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