Where It All Started

Our Story.

It started at Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City in March 2009. I had just moved there (across the East River in Queens), after living in Manhattan for over 20 years, and was commuting to work downtown on the water taxi. One evening when returning from work, I noticed a small black cat peering from behind a yellow trailer, where the water taxi tickets were purchased. The next evening when I returned home, I had a can of cat food with me and placed it under the trailer in the area where I had seen the cat. I waited and, sure enough, the cat appeared and ate. I continued this for the next few weeks, sometimes seeing the black cat and sometimes not. But, the food was always gone the next morning when I returned. Soon, I noticed two other cats at the site and began leaving more food, which was eagerly eaten. Two of the cats were eventually trapped, neutered and released back, but the third proved too sly to ever catch.

By spring 2009, I began to notice other cats on my walk home, at a train terminal; first 5, then 10, then 20 cats. These cats were initially being fed by some of the train personnel. However, those compassionate guys were eventually transferred and I took over the daily feedings and purchased winter shelters and feeders.

This routine continued until early 2011, when I moved. I felt a responsibility to these cats and knew I needed to find someone to take over….a volunteer. That proved impossible. Instead, I hired someone to feed the cats each day. It was then I realized it was time; time to start an animal organization. Although animals had been a part of my life since I can remember, and I always dreamed of rescuing and saving animals, I had never actually pursued the big picture – starting such an organization. So, in June 2011, Big Hands Little Paws was born!

Big Hands Little Paws is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is threefold: care of homeless and orphaned animals; providing resources and funding to other animal organizations and individuals for targeted animal care; and educating the community.

“Water Taxi Beach”, as it was called, does not exist anymore. The City of New York always owned the property and massive construction is underway in what will become Hunters Point South. However, we have continued to feed those three cats each and every day and the cats have continued to acclimate as new construction areas start. The train cats have also had to adjust to new personnel who are not welcoming. This creates difficulty, but we continue to feed daily and we are continuously working towards finding a resolution.

Please join us! There are many different ways to get involved – volunteer; foster; sponsor; adopt; donate; get the word out. Please explore the rest of our website to obtain further information and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. Thank you for your interest and support.

Pamela Goldsmith, Founder

Our Cause

We've been saving lives

and finding homes for little paws everywhere

Big Hands Little Paws believes all animals deserve humane treatment – food, shelter, medical care and respect. They deserve to have these basic needs met, and more! Unfortunately, these needs all too often go unmet. Animals are ignored, mistreated and, at times, forgotten. An estimated 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year and there are tens of millions of strays in the United States, most which will suffer and not survive.

We Care

Big Hands Little Paws was founded in response to the extraordinary number of homeless, abused and neglected cats and dogs in the Greater New York City area. We understand the plight of these animals cannot be resolved with one narrow step – it takes a broad approach to end this suffering and improve their lives. We believe we can accomplish this through providing direct care and safe environments, facilitating fosters and adoptions, working with supportive businesses, other animal organizations and trained individuals to provide rescue services and bringing awareness to and educating our local communities.

We Save

Our mission is simple – improve the lives of these animals. We rescue homeless and unwanted cats and dogs regardless of breed, age or health, get them spayed or neutered and other necessary medical care and then find temporary and permanent homes they need and deserve! We do not have a shelter. We rely on an amazing group of foster parents and boarding facilities to help us take care of the rescued animals that desperately need our help. We also care for multiple outdoor cat colonies by providing food, supplies and medical care, contribute funds and supplies to other organizations rescuing animals, and donate funds and supplies to individuals who are experiencing temporary financial difficulties to care for their pets.

We Educate

Education is essential in combating and ending the suffering of these animals. We believe that educating our communities – expanding their knowledge of animal needs, care and respect – is the only way to alleviate the number of unwanted, abused and homeless dogs and cats. We are creating various community and school programs to make the public aware of this plight.

Big Hands Little Paws is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We have an all-volunteer staff working tirelessly for the animals and hope that you will join our cause. We need your help to make this happen.

Our Work

Lower East Side Kittens

We got a call from a dear friend whose company was constructing a new restaurant on the Lower East Side.  There were 4 kittens living in the outdoor space, which was filled with dangerous building materials and debris – not a place for kittens!  We were able to rescue all 4 and with the help of City Critters, another rescue organization, got them vetted, fostered and then adopted.   Anthony and Angelo were adopted together and Lena and Gertie were adopted together.  This shows how teamwork makes a difference!

Ellie f/k/a Felai

Lower East Side

When we went to rescue the 4 kittens at the restaurant on the Lower East Side, we were met by this beauty, who was pregnant and very hungry.  We acted quickly, trapping her and immediately transporting her for veterinary care.  We named her Felai, after the restaurant where she was found.  One of our members, Courtney, agreed to foster her.  Within an hour of arriving at Courtney’s place, Felai made herself right at home, bonding with Courtney’s other cat and demanding lots of love and attention.  Felai the foster became Ellie the adopted and she is loving her life!

Misty f/k/a Opal

Northside Colony, Williamsburg

Misty is one of those sweet stories that makes you smile. She was part of the Northside Colony in Williamsburg – one of the siblings born in 2008. Some of her siblings would pick on her and she became a loner, staying away from the feeding station when the others were eating and exploring Williamsburg, particularly along the water, on her own.

However, she craved a human touch and would come up to us for some petting. So, we decided one day that she needed to be someone’s cat. Our volunteer, Patricia, agreed to foster her and never let her go. That was almost a year ago and Misty is lovin’ her life – still living it up in Williamsburg; but with a great mom and from the safety of a really hip apartment overlooking the water.