Rescuers avoid cat-astrophe
BY LISA L. COLANGELO, NY Daily News
When four tiny kittens were trapped in a small space between two buildings in Astoria recently, they needed an expert to get them out.
Enter Paul Harkin, a Whitestone resident and Buildings Department supervisor who has some experience in these kinds of things.
Harkin was part of a team of construction experts and animal rescuers that freed Molly - the feline who gained fame after being trapped in the walls of a historic Greenwich Village building for several weeks in 2006.
This time, Harkin was called in after a mother cat living between the buildings around 27th St. and Ditmars Blvd. died as she tended her young kittens.
When a building owner removed her body, the tiny kittens were still clinging to it. But they quickly disappeared into a small opening between the buildings before he could rescue them.
"I was asked by a co-worker to see if I could help," said Harkin.
"I guess I have a reputation now."
In order to get to the space where the kittens were hiding, Harkin went into one of the buildings and removed a medicine chest that had been installed over an old bathroom window.
"There was a little hole and no sunlight," he said. "The kittens were confused."
Animal Care and Control field supervisor Nelson Guzman and local animal rescuer Joe Mora joined in the effort, and with Harkin were able to catch two of the kittens with nets after they put out some food.
The last two proved a little tougher to snag.
One of the hungry kittens wandered into a humane trap an hour after it was set. The other was trapped the next day.
Harkin took two of them home temporarily while Mora found homes for the other two.
"I brought them to an animal rescuer," said Harkin. "They'll get a lot of attention, a good home and a good bath."