Kitten Stolen During Petco HQ Opening At Union Square...Cat Burglars Remain At Large

Sprout, a tabby cat, was stolen from her cage on June 4th during the grand opening celebration of Petco’s new headquarters at the Tammany Hall Building. Fabulous Feline Inc., a cat-rescue nonprofit (and the owner of Sprout) based in Valley Stream, NY, had come into the city to participate in an adoption event that was part of the ceremony. The reward for Sprout’s return has climbed to $1,800.

| 09 Jun 2023 | 10:52

A months-old kitten being put up for adoption was craftily stolen from its cage in Union Square on Sunday, June 4th, during the grand opening proceedings for the new Petco HQ that was opening across the street.

Fabulous Feline Inc., a nonprofit based in Valley Stream, NY, was hoping to hand off Sprout the tabby to some lucky new owners–and instead are contending with retrieving him from some wily and fiendish thieves.

In an Instagram post, the nonprofit asked for the public’s help in tracking down a small team of thieves that they believed swiped the kitty. “We need your help–This Woman and an accomplice–Stole our cat. She and her son we [sic] making a fuss–they broke the zip tie off the cage–grabbed the cat and stuffed him in a bag.” The group added that it was “Not a great event–if our cats are being stolen. This is not resolved–as you were told. PLEASE REPOST!” They included a picture of one of the purported thieves making a run for it in the social media post. The nonprofit later clarified to Our Town Downtown that the kitty in question was a she-cat.

A complaint was filed with NYPD’s 13th Precinct. In a statement about the crime, a police spokesperson said that “two females suspects entered the location and removed one cat from the cage without permission or authority to do so and concealed it in a bag and left the location.”

The woman with the cat in the bag then reportedly vanished into the bustling crowd, while the other woman and her son calmly boarded a city bus headed away from the event.

Fabulous Feline Inc. initially put out a reward of $1,500 for Sprout’s safe return on Wednesday, June 7th, and had upped the payout amount to $1,800 by the end of the day. In an addendum to the boosted reward, the nonprofit clarified: “Rumor circulating that cat has been found. NOT TRUE.”

Fabulous Feline Inc. head Pat Irizarry provided Our Town Downtown with a history of Sprout’s young life, saying that she “was born with us to a friendly Momma on the verge of being dumped at Pet Smart Valley Stream, by a family that was moving and unable to take the cat. She was young, not vetted, and bursting at the [seams] pregnant. She delivered Sprout, her brother Squirt, and one stillborn with complications requiring emergency vetting.”

Irizarry also summarized her nonprofit’s mission: “We are a young government-recognized non-profit 501(c)3. Our work is primarily in Eastern Queens, just outside JFK. There is a horrific stray and feral cat population. My partner-in-rescue Kathy and I work at our paying jobs in the area--and have been working to spay & neuter these cats, [and] pull friendly adoptable cats and kitten’s into our foster-based program for adoption,” Irizarry said.

Perhaps emphasizing the strain that comes with having a cat stolen from a shoestring nonprofit at a corporate bash, Irizarry also noted that “we do not have a facility nor funding, so the out-of-pocket costs are crippling. We dig deep into our pockets and have had several fundraisers to help defray some of the costs.”

Readers with any information as to Sprout’s whereabouts can reach the nonprofit at The reward for the safe return of the kitty is being offered with no questions asked.

“Rumor circulating that cat has been found. NOT TRUE.” Instagram post by Fabulous Feline Inc.