Tiny, Injured Kitten Rescued by Tourists in NYC Park Recovers at ASPCA Animal Hospital

October 6, 2015

A tiny, injured kitten named Tuffie has two tourists to thank for her rescue and subsequent recovery at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) this summer. Idahoans Jo Ellen D. and her 15-year-old daughter, Jillian, were walking through Riverside Park during a visit to New York City when they noticed a cluster of people peering at something on the ground.

“We looked over and saw a very little kitten,” Jo Ellen recalls. “Someone said she had been hit by a car.”

A Good Samaritan pulled the scruffy calico out of harm’s way. “All the people had places to go and things to do,” Jo Ellen said. “But Jillian and I had no agenda and plenty of time, so we volunteered to take her. I picked her up and she didn't struggle or hiss. She wasn't bleeding, but she was clearly hurt and we assumed in shock.”

A veterinary clinic they had passed earlier that day wasn’t fully operational on Sundays, so Jillian and Jo Ellen called 3-1-1. “Then someone told us the ASPCA was on the Upper East Side, so we looked it up, saw it was open and got the address,” Jo Ellen said.

Jillian hailed a cab and with the kitten in tow, they headed uptown. “The kitten didn't struggle and let both of us hold her,” said Jo Ellen.

At AAH, Intake Assistant Stephen Cameron ran the kitten’s hard luck story by several staff. Taking a cue from her ordeal, they named her Tuffie.

Tuffie was examined by ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Danielle Delfino and Veterinary Intern Dr. Felicia Magnaterra. Her injuries included a leg fracture, multiple ulcerations on her paw pads and an abrasion on her shoulder area, but these did not affect her temperament. “She remained friendly and sweet,” said Dr. Delfino. “She was always purring and wanted to be next to people.”

The following day, Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery, repaired Tuffie’s fractured hind leg, and Rena LaFaille, Administrative Manager of the ASPCA Adoption Center, took her home to foster her.

“She’s a real love bug,” said Rena, who has fostered and adopted several special-needs cats from the ASPCA. “She’s good pals with my cat Lucas, who acts like he’s her father.”

“If we could have adopted her, we would have, but geographically it was complicated,” said Jo Ellen, whose family has a rescued 10-year-old Samoyed named Kitty and a two-year-old cat named Belle. “But we were so hoping Tuffie would make it.”

She did, thanks to some quick thinking and action by Jo Ellen and Jillian. Tuffie is still being cared for in Rena’s home, but will likely be available for adoption in the coming weeks.

“It was truly an honor to be in the right place at the right time,” Jo Ellen said.