Stuck in Monday morning traffic on her way to work, Suzanne Coopersmith glanced out her window and saw what seemed to be a dead cat curled up against the concrete divider on the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville.
Then the cat "lifted its head and opens its eyes."
The black-and-white kitty seemed to be saying, "Please help me," said Coopersmith, 55, of Medford, whose own similarly colored cat died three weeks ago.
Already running late, she paused but then realized, "No, I can't leave it there with a clear conscience."
As she was getting out of her car, along came Suffolk County Deputy Sheriff James Evans, who gave a hand. The cat was swaddled up in a pair of pajamas that Coopersmith said she had in her car to give as a gift.
Heading back home, she called her neighbor, an old hand at cat rescues, for help. The cat got a flea bath on her front porch, said Coopersmith, who already is guardian of an American bulldog, her own cat, an African parrot, two horses and a turkey.
After being cleaned up, bandaged and given pain medication and antibiotics, the kitty was "resting comfortably" Wednesday, said Tara Troyan, veterinarian and owner of Family Pet Clinic in Patchogue. "There's no reason to think she won't make a good recovery."
Still, the petite female cat, estimated to be about a year and a half, had abrasions, fractures and a dislocation in the elbow region, Troyan said.
She was contacting orthopedic surgeons who might give Coopersmith a break on the fee, as Troyan said she is doing.
Asked whether she had ever rescued animals in distress before, Coopersmith said, "I'm a little bit notorious," citing a little stray dachshund mix she found a couple of months ago, now residing with one of her neighbors.
Now Coopersmith, who works as a senior data analyst, is pondering names for this new creature in her life.
Animal lovers were thrilled to read about the LIE cat rescue, which was posted Tuesday on the Suffolk County Sheriff's Facebook page. The post garnered more than 1,350 likes, 670 shares and more than 200 comments by Wednesday afternoon.
Commenters were full of gratitude, awe and kudos, with one thanking the deputy sheriff "for understanding this woman's efforts. You made sure that wonderful woman was safe as well as the cat who was probably scared of it's mind."
"Incredible people in this world," another said.
Yet another wrote, "Sending love from Australia to Deputy Sheriff Evans and the beautiful lady who took the cat home."