For New York City’s strays, this guy is the cat’s meow.
Charlie, a 7-year-old house cat living on the Upper West Side, is the ASPCA’s top foster dad in the city. Over the past five years, this gray-and-white feline has helped raise 25 foster kittens, cuddling, grooming and getting them emotionally and physically ready for adoption.
“He’s so wonderful with the kittens,” Charlie’s owner, Chandler Alteri, told The Post, adding that many of the animals she and Charlie foster have special needs. “He lets them fake nurse with him. He cleans them. Sometimes he bops them around, like training them to stand up for themselves and be independent. He teaches things I can’t.”
Charlie himself was a foster, found in 2010 with his siblings in a box near Alteri’s parents’ home in Nashville, Tenn. When Alteri’s mom offered him up, she couldn’t say no.
“My roommates and I lived with three dogs, and Charlie loved them,” said Alteri, who is now 27 and a TV producer. After seeing him with the other pets she decided to foster kittens once she had her own place.
Upon moving to New York with Charlie in 2012, Alteri got her first ASPCA fosters, Bitsy and Jitterbug. Charlie immediately went into caretaker mode. “He started bathing them and being supergentle,” said Alteri of the trio’s first meeting. “They were kind of shy, [but] when they saw how Charlie was with me, they started trusting me.”
Alteri and Charlie keep fosters between three weeks and three months, depending on the kittens’ needs. They’ve cared for blind cats and amputees. One had cerebellar hypoplasia — a neurological condition that causes motor skills problems. “Charlie would clean him after he went to the bathroom or after getting food all over his face,” said Alteri. “I would sob watching them.”
Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center, said, “Charlie is very friendly and that makes him a good kitten-raiser. He serves as a…