Councilman Steve Levin saves a cat found on Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

Kitty pity! Councilman rescues shot, pregnant cat from BQE

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Me-ouch! A Williamsburg councilman was repeatedly bitten by a pregnant and bullet-ridden cat when he tried to rescue it from the Brooklyn’s own circle of hell, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Now, the terrified kitty is recovering — and preparing to bring a litter into the world — at a rescue center where vets say they’ll remove the bullet after they remove the kittens.

It all started last Friday night when Councilman Steve Levin (D–WIlliamsbu­rg) says he was driving toward Greenpoint on the highway when he saw the cat on the other side of the median limping toward Downtown. He then did what any Good Samaritan would do in that situation: call 911. But the 911 operator he reached did what any good 911 operator would do in that situation: told him it wasn’t an emergency.

That’s when Levin took things into his own hands. First, he asked his significant other to verify that it would be a good idea to double-back and save the cat.

“My girlfriend told me ‘This will bother you if you do not do it,’ ” he said.

So he exited the highway and got back on the other side where he stopped and picked up the cat as a police officer, who happened to be on the road, waited behind him to make sure Levin did not get hit by a car. But the officer could not stop the terrified animal from biting Levin hard on both hands as he wrangle the ferocious feline into his Ford Focus hatchback, which he apparently bought to replace his legendary Honda Civic.

Levin brought the cat to the nearby Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition where he asked an employee to get the still-freaking-out animal out of his Ford.

As soon as the staffers saw the frightened feline, they realized that she was pregnant and that she had been abused, said Vinny Spinola, the group’s vice president.

They X-rayed the animal and found a bullet lodged in her hip, along with many other puncture wounds, cuts, bruises that had all happened at different times, and the pads of its feet ripped off.

“This poor animal was abused over a long period of time,” said Spinola.

The staff named the cat “Loretta” and have been keeping a close eye on her. She is due to give birth in about a week, and the staff plans to perform surgery to remove the bullet the kittens come out.

Levin got to his scheduled meeting only a half an hour late, and later took himself to Methodist Hospital, where doctors gave him a tetanus shot and some antibiotics for his bite wounds.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Reality from Bklyn says:
Score one for the unheralded wisdom of the Girlfriend.
April 1, 2015, 11:07 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
"Imagine this: You are a cat, you are pregnant, you have been shot, and you are walking along the BQE. Would you bite Steve Levin when he tries to rescue you"

Hello. This is John Wasserman, and please just remember that this is only my opinion here.
But I really don't see this as a political issue, if you don't mind my saying so. It's VERY possible, considering the terrible abuse (not to mention A BULLET ((pardon the "all caps")) lodged into the rear end of this feline) this cat has sustained, that this "Loretta" had absolutely no idea who Steve Levin was.
Again, this is only the opinion of one man. But his name happens to be John Wasserman.
Pardon the interruption.
John Wasserman
April 1, 2015, 5:35 pm
Steve Levin from Greenpoint says:
@TATTSUO actually my significant other was not in the car with me, so I agree w @Reality from Bklyn, score one for the unheralded wisdom of the Girlfriend :)
April 1, 2015, 7:57 pm
Elizabeth from Prospect Heights says:
A story that so easily could have had a bleak outcome, thanks to some quick actions and humility, and compassion, will now end happily. Mom will be hospitalized and will recover from her injuries, she will be spayed when her litter is born, she will be spayed. Loretta will nurse her babies, and they, like she, will all find homes. This is an extraordinary story, and if you don't "get that," you're brain dead. Who said this was a political story, it is a "just so happens to be a CC member." I am sure if it was me who did it, that I am a public librarian would be mentioned. Or whatever it is that John does. Any compassionate person would seek to help this cat, and it is an inspiring story and I am glad to read about it. Why can't people just rejoice every now and then, why must they kvetch all the time? Loretta in her average lifetime could have over 300 cats (did you know a female cat can be pregnant at the same time with litters from 2 different males?). Enough cats are destroyed daily at NYC's ACCs in Man, Brox and Brklyn. Mr. Levin has done an amazing thing. Bravo.
April 2, 2015, 8:22 am
TATTSUO from NBX says:
@Steve Levin so she wasn't even there?
Your lady friend may have suggested you go help this kitty out, but you my friend did all the dirty work. YOU were the one bitten. Let's just give credit where it's due, to you. Hats off to you!
April 2, 2015, 8:32 am
fatimah from cobble hill says:
he's got my vote.
April 2, 2015, 9:36 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
And please, Steve Levin, don't assume Loretta had anything against you as a politician. The cat was clearly hallucinating (at best), if you don't mind my saying so.
Pardon the interruption.
John Wasserman
April 2, 2015, 10:39 am
Joel from Coney Island says:
Steve Levin, kudos to you for stepping up (and in) and doing an inspiring thing. If only there were more people out there with a heart as big as yours. I have forwarded this great story to my vet--she's named Loretta, too.
April 2, 2015, 3:23 pm
Dr. Loretta Pesteanu from Williamsburg says:
@Steve Levin As a veterinarian and animal rescuer, I sadly all too often see the unimaginable suffering that animals endure as a result of human ignorance and cruelty. But I also have the privilege of seeing the immense compassion and generosity that people are capable of when it comes to those who cannot speak for themselves. Stories like yours remind us all that empathy and mercy toward innocent animals, our fellow travellers in life, is a light that burns bright within many people and for that one broken little soul on the side of the road it meant everything. Your selfless act of kindness didn't change the world, but it completely changed HER world...and it says more about you (and your girlfriend!) than the best written speech ever could.
April 3, 2015, 7:36 pm
Phylis says:
God bless you, one and all on this solemn Good Friday. Happy Passover too.
April 3, 2015, 8:56 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: