We normally avoid politics on this blog except for the occasional light-hearted satire imagining Buddy as a comically inept president of the Americats, but we’ll make an exception for the New York City mayoral race, which features two animal-loving major party candidates.
Eric Adams, a Democrat, is a former NYPD captain, Brooklyn borough president and vegan who has supported TNR programs in Brooklyn, pushed for more animal-friendly housing in the city and hosted adoption events in his home borough, according to the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund.
Curtis Sliwa is best known nationally as the founder of the unarmed crime prevention group the Guardian Angels, and in New York as a host on the city’s biggest talk radio station. (He’s been on hiatus since launching his mayoral campaign to comply with election law.)
He survived an attempted mafia hit in 1992, jumping out of a cab after he was shot several times by Gotti family enforcers, and he’s a dedicated cat lover, sharing his home with 16 rescues. Most of Sliwa’s cats have disabilities or were pulled from local shelter kill lists. Not all of them are permanent, and the Sliwas consider themselves long-term fosters until they can find the right homes for special needs cats. Last year they were able to place 10 kitties in good homes.
Still, the felines come first in their 87th Street apartment.
“Guess what? It’s the cats who rule the roost,” Sliwa told a New York Post cameraman in June. “We take whatever room is left after the cats carve out their territory.”
Cat furniture dominates the studio apartment Sliwa shares with his wife, Nancy, who told the Post she’s considering adopting more furballs, including a special-needs rescue who is blind. (They had 15 cats at the time and have adopted one more since then.)
Turning to her husband, she quipped: “We might have to lose your half of the closet.”
The couple share litter box duties and clean the multiple boxes in their home at least three times a day, they told the Post.
At the end of Tuesday’s televised mayoral debate, when asked which qualities they admire in their opponents, both Sliwa and Adams praised each other for their work with animals.
The city and its surrounding environs lean heavily blue. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters in the five boroughs are registered Democrats, and Adams holds a commanding 36-point lead according to the latest poll.
Like all Republicans who set their sights on the mayor’s job, Sliwa knew it was going to be an uphill battle even though New Yorkers have tired of the current mayor, Democrat Bill DeBlasio. Sliwa hopes one of his central campaign promises — to enact a no-kill policy across the city’s shelter system — will resonate with voters across the aisle.
Republicans who have won in the past have been centrist, like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, or nominally Republican, like businessman turned politician Michael Bloomberg. The latter enjoyed widespread name recognition before he turned to politics and supplemented his campaign hauls with his own considerable resources.
Still, the Guardian Angels founder sees Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s Upper East Side home, as a potentially fantastic cat house.
“I’ve been in Gracie Mansion before,” Sliwa told New York magazine. “There is easily room in there for 60 cats.”