About Us!

Our Story

In 2002 a group of neighbors noticed a cat and kittens in a vacant lot in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. They were 2 film producers, a lawyer, a ballet dancer and a stock market analyst who shared a deep compassion for the cats and kittens that live on the streets of New York City. After a few months working together to help abandoned and stray community cats and their kittens, Urban Cat League incorporated to better address the situation as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

Our Mission:

URBAN CAT LEAGUE acts internationally as a resource for information about all aspects of humane care for street cats through our website urbancatleague.org. Locally, it provides care and protection to New York City’s street cats by helping to find the best situation for each cat that comes under our care. This includes adoption, spay/neuter, socialization of kittens and adults and relocation to a safer outdoor location. Most importantly, Urban Cat League responds with aid that best suits the individual interests of the cat or colony of cats in need.

feral (fir' al): adj. 1. untamed; wild 2. savage

This short film “Feral” created by Urban Cat League co-founder Cathe Neukum documents the very beginnings of Urban Cat League including the creation of our sanctuary in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. It poignantly documents the animal rescue efforts of our founders around the perimeter of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Even though…

…there aren’t enough homes for most cats living on the street, we’ve worked hard over the years taming, vetting and finding loving homes for many of our down-on-their-luck feline friends.

Here are some of their stories:

Lexie and Oliver – BEFORE and AFTER socialization with Urban Cat League


“Skye was stranded high atop a building near the World Trade Center…”

 …for over a month after the terrorist attack.She was rescued thanks to several days of perseverance by Urban Cat Leaguers Mike Phillips, Cathe Neukum and Neighborhood Cats co-founder Ruth Sharp. Skye’s ordeal left her with serious health problems but her new family went the distance for her and after a long recovery…

“…She now enjoys a healthy, happy life…”

…with them in Manhattan’s Chelsea. A true survivor if there ever was one, Skye is perhaps our most amazing success story.

Penny, Darcy & Audrey!

Penny, Darcy and Audrey are sisters rescued from the street in the Bronx. They were socialized by Urban Cat League and turned out to be very playful.

“They were a bit shy in new situations but gained confidence quickly.”

They were adopted and each went to homes with other cats and are doing very well.


Stuck on the Streets and Wanting a Home…

Believed to have been abandoned by his owner, Mustafa is a beautiful and loving all-white (neutered) male cat who has been surviving on the streets for a couple of years. He is a loner and has been roaming around the south side of Williamsburg looking for food. His scars tell of the tough life of a street cat and his struggle for survival.

After being fed outside of a woman’s kitchen window for eight months…

“He began to learn to trust humans again.”

Little by little, he let her touch him and take care of him. As you can see from the first photo of him on the fire escape, he was dirty and afraid of people. He just came around for food and left quickly after eating, wary of humans. Eventually, he came into her home looking for affection and a permanent place to grow old. Although he got along very well with her two cats, there just wasn’t enough space for three cats in her studio apartment. Mustafa made it very clear that he wanted to be off the streets. He cried at night at the window wanting to be a permanent member of the household. He liked to be picked up and held like a baby. He simply wanted to be loved. We are delitghted to announce that Mustafa was adopted and now has a home of his own.

Zevon & Lulu!

“Rescued from an apartment parking lot…”

…these two are believed to be father and daughter. Zevon (male) is approximately 3 years old and Lulu (female) is   approximately 1 1/2 years old. Both were neutered/spayed, vaccinated and tested and restored to good health.

“They were adopted together…”

…by a loving woman in Louisville, Kentucky who has a big house and two cats already (one a rescued feral).

Mr. Stubbs!

Mr. Stubbs (aka Stubby) was Head Nanny for orphaned feral kittens at URBAN CAT LEAGUE.

“He was very good at teaching kittens hygiene and the proper behavior around people looking to adopt.”

Mr. Stubbs was able to make this contribution to the lives of so many kittens thanks to daily medical attention provided by a veterinary technician at URBAN CAT LEAGUE. While living on the street, Mr. Stubbs had suffered a trauma to his tail causing severe nerve damage resulting in the need to have his bladder expressed for him daily which he tolerated stoically (along with not having much of a tail left to wag). Until complications from his injuries while living on the street made his quality of life slowly diminish, he had a busy and rich life at URBAN CAT LEAGUE . Sadly, he was euthanized in September of 2003. We hold fond memories of him and the many kittens he sent off to a new life living confidently with humans.

Bo Bo!

Henry Kissinger had nothing on our little Bo-Bo. He came to the URBAN CAT LEAGUE sanctuary frightened and shy but quickly ingratiated himself into the group of cats with grace and charm. He loved to play but always deferred to his teammates.

“He loved his food but would always wait his turn.”

