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July 19, 2019

Big Sexy back in the spotlight in new FDNY Calendar of Heroes

June 16, 2019
New York Daily News front page for Feb. 1, 2019. (New York Daily News)

He’s ready for his closeup.

Big Sexy, the cat that graced the front page of the Daily News after he bolted from an FDNY photoshoot at a Manhattan firehouse in January and went missing, is back in the spotlight in the new FDNY Calendar of Heroes

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The fluffy black cat finally popped up a month later in a Staten Island woman’s backyard two months after his disappearance. Now he can be found in the FDNY’s 2020 calendar, which features rescue cats and dogs from the Animal Care Centers of New York City posing with FDNY members.

Big Sexy — whose real name is Buddy — appears in the calendar for the month of May, wrapped around the shoulders of shirtless Emergency Medical Technician Daniel Seiger.

The two were posing for the photo shoot on Jan. 20 at Engine 4/Ladder 15 near the South Street Seaport when something spooked the cat and he slipped underneath a firetruck and disappeared, sparking a major search.

“(I) signed papers promising to take care of him for his whole life, and was thinking of those promises every time I went into the frigid winter weather searching for him,” said Leslie Silbert, a writer who adopted the cat from Animal Care Centers two years ago.

After a weeks-long manhunt, Michele Froehlich-Perosi, whose ex-firefighter husband died a year ago of 9/11-related cancer, found the feline in her West Brighton backyard. Nobody knows how Big Sexy ended up there.

The cat was returned to Silbert on March 1.

Silbert says the saga has inspired her to pen a children’s book about her fluffy feline’s adventure titled “Buddy Valentine and the Hunt for the Most Wanted.”

“I never thought about writing a children’s book but so many people were saying throughout the process, “This should be a book, this should be a movie.’” Silbert said. “Then one Saturday night all the ideas came out and my friends and family seemed to like it,” Silbert said.

Silbert posted the first chapter of the book on her Facebook page last month and says it will be aimed at readers ages 9 to 12.

In the first chapter, Big Sexy finds a translator who can explain to humans his whereabouts during the two months he was MIA.

“The thing is, the news people knew the very beginning of the story, and the very end,” Big Sexy says in the book. “They didn’t know what happened in between.”

Silbert hopes to finish the book within the next few months and says it will be the first in a series of stories about the cat. She also plans to frame Buddy’s calendar photo next to the Daily News front page story on her wall.

“It’s exciting,” she said of the calendar. “I thought the photo looked good.”

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