Starving cat freed after spending five weeks abandoned in a closed restaurant!

New York, New York - A cat that was locked in a closed shop for five long weeks after its owner simply abandoned it. Then a group of neighbors got together and launch an extraordinary rescue operation!

This poor cat sat lonely by the store window every day and meowed for help.
This poor cat sat lonely by the store window every day and meowed for help.  © Screenshot/Instagram/@tillyswalks

Animal lover Mirjana was on the verge of despair.

For weeks, a cat kept popping up on her neighborhood Facebook page all alone in a bistro in Hell's Kitchen, which had actually closed its doors five weeks ago.

Visibly malnourished, the furry friend sat by the shop window almost every day, quietly observing what was happening on the street.

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"I guess people had noticed and started posting about it. After coming across the post last night I could barely sleep," Mirjana said in an Instagram post explaining the situation.

Apparently others felt the same way because when Mirjana went to the former delicatessen the next day, she met her neighbor Ben Lagman, who had tried unsuccessfully to feed the cat through a broken door.

He had already called the police to report the suspected animal abuse, and two more neighbors turned up to help while they waited for the officers to arrive.

"All these amazing humans compelled to help this cat out from a FB post," Mirjana wrote.

"Beyond grateful and proud of my fellow neighbors in Hell's Kitchen."

This cold cellar was Leila the cat's lonely realm for over a month.
This cold cellar was Leila the cat's lonely realm for over a month.  © Montage: Instagram/tillyswalks (2)

Owner offers shocking "explanation" as to why he left the cat behind

These New York neighbors rescued Leila the cat. Ben Lagman (2nd from right) even adopted her!
These New York neighbors rescued Leila the cat. Ben Lagman (2nd from right) even adopted her!  © Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@tillyswalks

"We thought this cat might die, we didn’t know if there was AC in there, and there was broken glass on the floor," Ben told the New York Post.

"It was deplorable."

The cat, whose name turned out to be Leila, was left in a terrible state.

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"She was dirty and hungry," Ben said.

According to the local, there were "empty cat food cans all over the store [and] a bed in a cold weird basement."

The rescuers contacted the owner of the former store and the man agreed to give Leila to Ben, but stressed that someone came once a day to feed the animal.

The concerned neighbors wanted to know why he hadn't taken her to his new store, but the answer was: "I couldn't pick up the cat it likes to scratch."

"She’s such a good kitty, she didn’t fight. She seemed to know she was being rescued," said Tiff Winton, one of the neighborhood crew.

After her rescue, Leila the cat can now enjoy her life to the full.
After her rescue, Leila the cat can now enjoy her life to the full.  © GoFundMe/Ben Lagman

"Her personality went from very afraid to extraordinarily affectionate,” said Ben, who has since adopted the cat. "I’m blessed to have her."

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@tillyswalks

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