Feline cop?

One lucky cat. This rescued kitten is now the official station cat of the Avalon Police Department. Officers and members of the community are donating funds to provide for the kitten, named “Howie” after the retired police chief. Photo by Connie Rankin for The Citizen

If you visit the Avalon Police Station, you may be greeted at the window by what appears to be a cute, fluffy little kitten.

At the moment, however, said kitten is indulging in typical kitten behavior and “taking a bite out of crime” at every opportunity.

It’s actually a relief to see the approximately 10-week old kitten being playfully ferocious, given her rough start in life.

Named Howie -- after former police chief Bob Howie, a devout animal lover -- the kitten was rescued not long after she was born to a feral mother on Florence Avenue in Avalon. The weak and filthy baby was found in the backyard garden of Avalon tax collector Ed Klicker. His family took over the intensive care of the tiny Howie, which included Ed bringing her to work at the borough hall.

It didn’t take long before the kitten was guaranteed a home in perhaps the unlikeliest of places -- the Avalon Police Station.

Chief Tom Kokoski and his officers have outfitted a room for their new station cat, complete with just about anything a cat could want. Howie does not, however, stay confined in her room. She has a comfy little hideaway beneath a bookcase in the chief’s office, which provides her with instant access to some of the best cat toys -- important papers. From there she can romp through the front squad room, where there are file cabinets for practicing high jumps, and computer monitors that provide cover for surveillance and a well-timed pounce when necessary.


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