Munchkin was found under a car when he was about a week old covered with fleas and ear mites. A friend of John's found him during a hot summer day and called LION for help. Munchkin's sibling had passed away right next to him and after a long while it became clear his mother was long gone. With a little help from a great vet tech, Munchkin was cured of both fleas and ear mites, socialized with other cats, and couldn't get enough of us.
Munchkin loves cuddling, catnip, and hanging out in his Kittywalk! He is the most curious cat and his favorite foods to snag from your plate are broccoli and brussel spouts! He occasionally will stick his face in your salad bowl or close himself in the fridge in his continuous search for something new (though we always catch him!).
Not all kittens are as lucky as Munchkin! Read more about why all cats should be spayed or neutered.
Bernie and Izzie
Bernie (left) was found with a colony of cats and kittens at the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Center on the North Shore. Originally a trap-neuter-return candidate, Bernie and Munchkin became the best of friends and it was all over from there!
She loves to snuggle with Munchkin, and was always chasing Pepper, but is pretty bashful around strangers. Her favorite things to do are fall asleep on her window perch watching the birds and get head-rubs from her grandpa Gary.
Izzie (right) was rescued from the same colony as Bernie a year later before the blizzard of 2014. While he is very shy since he lived feral for so long, he gains confidence around Munchkin, allowing John and his cousin Liz to pet him as long as Munchkin is close by!
Not all feral cats are as lucky as Bernie and Izzie. Please learn how to help feral cats in your community.
Mischief was found abandoned under a car in a campus parking lot, running up to everyone exiting dormitories in the rain. When we brought Mischief home, it quickly became obvious he had been abused and developed some bad habits—hence his name. Thankfully, he's now learned how to love and responds very well to positive reinforcement.
Though Mischief used to sneak out of his harness and climb trees, he now spends his time in our catio and KittyWalk instead!
Pepper, the baby of our family, was rescued from a laboratory in partnership with the Beagle Freedom Project in 2014.
Used for product testing, Pepper had been abused and confused when John brought him home for the first time. He didn't know how to play and he didn't even know how to eat properly!
But in the years that followed, Pepper blossomed. Despite being tortured and abused by humans the first two years of his life, Pepper simply wanted to make up for all the things he couldn’t do in the lab. He loved to eat, cuddle, have his belly-rubbed, spend time with his new girlfriend Bernie, bask in the sun, and most all, run—something he never could do in a cramped, metal cage.
2016 was a big year for Pepper. He was featured in the 2016 RescueMenUSA calendar, promoting adoption of animals from New York City shelters and advocating against animal experimentation, and he became an ambassador for LION in the passage of New York State’s Beagle Freedom Bill, which requires university laboratories give nonprofit rescue organizations the opportunity to adopt and rehabilitate dogs and cats before the laboratories can discard of them.
However, it was also a grave year. Pepper's insatiable appetite waned to almost nothing and he stopped running for the first time since he left the lab. He visited three veterinarians and they all said he was likely suffering from gastrointestinal cancer as a result of his experimentation. As he worsened, and one of his hind legs became lame, they became all the surer. By October, Pepper had passed. He was only 4 and a half.
While Pepper was lucky enough to know freedom—even if just two short years of it—millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are not so lucky.
In remembrance of Pepper, LION urges people everywhere to only buy cruelty-free products, donate only to charities that don’t experiment on animals, and demand humane alternatives to animal dissection. Whether betrayed by disreputable animal shelters or bred with the sole purpose of being forced into painful experiments, every animal being tortured in pointless laboratory experiments is just as capable of feeling and just as deserving of a fulfilling life and loving home as Pepper and the feline companions who purr on our laps.