BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Brother, can you spare a dime for a feline?
Melvin, a black and white domestic short-hair, has made the backyards of Madison Street, near Throop Avenue, his home for months, according to North Brooklyn Cats, a group of friends and neighbors in Brooklyn who work to help stray cats find homes.
"He was basically living in the backyards behind the houses of that block, where I assume he's been living for quite a long time," said Heidi Systo, a Bed-Stuy resident who first noticed the cat.
Melvin is between 5 and 9 years old, though a good estimate is unavailable because vets normally use the animal's teeth to determine age, according to North Brooklyn Cats.
Systo first noticed a problem with Melvin's teeth about six months ago when trying to find the cat shelter before winter. She took Melvin to a vet, where the doctor informed her that the cat had a serious dental disease and was likely in pain.
But Melvin slinked away in the middle of the night before an appointment for dental work could be made, ripping through a window screen in a possible attempt to woo the ladies, Systo said.
"He's not neutered," she said. "Our guess is that there was a female cat outside and he couldn't resist."
About three weeks ago, Melvin returned to his stomping ground and Systo set up a dental appointment for May 23.
Now Systo and North Brooklyn Cats are trying to raise the money to pay for the work on the feline's teeth.
The group, which set up a fundraising page on Monday, hopes to raise at least $600 in order to pay for Melvin's bloodwork, dental surgery and neutering. The page had received $91 of its $600 goal as of Tuesday afternoon.
Systo described Melvin as pleasant and mellow, even choosing the cat's name because she felt it suited his "old man" nature.
After surgery, the group hopes to find a good home for the friendly feline on its Petfinder.com page, Systo said.
"He loves being petted and he loves attention," Systo said. "At this point he's spent a long time on the streets, and I think he's ready to retire indoors."