Sadist may be targeting NYC cats

A serial sicko may be dousing helpless feral kittens in Queens with a caustic chemical — causing injuries so severe one had to be euthanized, according to animal rescuers.

Over the past two weeks, at least three kittens belonging to a stray cat colony on 102nd Street in Richmond Hill have been discovered with grisly injuries to their paws — so extreme in some cases that bone poked through their bloody flesh.

“I hope it’s not some ‘Silence of the Lambs’ situation, but it could be,” said animal rescuer Elsie Alten, 30, recalling how the stench of rotting skin reeked in the area where the cats were fed.

Meagan Licari, president of the rescue organization Puppy Kitty NYC, said that seeing multiple kittens with the same severe injuries led her to suspect a twisted sadist could be on the loose.

A staffer at Long Island Veterinary Specialists with one of the injured kittens.
Animal rescuers suspect a person may be severely harming kittens in Queens.

An injured cat paw
The kittens’ injuries have been grisly, in some cases so severe that bone was seen through their flesh.

“To have three cats with the same exact paw injury is really highly unlikely,” Licari said. “Somebody’s likely throwing chemicals on them because basically, their skin is completely off.”

Dr. Jaclyn Holdsworth of Long Island Veterinary Specialists, who has been attending to the wounded animals, said the injuries were chemical burns, which she believes were caused by someone spreading a household chemical or other substance in the area. The wounds were exacerbated by additional infections that plague strays.

A kitten named Ruby was found with her paws decayed into stubs. Her extensive injuries would have required amputation of all four limbs, so it was euthanized.

Three stray cats and kittens eating food.
Ruby, right, was euthanized because all four of her paws were severely decayed and would have required amputation.

“[She] was a beautiful cat,” cried neighbor Deepa Persaud, 33, who has fed and watched the animals for the past three years.

Persaud said roughly 10 to 15 feral cats used to “come every day like clockwork” for bowls of food at her home’s back door.

But as the kittens began turning up with bloodied paws, the rest suddenly disappeared. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody is hurting them because a lot of people see them as nuisances,” she added. “Not everybody sees them the way that I see them.” 

An injured cat with all four paws bandaged.
A veterinarian said that the cat’s gruesome injuries were caused by chemical burns and additional infections.

Alten suggested someone could have been spreading chemicals like antifreeze, leading to the bloody horror show.

“Is someone doing this intentionally? Is someone maybe putting chemicals down accidentally?” she asked. “It’s been really unclear.”

Keeping the kittens alive is already proving costly.

One of the survivors, a Calico named Juliette, has already racked up medical bills totaling more than $7,000, and could require long-term wound treatment. 

Donations to Puppy Kitty have helped cover the costs.

Licari said that she and other animal rescuers are working with the 102nd Precinct to catch the fiend.