The almighty patriarch at the sanctuary, Stover even chose him as his favorite nap-buddy. Bo-Bo had an endearing sad-sack face which didn’t match his enthusiastic and fun-loving personality. He was adopted along with Roman in September, 2003.


HARVEY climbed a 10 foot chain link fence and leapt into the sanctuary all on his own. I guess he recognized a good deal when he saw it.

“But he found an even better deal when he got adopted!”

His new owners told us this story: When he got to his new home, it only took one day for Harvey to come out from under the bed where he hid immediately gone upon arrival.

The meet and greet with the other animals went well. He is very sweet and wants constant attention and can’t be scratched enough. He adjusted very well to all the new house sounds (and there are a lot). Today he is downstairs with us-although behind the couch sleeping.

“He did not venture by himself but let me carry him.”

He is a BIIIIIIG cat and very heavy. He seems pretty secure being held. it is without a doubt that he has joined the Ottina household but we seem to be in a dilemma over his name! Little Thomas thought his name was Herbie, Big Thomas wants to call him Socrates and I call him Bob. Eventually we will settle it, hopefully before he turns 5.

Moritz and Max !

These two sweet 7 month old cats, Max the tabby and Moritz, the adorable black and white fellow hiding behind Max, are semi-feral cats.

“We found them wandering around cold and hungry in a Red Hook yard.”

Volunteers worked diligently with these two handsome brothers to socialize them and finally, the time arrived for Max and Moritz to ‘spread their paws and leap’ into the arms of their foster parent/s. Max is not sure he likes being held yet, but he loves to play with his crinkle toys! Moritz hides behind Max, but can be coaxed into a cuddle now and then. Because Max and Moritz are so bonded to one another, they stayed together. Infinite Hope provided training and emotional support for the foster parents, along with food and supplies for Max and Moritz.

“These two sweet felines deserved a chance to be loved, to explore a home, and to soak up the sun on a window ledge during a lazy summer day.”

They were adopted and no longer sit in a cage day after day.

Joey Artichoke!

JOEY ARTICHOKE has found a permanant home.

“He was found lost and very thin on the streets of Chelsea.”

He was very shy at first but became a very vocal and feisty guy once he got used to being cared for. Probably about 1 1/2 years old when found, he craved attention and companionship. He was a little young and energetic to be a calm lap kitty but he found a warm and loving home.


Jazzy was born the street behind the prestigious San Remo residence on Central Park West. He was born to a feral mother but he never seemed to distrust humans the way his mother and siblings did. He wasn’t adopted as a kitten because his vet detected a slight heart arrhythmia. This he outgrew…

“…but not before demonstrating his talent for nurturing other feral kittens…”

…and helping us at URBAN CAT LEAGUE to socialize them and gain their trust. JAZZY helps to make sure that every orphaned kitten gets its share of love and attention.

Big Daddy!

… And here’s Big Daddy!


GLORIA struggled to raise three litters of kittens in a condemned building before she was rescued and spayed by URBAN CAT LEAGUE. All of her kittens have been lovingly socialized for adoption by URBAN CAT LEAGUE and Gloria was carefully relocated to a Horse farm in Westchester where…

“She now oversees things daily from her favorite perch.”

The Queens Kittens!

Mother Cat & Kittens Trapped in Vacant House to be Demolished!

The post was off-topic—the yahoo message group was devoted to pigeons—but like an emergency fire brigade passing buckets of water from person to person, people around the city started forwarding the email to each other.

The kittens were huddled on the top floor of a condemned house in Woodside; the contractor was willing to allow access, but could do nothing for the cats once the house started to come down. A friend forwarded the email to the Urban Cat League—“can you guys help?”—and we swung into action, making contact with willing rescuers in Queens. They were able to rescue these adorable kittens just in time.


Dick was prominently featured in an article about NYC street cats in the NY Times City Section of 10/11/03

Dick found his way to our sanctuary one day and patiently waited outside in the rain until the caretaker came for the evening feeding. Although submissive at first, he quickly became a terror and was stalking and attacking volonteers daily. Slowly he began to trust and has recently been adopted to a loving home.

As you can see our famous Dick is now living VERY happily ever after with the photographer (and her film-maker husband) of his NY Times featured picture. He is one of the happiest cats around and truly living the pampered life that he deserves!


Roman was quite a charmer. He would hang out quietly nearby as well as join in a rousing game with a toy on a string.

“He was always the first cat to come running when one of the caretakers arrived…”

…at the URBAN CAT LEAGUE Sanctuary. Before coming to live at the sanctuary, he was the most elusive cat in his colony. He stayed far away whenever a human was around. At the Sanctuary however, he followed caretakers around and patiently waited to be petted which he craved. He was extremely easy going and got along with all the other cats. Roman was born on the street and he had never been indoors, but he was successfully adopted along with Bo-Bo in September, 2003.

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