by Elisa Black-Taylor
Good morning readers. I've got a sad and funny story about my new cat rescue role. Let me first say I've grown tired of looking at all of the cats on the euthanasia list at a shelter located a few hours from my home. So I decided to do something about it. I'm now an official cat rescuer.
It all started earlier in the week when I contacted the shelter about being a rescuer. I've rescued on my own for years and decided to make myself official. Greenville County Animal Shelter told me I could apply to do rescue and sent me the paperwork by email. I had to fill out information and give vet and shelter references and also have a rescue group to back me up. It took a few days to pull everything together and I got the information emailed back to them Friday morning.
I was supposed to rescue two 4-month old females who were sponsored by a lady in the U.K., but she emailed me and thought they'd already been adopted. This is lesson number one readers. If you can't adopt a kitten yourself, most shelters have sponsorship programs where you can pay the fee to pull, spay/neuter, vaccinate the cat and this leaves a rescuer the chance to save the animal at no cost to them.
Now for my first official rescue story. I'd just talked to my boss on Friday about returning to work and he promised to call me Friday night and let me know something. I talked to him and returned to playing on the computer. I decided to see if the Greenville County Animal Shelter (SC) had added any new kittens to their euthanasia list. Most of the ones I'd looked at earlier had a $50 each pull fee, which I couldn't do. I saw three new little faces starring back at me. They had just been added. They weren't important enough for the shelter to even give them a name.
One of the kittens was so ugly it was cute (Gidget). One looked like it was not happy at all with it's situation (Sweetie Pie) and the third kitten (Jasper) was simply breathtaking. I learned later Friday they had been turned in on Monday as strays and their time had run out.
I emailed the shelter and told them I wanted to pull them. Usually the shelter wants the pull fee (theirs was $20 for all three since they were too young for any vetting) put on a debit card, but they emailed me back and asked me the pick up time. I know how bad I am on directions and gave at ETA of 5:30 p.m.
My daughter Laura and I got to Greenville in less than an hour. It took another hour, stopping twice for directions and two illegal U-turns for me to find the shelter! And of course I parked as far away as possible from the actual building I needed to be at. I gave the desk employee the name of my rescue (I named it Furby's Halfway House For Death Row Rescues) and the employee sent the carrier back with a worker.
My daughter immediately claimed Jasper and it was love at first sight. It kinda helped that Jasper was rubbing up to her through the carrier door. The other two had come up front to get their share of the attention. Laura rode in the back seat to be close to the kittens. They were all meowing like crazy. And Gidget was so ugly she's beautiful. She reminds me of a possum.
My boss called while I was trying to find my way out of Greenville. It was already dark and during rush hour traffic. Laura answered the phone as I don't answer when I'm driving. We never did explain to him what all the meowing was about! I wonder what he thought? I had to stop and ask for directions getting out of the city. I've worked there several times, but that part of town was totally unfamiliar to me.
We arrived home two hours later with the kittens. Laura was late for her babysitting job next door. My babysitting job for the night was just beginning. I was expecting my new additions to get out of the carrier and hide for the next several hours from being in a strange place. I also expected my two adult cats to be highly disturbed over the entire situation. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.
My adult cats looked at Gidget, Sweetie and Jasper, then looked at each other, hissed at the kittens, and then went back to their naps. Sweetie climbed on top of my computer, Gidget on the coffee table, and Jasper on the couch. We fed them and then Laura went on next door. I spent the next several hours holding the kittens. They weren't happy unless they were in my lap. I did have to put them back in the carrier when I went to bed. My little dog decided to "babysit" them instead on going to bed with me. My big dogs are good with the new arrangements and the kittens aren't afraid of them. Of course, their time together is supervised as I don't want them to get stepped on by the dogs.
As it turns out, all of the kittens want to be computer geeks and flat out refuse to stay off of the keyboard unless I let them sleep on my chest. Either way it's hard to type. I look down at their little trusting faces and think they'd be dead now if I hadn't saved them. That's a good feeling. It's also very sad.
It's a much different feeling than when simply adopting from a shelter. Those I've previously adopted had a chance. These three didn't. The decision to adopt them came when I looked at the shelter album of the 112 "Rainbow Bridge" pets who weren't so lucky. I simply couldn't let those three die.
Jasper is a little butterball. He has some eye drainage and I'll be treating that for the next few days. The two girls have some serious weight issues plus a little diarrhea and worms. I've started them on raw apple cider vinegar and the diarrhea has about cleared up. We're sprinkling food grade diatomaceous earth on their food to kill the worms. The silica in it cuts them up. I take it myself for health benefits. We're also treating ear mites. I've had years of experience nursing kittens back to health, so this all comes back to me as I'm faced with each problem. I'm hopeful all three will live.
My adult cats and the kittens are all eating together at the same time now. The kittens drink out of the big cat bowl. They have a smaller bowl, but seem to like putting their paws up and sticking their heads over into the bowl they've seen the other cats use. Gidget is a little firecracker when she eats. She growls at everyone else the whole time.
Gidget has learned the way from the living room to my daughter's bedroom. She climbed up in the bed with Laura yesterday morning. They're all great little jumpers. Gidget has also discovered the way to the feeding bar is up and over the living room chair. So much for feeding them on the coffee table.
We're going to have our hands full. I'd planned just to foster these three then adopt them out. Don't think that's going to happen. They've moved in and taken over.
I would love a little feedback from the readers on how my kittens act when I first bring them home. None of them have ever been scared or ran and hid. They come in and literally take over the house. And they all get along from the beginning. Including the dogs. I've read about how cat's hate to have their territory intruded on. Mine seem to get over it faster than most. Am I just lucky with taming kittens? I REALLY want to know.
I hope all of you will check into sponsoring animals even if you can't have a pet yourself. A lot of death row pets are rescued because someone paid the pull fee and a rescue group stepped in and fostered the animal. I've learned the two original kittens in Greenville are still available. I just don't have a way to get to them since I've returned to work. If transport is available, I believe I'll end up fostering them too.
After all, there's no such thing as too many cats to us cat ladies.
Update by Michael - Here are two photos by Elisa which show how perfect her home is for rescue cats that need (and don't they all) that extra bit of tender loving care:
A beautifully warm welcome to these vulnerable kittens....