UPPER EAST SIDE — Six-week-old Valeria, a black and white kitten at the ASPCA, started her life by being thrown out of a moving car near 142nd Street and Riverbank Park.
A good Samaritan who saw it happen, picked Valeria up and brought her to the ASPCA on 92nd Street.
After two weeks of hospitalization and some tender care and nurturing at the ASPCA's kitten nursery, Valeria is nearly ready to be adopted.
On Tuesday, the ASPCA held a "graduation" ceremony for more than a dozen kittens like Valeria, who were also abandoned, sick or abused, and are finishing up their time in the kitten nursery and moving on to the facility's Adoption Center.
"Each one has a story," said ASPCA Adoption Center Vice President Gail Buchwald. "It's amazing in their eight-week lives what they've gone through."
Kittens of all colors and breeds — tabbies, calicos, Persians, Siamese, ragdolls and tigers — underwent intensive medical attention, socialization and a little fattening up over the past several weeks, she said.
Orion, who is completely white and named after the cat in the film "Men in Black," was malnourished when he was found and had to be fed milk using a syringe.
"I'm super proud of him," said ASPCA volunteer Alexis Lucena. "I can't imagine someone finding a pure white kitten and not wanting to keep him. He's a bright light. He'll definitely be a lap cat."
Mercedes, a tiger cat, came in with her two brothers, who all had ringworm, said ASPCA staffer Pam Harris.
"It's good when they can get cleared and get the heck outta here," she said. "It's nice here but there's no replacement for a permanent home. She needs to get spoiled."
The ASPCA's kitten nursery is outfitted with more than 200 cages that can accommodate a single kitten or a litter and their nursing mother.
The ASPCA took in 1,523 kittens during this year's kitten season, which spans from May 1 to Oct. 31. Many of them were transferred from Animal Care Centers in New York City, which don't have the resources and around-the-clock help to take care of so many kittens, according to Buchwald. Already 1,000 have been adopted, she said.
"We're very proud and happy. It means lives are saved," she added.
This particular batch of kittens, which have been spayed, neutered and microchipped, will move to the Adoption Center in two to three weeks, when the majority of them are at least 8 weeks old.
For more information on how to adopt kittens at the ASPCA, at 424 E. 92nd St., visit its website or call (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120.