are hoping to find homes or suitable placements for the remaining 35 cats during the 60 day period so that she can remain where she is until she finds another place. The timing, of course, is crucial because, if she is evicted, all of the remaining cats would be in jeopardy and would probably go to the City's Animal Care & Control facility where many might be needlessly euthanized, or, if she finds another place before the deadline, she might have to move with more cats than a new landlord might be willing to accommodate.

Josie Marrero and her crew at Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella and Petco are angels of mercy who have come to Barbara's and the cats' aid at just the right time. If at least some of the many readers following this story will find it in their hearts to adopt or foster one or more of these lovely cats and kittens or otherwise lend their support to this massive rescue effort, Barbara's and her cats' crisis can be resolved. For more information on ways you can help, contact Josie at:
March 2, 2012, 7:16 pm
Laurie from Park Slope says:
Josie Marrero this one you mean? Who sells fiv kittens to unsuspecting adopters?
Oct. 13, 2012, 11:58 pm

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