Cat

An inside look into Curtis Sliwa’s life with 15 rescue cats

It’s the purrrfect apartment. 

The Post got an exclusive look inside Curtis Sliwa’s tiny Upper West Side studio apartment Wednesday — after the newly minted GOP mayoral nominee revealed that he and his wife share the space with 15 rescue cats. 

The 320-square-foot studio on West 87th Street and Central Park West is a veritable kitty heaven with furnishings more fit for felines than their human roommates.

There’s three windows that face the street that are perfectly set up for bird watching, or an afternoon snooze in the sunshine, that have been retrofitted with chicken wire so the cats can enjoy a makeshift outdoor space while basking on the sills. 

Three towering cat condos cover the apartment’s main wall and in the kitchen, two private cat hotels are perched atop the cabinets that provide a birds eye view of the action below.

Sliwa playing with two of his cats.
Curtis Sliwa’s 750-square-foot studio apartment is a veritable kitty heaven with furnishings.
Matthew McDermott

While there are a number of human decorations situated on shelves and tables across the apartment, a growing number of cat toys are stuffed alongside them, threatening to take up just about every free space left in the studio. 

“I try to use electronic toys that they can chase because it’s hard to play with all of them all the time,” said Sliwa’s wife, Nancy Beth Sliwa, as she flung two toy wands around the room. 

Surprisingly, the home smells more like a freshly opened box of Fresh Step kitty litter than the waste that gets buried in any of the six boxes that are scattered about the space.

Nancy Beth plays with one of the cats.
According to Sliwa’s wife, Nancy Beth, the couple cleans the cats’ litter boxes at least three times a day.
Matthew McDermott

But staving off the scent of ammonia and cat poo is a laborious undertaking, Nancy Beth explained. 

Curtis and his wife next a few of their many cats.
Curtis, who won Thursday’s Republican primary for mayor over Fernando Mateo, is an outspoken animal activist.
Matthew McDermott

“We clean the litter boxes at least three times a day,” the cat mom said, which amounts to a monster 18 daily scoopings that allows the couple to maintain sanitary living conditions. 

“I use vanilla candles and clean with alcohol, water and baking soda because the chemicals in those heavy duty cleaners can really get the cats sick.”

Curtis, who won Thursday’s Republican primary for mayor over Fernando Mateo, is an outspoken animal activist.

Every single cat was slated to be euthanized by the city’s embattled Animal Care Center but were rescued and nursed back to health by him and his wife. 

“It starts with Apollo, who is the patriarch, and then Athena, she is the female cat who rules the roost,” the proud cat dad explained of his furry brood. 

“Then it goes with [Crooked Head] because the head is actually screwed almost off and it would’ve been euthanized and then there’s Drop Foot and there’s Whiskers and there’s Frisky and there’s Big Little One.” 

Then there’s Tiger, Love, Ajax, Duncan, Hope, Tiny, Hercules and finally, Wolverine, “who snores so loud it’s ripping the paint off the walls,” Curtis lovingly explained. 

“It starts with Apollo who is the patriarch, and then Athena, she is the female cat who rules the roost.”

Curtis Sliwa, NYC mayoral candidate and cat parent

Each night, three of the felines share the apartment’s queen-sized bed with the couple, who say they have to make sure to lay perfectly still so they don’t accidentally roll over one of the cats. 

“Once you lay down, that’s it. Cats to your left side, cats to your right side,” Curtis said, adding the nights can be difficult. 

“The kittens don’t know when to stop when they encroach on the older cat’s turf,” Curtis explained of the nightime feline politics.  

Sliwa holding a rescue cat.
Every single cat was slated to be euthanized by the city’s embattled Animal Care Center but were rescued and nursed back to health by Sliwa and his wife.
Matthew McDermott

“Keeping them in their own lanes, when they all start running around and crashing around at night, because they’re nocturnal, and can get aggressive, that can be a big challenge!” 

But if the couple is feeling frisky themselves, they have an easy solution: stuff them all in the bathroom. 

“They’re making more noise than we are on those nights!” Curtis laughed. 

The couple explained that they’re happy to open their home to the death row cats but they try to adopt as many of them out as they can.

“This year we’ve taken in 20 to 25 and adopted out 10. We’ve got four scheduled to be adopted out and when they go we’ll take in four more,” Curtis said, adding the older and less-healthy kitties will be lifetime residents. 

Despite the work and the crowded conditions, the cat daddy said his furry roommates have been wondrous for his health. 

“It’s a destresser,” Curtis explained. 

“They actually cause tranquility. When I had high blood pressure after I had chronic Crohn’s disease, the cats would lay on my chest and bring my blood pressure down normally, naturally. That’s what cats could do.”