My First Official Cat Rescue Mission

by Elisa Black-Taylor
(USA)

Gidget

Gidget

Gidget Their online shelter notice Jasper Sweetie Pie

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....

Elisa

Associated pages:

Taming Wild Feral Cats and Kittens

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My First Official Cat Rescue Mission

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Dec 30, 2010
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I hope to beable to rescue/pull myself
by: Tracy Hope

Hi there.... i just wanted to let you know that it all depends on how all kittens are brought up and how well they where treated before being handed over to a shelter.... many times, I have had kittens pulled from ACC(inwhich I recently found out you dont have to a Rescue pull a cat/kitten... All you have to do is call and pick the baby up.
I have had Many cats over the years and most have not hid, they are just happy to b e free and out of the cages... when you get your rescue mission going, please contact me. I would love to help!


Dec 30, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I hope to beable to rescue/pull myself
by: Tracy Hope

Hi there.... i just wanted to let you know that it all depends on how all kittens are brought up and how well they where treated before being handed over to a shelter.... many times, I have had kittens pulled from ACC(inwhich I recently found out you dont have to a Rescue pull a cat/kitten... All you have to do is call and pick the baby up.
I have had Many cats over the years and most have not hid, they are just happy to b e free and out of the cages... when you get your rescue mission going, please contact me. I would love to help!


Dec 30, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I hope to beable to rescue/pull myself
by: Tracy Hope

Hi there.... i just wanted to let you know that it all depends on how all kittens are brought up and how well they where treated before being handed over to a shelter.... many times, I have had kittens pulled from ACC(inwhich I recently found out you dont have to a Rescue pull a cat/kitten... All you have to do is call and pick the baby up.
I have had Many cats over the years and most have not hid, they are just happy to b e free and out of the cages... when you get your rescue mission going, please contact me. I would love to help!


Dec 07, 2010
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I just do what I can
by: Elisa

I've had twice as many cats at one time as I do now. I just had to save these three when I saw their photo. I got them out the day their death notice was posted. I couldn't do half of what I do without my daughter. She's official cat cook/baby sitter/nurse and kitty cuddler. These babies were in bad shape when we got them. We weren't sure if Sammy "Sweetie Pie" would live because you could feel every bone. But he's growing and sleeps in a box with Lola. She's adopted him. And the other two always have to be in someones lap.

Mandy has a Facebook page now under MandyLane. She was formerly known as Gidget and may be known in the future as "Mouth." LOL


Dec 06, 2010
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your great
by: kathy w

Your so wonderful to be helping these sweet little babies. I wish I could do a role like you are fulfilling. Your a great person and I love you for it. Please keep up the great work. The pictures are adorable. Your dog is great.


Nov 26, 2010
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Lucky
by: Leah (England)

Your kittens are so lucky. I guess you'll be keeping them?

I already foster which takes a lot of time and money so I just cant afford the extra outlay to sponsor as well.

As for scared kittens and older cats I've been quite lucky as my Alfie (who isn't 2 until Feb) adores kittens. He gets very excited when we have kittens in the house and immediately goes into 'wash' mode. He's like a very sweet uncle. Ozzie on the otherhand spits for a while but once he gets used to them he takes on the role of a very strict uncle and knocks them into shape if required.

I've also had dogs in the past and none of my kittens have been afraid of them so like you I guess I've been quite lucky!

All the best! Looks like you've got lots of very worthwhile fostering in front of you!!

(I love the photo of the Black and White kitten BTW)


Nov 26, 2010
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Kudos To You!
by: Mari H.

I loved reading your story!!


Nov 22, 2010
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My favorite
by: Elisa Black-Taylor

My favorite is the kitten who sits in my lap and NOT on the keyboard when I'm trying to write. They seem to be taking turns. Gidget and Sweetie Pie especially. Laura holds Jasper and claims him. But most of the time she's holding all of them and if I'm alone with them they're all asleep on me. I'm just glad they were able to stay together.

I'm also glad I'm experienced in nursing kittens back to health. I'd have hated to have gone into this not knowing how to care for them. We've managed to train 2 of them to the litter box. I really think they were outdoor kittens or they would have learned from their mama.

In my last cat lady days I always had between 6-12 at a time and that was a comfortable number for me.


Nov 22, 2010
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Brave you
by: Michael

Hi Elisa. I admire you for this. It seems to me that these three adorables are already adapted to living in a group.

Although cats are inherently solitary (except lions in their prides) when they have to they can live in groups - feral cat colonies being the classic example. Colonies form around a good food source.

That is one reason. The other is that you have no doubt created an environment that these kittens sense is friendly, which avoids defensive and fearful behavior. Your other animals are also socialised to other animals which makes them more accepting of newcomers.

They are extremely lucky to have you and Laura. My favorite, if I am allowed to have one, is Gidget, the dark or black calico kitten....ggrrrrr.

Michael Avatar



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