NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 44-year-old woman who told police she robbed a string of banks to raise money to pay for surgery for her cat pleaded not guilty to larceny in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Monday.

Catherine Kaczanowski, who was arrested last month, said she set off on her crime spree after learning her stray cat Smoochie had a cancerous tumor and needed surgery, police said. She is accused of hitting five banks near her Brooklyn home and making off with a total of $7,500.

Kaczanowski pleaded not guilty to grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and robbery.

Police say she slipped notes to bank tellers demanding money and saying, "I don't want to hurt anybody."

When arrested, the frail 5-foot-3 (1.6 meter), 100-pound (45 kg) recluse told police she was desperate to save Smoochie, a stray she adopted as a kitten nearly three years ago.

Smoochie had the surgery, which was successful, the New York Post reported quoting a law enforcement source.