NJ man seeks home for his 1,000-pound Santa hat-wearing fiberglass cat

News 12 Staff Nov 01, 2021, 11:48pm Updated on: Nov 02, 2021, 2:46pm The biggest…

The biggest cat in New Jersey is up for adoption. The cat, made of fiberglass, is 52 years old and, according to its owner, appeared in the 1969 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Fifty-two years I’ve had this cat… Everybody called me crazy,” says Billy Moriarty.

Moriarty is a self-described animal lover and is looking for a new home for his 1,000-pound fiberglass feline. He says that the cat started its life as a Thanksgiving float in the parade.

“I’m just hoping someone can find a good home for it. I never want to get it destroyed,” Moriarty says.

The relationship between Moriarty and the cat is an interesting one. Then a 22-year-old truck driver, Moriarty was called to the old Macy’s parade workshop in Weehawken where the floats were being discarded.

“I took out Cinderella’s castle, brought it to the dump and dumped it. I took out the big dinosaur – Boom – and I watched it get crushed by the bulldozers,” he says.

But when the cat, which sports a Santa hat, was loaded onto his truck, Moriarty says he couldn’t bear to bring it to the crusher. Instead, he took it to Joe’s Truck Stop on Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City, where it sat in the room for a decade or so.

When Joe’s Truck Stop went out of business, there was a run-in with a guy from the bank who tried to seize it.

“He goes to me, ‘What are you doing with the cat?’ I says, ‘What do you mean what am I doing with the cat? That’s my cat,’” Moriarty recalls.

There were some tense moments, with Moriarty threatening to back the big cat over the other man’s vehicle.

He also recalled another time when the cat’s tail took down some telephone wires.

“Oh man, that day was funny,” he says.

Moriarty got his cat back and moved it to his friend’s business Cliffy’s Clocks in Jersey City. It sat on the roof for decades and became a well-known roadside attraction.

“I left it up there until his wife finally got disgusted with it and made me take it down,” he says.

There were a few more stops before Moriarty finally brought the cat to his current workplace, a truck parts warehouse against the railroad tracks in Belleville.

“This is the sixth time I’ve moved my cat. It’s only got three lives left. A cat’s got nine lives, right?” Moriarty says.

He says that he is hoping its next move will be to a nonprofit animal shelter or animal welfare organization. He says it might look nice on the lawn or roof and be used to cheer people up.

“They can put it on their property and people can come take pictures and donate to the dog food or the cat food. That’s all I’m asking for. I love animals,” Moriarty says. “I can’t donate money to them. I can give them the cat to make money.”

News 12 New Jersey first learned about Moriarty and his big cat after interviewing author and photographer Wheeler Antabanez for his book and film about the old Newark Branch rail line. Antabanez found the cat along the tracks.
Anyone who is interested in adopting the giant cat can reach out to reporter Brian Donohue on social media.