The stray cat was dodging rush hour traffic on the BQE, a bullet in her leg and a litter of cats in her belly, when Councilmember Stephen Levin came to the rescue.

Last Friday afternoon, Levin was driving east on the BQE when he saw the stray on the westbound highway somewhere between Wythe and Metropolitan. The councilmember took an exit, then got back on going the opposite direction, and saw that the cat's leg was caught in a storm drain. He pulled over, got out of his car, and went to pick the cat up.

"[The cat] bit him pretty bad," says Vinny Spinola, the founder of the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, where Levin brought the cat. "It was very brave of him to do what he did."

An x-ray revealed that the 1-2 year-old pregnant cat had been shot, and was walking around with a bullet in her right hip.

"It's not something you see often," Spinola says, adding that the cat showed other signs of abuse once doctors began cleaning her bullet wound.

"After they anesthetized her, they noticed other things going on, other signs of torture. She was missing some skin and some spots around what they call the 'gloving' on the back leg. She had burns."

Spinola says that Loretta, as they've named her, is expected to have her litter in around two weeks. She also needs surgery to remove the bullet, and may also require corrective spinal surgery; BARC is accepting donations to complete the procedures.

"Until we're able to treat her, and until she recovers, we won't really know if she's adoptable," Spinola says. "The main focus is getting her well, keeping her alive, and trying to do the right thing by her."

Levin, who wasn't immediately available for comment, went to the ER after he dropped Loretta off.

"Most people would have maybe called the cops, but he was by himself and he took the chance of picking up a hurt, strange animal," Spinola says. "I have to applaud him for that."