Cat hoarder faces housing deadline

A woman living in a Brighton Beach, NY, apartment refuses to part with dozens of cats, despite a looming mid-May deadline where she must whittle the pack down to two.

Barbara Berger and her cats in the Brighton Beach apartment. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Graham)

Barbara Berger, 51, moved into the one-bedroom, city-subsidized, apartment in 2007 with 15 cats. In the years since then, she’s taken in strays and others as the number of felines has swelled to 45. Herald Realty Group, the landlord of the property, gave Berger until March 14 to get rid of all but two of the cats, but the deadline was extended for two months following a court hearing. Berger currently pays $153 in rent each month.

Berger said she would rather live on the street than part with her cats. She also offered keep no more than 10 cats in her apartment; the landlord refused.

Some of the animals have been surrendered. The ASPCA recently removed three of the cats. Berger was also working with Brooklyn Umbrella Rescue founder Josie Marrero. After rescuing approximately 18 cats, 12 of which were adopted, Berger stood fast and refused to surrender any more animals; Marrero walked away in frustration.

“They need a place to live and so do I,” Berger told the Brooklyn Daily. “I love the cats too much.”

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