Cat’s out of the bag: Feline stuck in two garbage bags ditches the Bronx for Brooklyn luxury

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Panda the cat, who was found in a tied-together plastic bag and abandoned in the Bronx, shortly after finding his fur-ever home.
Photo courtesy Abigail Jasak

Panda the cat may have been a Bronxite, but he’s done with the borough.

The black-and-white furry creature was found in a plastic bag tied shut in a knot inside another garbage bag at West Tremont and Jerome avenues within the 46th Precinct in the Bronx on the morning of Feb. 6.

A person collecting cans in the borough noticed movement inside a black trash bag outside and decided to investigate.

And it wasn’t a ghost, or rat looking for dinner. It was Panda, stuck and alive, alongside old reusable shopping bags.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (ASPCA) the cat tried to escape, per holes found in the bag and pieces of plastic stuck to his frayed claws.

The passerby called the police, who brought the abandoned creature to the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center.

Panda the cat was rescued after struggling to escape two garbage bags in the Bronx. Photo courtesy ASPCA

The recovery center works almost exclusively with NYPD animal cruelty cases, according to Medical Supervisor Danielle Armato, who works in the center.

Vets at the center estimated Panda was about 2 years old when he was found four months ago. The young cat was stable upon arrival to the ASPCA center and didn’t have any serious medical problems, according to Armato. Vets reported Panda as sweet and social and they gave him vaccines, drew bloodwork and examined him.

“The responding officers did not report any urgent concerns when they responded to the scene,” Armato told the Bronx Times. “While the officers are not veterinary staff, based on their observations on scene and while he was at the precinct — he was taken there before coming to the ASPCA — it did sound like he was stable, which was consistent with our medical findings.”

A tattered Panda before discovering his new life of love in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy ASPCA

The cat, however, was underweight and had signs of skin disease, according to the ASPCA. After being treated for a minor gastrointestinal infection and was properly groomed, he gained weight before being sent to a foster home.

In comes Abigail Jasak who ultimately gave Panda his fur-ever home, officially adopting him on March 23.

Jasak was still finishing her last semester at Pace University, which she just graduated from in April. Over the course of her last two semesters, she had fostered two cats through the ASPCA before bringing Panda home.

Panda in a cone after getting neutered shortly after arriving home. Photos courtesy Abigail Jasak

She wasn’t originally intending to adopt him, but when she was notified two weeks into taking him in as a foster that he would soon be ready for adoption, she couldn’t let him go. He already felt at home in Brooklyn and treated Jasak and her roommates like family, sleeping with them at night and greeting them at the door.

“He was very attached to us,” she told the Bronx Times. “I didn’t have it in my heart to abandon him again. He had such a sad life before and he already believed he was home, so I said alright, you’re home buddy.”

At first, Panda — whose nose was scratched up and had patches of hair missing on his body — didn’t even react when Jasak shook a treat bag.

Now, he’ll win a race from anywhere to get to the delicious snacks, and most importantly, he has discovered what the “zoomies” are and enjoys attempting to steal his humans’ food.

While Jasak knows fostering isn’t for everybody, she highly recommends it. She said the ASPCA provided food, litter and other materials for her, removing some of the financial barriers of caring for a pet as a student.

The foster periods with the two prior cats were 2-4 weeks, and once they were put up for adoption they found their new home within a week, Jasak said, adding that it differs on a case by case basis.

“It is so hard to care for these animals so much and then watch them get adopted,” she said of her experience fostering cats. “It’s definitely a bittersweet moment … if you can foster I highly recommend it, just because it’s so needed and at the end of the day you’re doing something so good for these animals and you’re giving them a space to be free and figure out their personality outside of the shelter.”

While the shelters are necessary, it can be very stressful for some cats, she added.

Panda declined to comment for this story.

See more photos of Panda’s new life:

Panda in his new home.
Panda with his favorite records.
Panda enjoying a loving home.
Panda looking at the view.
Panda watching TV.
Panda with his cactus scratching post.
Panda showing his belly on a scratching board.
Panda sleeps with his humans in bed.

This article was updated at 9:27 p.m. on June 6.

Reach Aliya Schneider at or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes