Domestic short hair may have been tortured
Local woman looking for home for abandoned cat
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Jul 14, 2013 | 2524 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Bergen cat
QUIET AND LOVING – Resting on a quilt, Red is hoping for a new place to call home.
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A North Bergen resident who saved a cat from what she said was animal cruelty and maybe even torture is hoping to find a home for the domestic short hair.

Maureen Collins of 48th Street said she first saw the cat in early June on her deck, and then across the street at a trailer park by Tonnelle and Grand avenues.

“I saw him originally with a thick red rope around his neck,” she said. “When I saw that, I said, ‘What the heck is that around his neck?’ I thought it was to keep fleas away. Then I saw a bag around his neck.”

What Collins then realized was that in the bag was a weight of some type, and that any time the cat moved, the weight would tighten a noose around his neck.

She wanted to get closer to evaluate the situation, but could not, because of the cat’s fear.

“He’d keep his distance, then he’d run away,” she said. Collins saw him on her deck again. She said he looked cut pretty bad on his neck.

She spoke to a woman in the trailer court she has known for many years. “At this point, I’m still thinking, ‘Maybe it’s somebody’s pet,’ ” Collins said.
“This was a deliberate act of abuse.” – Maureen Collins
It was hard to approach the cat, which was skittish and would not get to close to her. But after a couple of days of feeding him, she gained the animal’s trust. When able to examine the animal closely, Collins realized just how extensive the cat’s injuries – and suspected abuse – were.

Like “chopped meat”

“Both sides of his neck were opened. It was like chopped meat. It was like rare skin. It was terrible,” she said. “This was a deliberate act of abuse.”

“At that point, I picked him up, put him in the carrier, and took him straight to the doctor,” Collins said. “He got sutures in his neck, at least 20 on each side.”

The animal has gotten great care at the Secaucus Animal Hospital, said the semi-retired Realtor.

Named “Red”

But “Red,” as Collins has taken to calling him, already has more than $600 in health care bills, and with six cats of her own, Collins cannot take on another. Her daughter, Toni Ann Collins, has been helping out with Red, feeding and medicating him.

Collins said she has contacted more than 20 animal rescue groups in three states in her quest to place the animal, but to no avail.

“I’m a salesperson. I’m used to rejection, but this is ridiculous,” she said, adding that she will not take Red to a shelter that would put him to sleep.

She is now working with the Closter Animal Welfare Society (CLAWS), which is sponsoring the feline and paying most of its current medical bills.

“They’re more seasoned than I am in getting a home for him,” Collins said. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of bites.”

Adoption complications

She said there have been three complications to date in placing Red. One has been his medical bills, which luckily seem to be on the downturn. A second is that he is an older cat, one that many people are less willing to adopt, preferring kittens. Third is that he is HIV positive for the feline virus.

But Collins noted that the cat strain of HIV is not transferrable to humans.

How you can help

“I’m really looking for a home for it,” she said. “But I also want to make the public aware, if they want to make some donations.”

Those interested in adopting Red should call Collins directly at (201) 320-6467. Anyone wishing to make a donation should send it to CLAWS, P.O. Box 172, Closter, NJ 07624, with a notation of “Red” on the memo line of the check.

Looking back, Collins is glad she came to the cat’s rescue when she did.

“I’m just a concerned citizen,” she said. “It was abuse.”

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

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