While Carlow has experienced some hardships in his nearly four years, the orange and white cat has persevered through it all to become an Instagram sensation. “I had been shown countless Instagram accounts for cats that have thousands of followers,” Carlow’s human representative (who asked to remain anonymous) told atombash.com recently. “I thought it would be fun to see if we could get that same sort of popularity. Once people got word or sight of a cat that uses big firetrucks as his throne, the follower count grew and grew.”
The three-year-old cat resides at the FDNY Engine 22 Ladder 13 firehouse in Yorkville, on East 85th Street in Manhattan. Firefighters from the station discovered Carlow when he was just a poor, underfed, stray kitten hiding in a tire at a mechanic’s shop, and decided to take the poor animal in. “The original job assignment for Carlow was to keep mice out of the firehouse,” Carlow’s person shared. “Since he’s been in the house, very few mice have been seen. Now he just supervises the guys’ work around the house.” Prior to Carlow, the station had employed and cared for another firehouse cat who passed away after many years of loyal service.
In 2012 when he still very young, something spooked Carlow, causing him to go missing from the firehouse for over two days. Efforts from neighbors, the community, a nearby cat shelter, and local media outlets helped Carlow find his way home. A neighbor found the little fellow in a cardboard box and recognized him from the posters hanging all over the Upper East Side.
Now, Carlow has become a New York City tourist attraction. “Since gaining popularity on Instagram people do come to visit Carlow regularly,” commented Carlow’s spokesperson. “He’s had visitors from all over the world stop by and say, ‘Hello!’” Currently, Carlow’s Instagram account has amassed over 22,000 followers and posted over 600 photos.
Other than his Instagram stardom, Carlow is your typical cat. “Besides napping, Carlow likes exploring the firetrucks and finding new places for those naps,” Carlow’s rep said in an atombash.com interview. “He also really enjoys people watching, giving the neighborhood dogs attitude, and chasing pigeons off his property.”
When discussing Carlow with his human intermediary, the spokesperson commented, “A firehouse cat is a lot less maintenance than a firehouse dog, but still provides companionship and entertainment. Cats, like humans, all have individual personalities and can offer different things to firehouses and the men working there. I would encourage other firehouses to get a firehouse cat if it works for them.”
While other FDNY stations have taken in strays (see Boogie at Ladder 24), firehouses across the country can work with local animal rescues to give cats forever homes. Who knows? Maybe your local firehouse adopts a cat that becomes the next Internet sensation. Even if that doesn’t happen, at least more animals will be saved from lives in shelters or ones cut short by euthanasia.