While Nathaniel Styer was working from home earlier this week, he noticed something strange outside his apartment window.
A strong burst of wind and heavy snowfall caused by the polar vortex, known as a “snow squall” started covering his Brooklyn neighbourhood in the snow.
It seemed he wasn’t the only one who wanted to be safe and warm inside.
He saw a tabby cat scratching and rubbing against his window screen. “She was 100 per cent asking to be let in,” Styer told The Dodo.
He immediately knew the cat was Chunk Chunk, one of the members of a nearby stray cat colony. Knowing that Chunk Chunk was having the worst time of his life, he knew he had to do something.
“I’ve never seen her react this way before,” Styer said. “It was clear that she didn’t know what to do in the storm.”
The neighbourhood cats are not really best friends with Styer, but his fiancee Renee Becerra spends her time in the colony, working to keep it’s members healthy. Since Chunk Chunk had only arrived sometime in the fall, she was clueless as to how to be protected from the harsh weather.
“I’ve always been pretty reticent about bringing the cats inside, but I knew Renee would really want me to help Chunk Chunk out,” he explained. “I love Renee and I knew to help Chunk Chunk was the right thing to do.”
Styer couldn’t see him suffer in the cold. He let the shivering cat in and let her be warm. But after this, she wasn’t quite sure what to do after this.
“She allowed me to pick her up, which is unusual for our community cats,” Styer said. “When I set her down, she instantly ran around the house and tried to run out through another window. She learned it was closed when she ran into it.”
Stayer even kept Chunk Chunk in the bathroom, thinking he might get frightened with their dog. Eventually, she became relaxed. When Becerra reached home, she wasn’t surprised to find her new house guest.
“From the first time she appeared at our window, she’s been one of the friendliest community cats that I’ve ever come across,” Becerra told the Dodo. “She’s always asking for pets that starts purring within seconds.”
Ever since they moved to their apartment, they have lent a helping hand to many stray kittens find their forever home. Also during Spring, Becerra plans to attract as many adults as she can in order to neuter and release them. Thankfully, they found out Chunk Chunk already has been spayed.
Becerra has been trying her best to help community cats from the harsh weather and also encourages others to do the same.
“Winter is the hardest time of year for these cats,” Becerra said. “I’ve built three winter shelters and regularly provide food. WInter shelters can be bought from some cat rescues but they’re also really easy to make…if you have the space or a safe quiet spot in your neighbourhood, I would definitely recommend, I would definitely recommend putting some out.”
As for Chunk Chunk, it’s unlikely that the innocent cat will ever have the guts to step out in a cold New York day again.
“We’re still figuring out what’s next for Chunk Chunk, but in the meantime, she’ll be staying with us,” Becerra said. “Chunk Chunk seems to be more suited for life indoors versus outdoors, so I’ll be reaching out to our contacts at the ASPCA to see if they can assist me in finding her a home.”
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