In the summer of 1973, about two dozen cats were left to starve on West Main Street, Oyster Bay , when the owner of a house moved abandoning the cats that had been living outdoors amid piles of debris and a derelict car for years. Left to fend for themselves, the cats were roaming the streets and reproducing. Kittens were found trapped and injured when motorists started up their cars, the animals having climbed in the engines to keep warm. Pat Ladew heard of the situation and began to come to the aid of the cats. On her first visit she discovered four newborn kittens and dubbed them Eenie, Meenie, Minie and Moe and took them home. They were apparently orphaned. Pat saw to it that they were spayed and/or neutered and had all their shots and above all, a home.
But, when the soft pitter patter of feline feet grew to 164 (41 cats in all) Pat knew she just couldn’t take any more in, but people kept leaving them on her doorstep. At the risk of becoming " Esther the Cat Lady," (as Pat would say) Pat founded the Oyster Bay Cat House. Pat bought the house in 1975 and renovated it with the main objective being shelter for stray cats, a place where cats could be fixed and hopefully adopted. The cats were cared for by Jesse Sloan & Marge Norris and eventually, Kathy Ledesky, who lived in the house. Local veterinarians donated their time assisting the house in any way that they could, and the rest would run on donations from a sympathetic public and some of Pat’s own money.
Pat left us in 2002, but trusted a few friends with her wishes. The house has since undergone several renovations, including the addition of an on-site medical facility, but it stays true to Pat's original wishes of a home-like atmosphere.
Our adoption program continues to grow and we now also have a program for senior citizen, which enables them to adopt an older cat at a reduced rate. They can also rest assured that the Foundation will take the cat back if they have to undergo an extended stay in the hospital or care facility. Many of our cats still cannot be adopted for one reason or another, and those find love and medical attention at the house through the help of our Sponsorship Program.
Patricia H. Ladew Foundation, Inc. is affiliated with The Mayor’s Alliance of New York City as a New Hope Partner. This coalition works with other non–profit rescue groups so that someday there will be a home for every pet, and there will be no more animals euthanized for lack of a home.