The Catsimatidis Family Loves Their Pets

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Owner of Gristedes supermarkets John Catsimatidis attends the celebration party for Rita Cosby's new book "Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death" at Pacha on October 03, 2007 in New York City.NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03:  Owner of Gristedes supermarkets John Catsimatidis attends the celebration party for Rita Cosby's new book "Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death" at Pacha on October 03, 2007 in New York City.  (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Catsimatidis
Photo: Scott Wintrow/Getty Images2007 Getty Images

Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis initially seemed to be the winner of a Monday mayoral forum organized by animal-rights advocates. After claiming that “some people call me the cat man,” the Republican candidate told everyone about the time he called the FDNY to track down his daughter’s escaped cockatiel, which was returned safe and sound. He then shared an even more harrowing — and less happy — pet tale:

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The Catsimatidis family cat — he said after the forum that it was all white and named Cottonball — died while Catsimatidis was working on the computer and his wife was watching television. “My wife gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and rushed him to the hospital to try to keep him alive,” Catsimatidis said. “I just want to reflect the respect I have for animals.”