While working from home earlier this week, Nathaniel Styer noticed an odd scene outside his apartment window.
The polar vortex has brought on an intense burst of wind along with heavy snowfall snow as the “snow squall” in Styer’s Brooklyn neighborhood.
And he was not the only one who wanted to be let inside. One tabby cat who had hopped up on the window ledge started to scratch and rub against the screen.
“She was 100 percent asking to be let in,” Styer shared with The Dodo.
He quickly realized the cat as Chunk Chunk — a member of a nearby stray cat colony.
Styer knew immediately that Chunk Chunk was in crisis mode and he acted fast.
“I’ve never seen her react this way before,” Styer said. “It was clear that she didn’t know what to do in the storm.”
Syter does not adore the strays that roam his neighborhood but his fiancée, Renee Becerra, loves to volunteer her time to keep cats safe in the community.
Chunk Chunk was a new member in the fall, and as of late, seemed to not be able to handle the extreme weather.
“I’ve always been pretty reticent about bringing the cats inside, but I knew Renee would really want me to help Chunk Chunk out,” he shared. “I love Renee and I knew helping Chunk Chunk was the right thing to do.”
Styer then opened a window and allowed Chunk Chunk in from the cold and once the cat was safe and warm, she was not sure what to do.
“She allowed me to pick her up, which is unusual for our community cats,” Styer said. “When I set her down, she instantly ran around the house and tried to run out through another window. She learned it was closed when she ran into it.”
Once Styer put Chunk Chunk in the bathroom far from their dog — she eventually calmed down. And when Beccera came home — she was not very surprised to learn the identity of their house guest.
“From the first time she appeared at our window, she’s been one of the friendliest community cats that I’ve ever come across,” Becerra told The Dodo. “She’s always asking for pets and starts purring within seconds.”
After moving to their apartment two years ago, the couple has helped multiple litters of stray kittens find forever comes.
And when spring comes, Becerra has plans to trap as many adults as possible so she can neuter and release them.
Thankfully, Chunk Chunk has a notch in her ear — a sign that she has already been spayed.
Since the extreme cold weather, Becerra has been attempting to help the community cats and encourages others to follow suit.
“Winter is the hardest time of year [for these cats],” Becerra said. “I’ve built three winter shelters and regularly provide food. Winter shelters can be bought from some cat rescues but they’re also really easy to make … If you have the space or a safe quiet spot in your neighborhood, I would definitely recommend putting some out.”
Thankfully, it looks like Chunk Chuck won’t have to face another chilly New York day ever again.
“We’re still figuring out what’s next for Chunk Chunk, but in the meantime, she’ll be staying with us,” Becerra said.
“Chunk Chunk seems to be more suited for life indoors versus outdoors, so I’ll be reaching out to our contacts at the ASPCA to see if they can assist me in finding her a home.”
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