Miracle on the Tracks: After Rescue from Subway, Vulnerable Kitten Finds a Safe Haven

April 17, 2024


A black kitten who spent at least a week in the 96th Street-Second Avenue subway station in Manhattan before being rescued on January 29 has found a new home, far from the electrified third rail that threatened to end her young life all too soon.

Subway Sightings

The black kitten, fittingly named Subway, was reportedly first seen on January 20 — a bone-chilling, 17-degree Saturday — near the third rail, a metal railway running parallel to the tracks that provide electrical power to trains.

Photos from inside the subway station courtesy of Sonia Izak.

“My theory is, she went into the station for warmth,” says long-time animal advocate and rehabilitator Sonia Izak, who helped rescue Subway. “It’s not a very busy station, and it would have been easy for her to run down the stairs without being seen. But once on the tracks, she could have easily been electrocuted.”


Sonia learned about the stray kitten on January 27 through Citizen, a mobile app that sends location-based safety alerts. She asked a friend and fellow rescuer, Harley Brooks, to visit the station until she could join her. After a long and frustrating night trying to rescue the kitten, the pair departed at 2 a.m. on the 28th.

“I was very worried about her,” says Sonia, who texted an NYPD police contact that Subway was still at large. The next day, three NYPD officers, including Officer Aruna Maharaj, who had helped rescue a dog from a hot car nearly two years before, met Sonia at the subway station, but the kitten was nowhere to be found. At 6:30 p.m., the officers left. Sonia stayed, and Harley joined her at 9 p.m.  to continue searching.

Unfazed by Danger

As the Sunday evening hours ticked by, temperatures dropped.

After a break to go home and walk their dogs, Sonia and Harley returned to the station and spotted Subway on the north side of the tracks at 1:20 a.m. Sonia immediately alerted Officer Maharaj, who relayed the information to Transit District 4, the precinct serving subway stations on the Upper East Side. Police arrived shortly afterward and lowered Sonia’s trap — with a string tied to the top and baited with food — next to the tracks.

Subway chases the laser light into the trap at right.

As Sonia tossed tasty treats toward Subway, a police officer pointed a red laser light from his taser gun toward the trap. The kitten, lured by the light, entered the trap, which quickly snapped shut. It was 2:15 a.m..

“Our rescue mission was complete!” Sonia says.


Next Stop: The ASPCA

Officer Maharaj arrived at the station shortly afterward and drove Sonia, Harley and the kitten to the 19th Precinct. Sonia transferred Subway to a carrier and hand-fed her.

“She was ravenous,” says Sonia, who emailed several ASPCA Adoption Center employees, alerting them that Officer Maharaj would bring Subway to the ASPCA later that morning.

Dr. Felicia Magnaterra, a veterinarian at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery, examined Subway.


Subway gets a hug from Julie Coleman, Animal Care Coordinator at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery.


“Her ears were soiled but she accepted all medical handling, particularly when we introduced her to treats,” says Dr. Magnaterra. “She ate with gusto but was small — just 3.7 pounds. But with a week of access to a formulated kitten food diet at the appropriate feeding schedule, she gained more than a quarter of a pound.”

Subway was then spayed, rechecked and then medically approved for adoption.

“We are constantly amazed by the resilience of animals like Subway who come into our care,” says Rachel Maso, Director of Animal Behavior at the Adoption Center. “She’s the perfect example of an animal who went through what must have been a terrifying experience and came out of it playful and people-loving.”

A New Life Above Ground

Though Subway now lives just blocks from where she was rescued, she’s worlds away from any danger.

On February 9, she was adopted by Sophie H., a neonatal/intensive care nurse who moved to Manhattan late last year with her 3-year-old cat, Blue. Sophie says Blue was lonely and needed a friend.

Subway and Sophie on adoption day.

“I work long shifts, and Blue is social,” Sophie says. “I grew up with a black cat and wanted a young female who would be a good companion for Blue.”

After her shift one day, Sophie visited the ASPCA Adoption Center. Upon meeting Subway and hearing her story, Sophie knew she was the one.


The transition has been easy for everyone.

“She’s such a good kitten, hilarious and playful, very affectionate,” Sophie says. “I feel lucky to have found her.”


Sophie doesn’t plan to change Subway’s name.

“Her story is too iconic to change it,” she says.

The ASPCA offers these tips on what to do if you find kittens outside.