Goldman helps out ‘BlackBerry’ kittens

Four of the five stray kittens born at the Goldman Sachs construction site now have names and nearly clean bills of health, and they could soon be on their way to adoptive homes.

After a Downtown Express story last week about how Rich and Patti Brotman rescued the kittens and brought them home to their Gateway Plaza apartment, the Brotmans received e-mails and phone calls from people who wanted to help. One of them was from a community liaison with Goldman Sachs, the bank that is building its 43-story headquarters in Battery Park City.

Goldman offered to cover the kittens’ veterinary costs, about $300 apiece, and will post adoption details on its internal Web site, hoping to place the kittens with Goldman employees, said Andrea Raphael, spokesperson for Goldman.

“We want to be a good and responsible neighbor,” Raphael said.

Goldman will also post notices around the site of their new headquarters, on West St. between Vesey and Murray Sts., advising construction workers to keep an eye out for the mother cat and the last remaining kitten, who are still at large.

The Brotmans, who have been rescuing cats in Battery Park City for over 15 years, heard last month that a black cat and her five kittens were living near a generator room at the Goldman tower’s base. Over several weekends, they trapped the mother and four of the kittens. The mother was too feral to make a suitable apartment pet, so they got her neutered and released her.

The other four kittens are living with the Brotmans and receiving care for an intestinal parasite, and they should be healthy by next week, Rich Brotman said. In the meantime, he has been playing with them as much as he can to get them accustomed to being around people.

“They’re still kind of afraid,” Brotman said. “They don’t meow much…. But if you walk away, you’ll hear them playing with the balls in their crate.”

When the kittens, now about eight weeks old, first arrived at the Brotmans’ apartment, they barely moved and resisted any contact.

Brotman nicknamed the kittens “the BlackBerries” and just gave them individual names last week, since they are developing physical and personality differences. The sole female is named Pearl. She is the biggest and friendliest of the bunch and has a large, round face.

Pearl spends most of her time attached to her brother B.B., the largest male. Both Pearl and B.B. are solid black.

The other two males mostly stick to themselves. Buzzy is the smallest and has a few white hairs near his neck, while Chicklet is a little bigger and has a few more white hairs.

The four kittens could be ready for adoption as soon as next week.

Last week it looked like the mother cat and the remaining kitten had disappeared from the Goldman site, but on Wednesday afternoon, a Goldman traffic flagger spotted them in an electrical shed at the ballfields, across Murray St. The flagger, who goes by the name Silkey, is the one who first noticed the mother cat back when she was still pregnant. On Wednesday, she fed the mother and the last kitten, and Brotman said he would go on Friday to try to trap them.

If Brotman manages to trap the mother again as well, she could make a good barn cat, perhaps for a Goldman employee with a country house, Brotman said.

Brotman sounded a bit overwhelmed by the number of offers he received for the kittens, since usually the number of stray cats far outweighs the number of willing adopters. But he pointed out that there are still many other kittens in the city in need of a home and suggested that people contact the nonprofits City Critters and KittyKind for more information.

— Julie Shapiro