SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK STATE – NEWS AND COMMENT: This is an unusual story of a female feral cat who might have been part of a TNR program and therefore part of a colony but she was informally adopted by Meghan Fitzgerald and her husband Nick outside of the programme because they befriended her and gradually socialised her. They discovered that she was pregnant and she gave birth to kittens in a heated shelter that they had bought her. They named her Lily.
And in order to do the right thing for the kittens they took lily and her kittens to the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. The shelter provided a carrier to take them there. They took them so that the shelter could care for the kittens. They expected Lily to be returned to them as soon as possible.
But due to a communications mix-up the animal shelter adopted out Lily to somebody else. They initially claimed that the Fitzgeralds had consented to Lily being adopted out. But Meghan Fitzgerald denied this vehemently. They felt that they were being railroaded. She pleaded for Lily’s return.
“My kids want their cat back. My husband and I want our cat back. We were never given a chance. They never communicated with us.” – Meghan Fitzgerald
In a nice touch of decency, the animal shelter recovered Lily and reunited her with Meghan Fitzgerald and her husband. So, the story has a happy ending.
It’s the kind of ownership mix-up that can cause a lot of problems. We don’t know the name of the person who had adopted Lily from the shelter and how they felt about returning her. Sometimes people in their position refuse to return their cat because they have fallen in love with them.
Lily had turned up to the home of Meghan and Nick Fitzgerald as a stray feral cat. They started feeding her and named her. It took several months, they say, to gain her trust which is typical of feral cats. Eventually Lily entered their home and ate there. They bought her an outdoor heated cat house when the weather got colder. By Christmas last year she allowed them to pet her. And gradually she became domesticated and spent longer periods inside the home.
It was in the spring that she became pregnant and gave birth to kittens which resulted, as mentioned, in the Fitzgeralds taking Lily and her kittens to the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation which led to the mix-up. Clearly, they were very upset when they found that she had been given away to somebody else but they took to social media to plead for her return.
It worked and the shelter has apologised. They said that they receive a lot of feral cats and the people who bring them in don’t want them back. They said that they might be able to allow the Fitzgeralds to adopt one or more of the kittens that she had given birth to. They said “We didn’t want to upset anyone and we are trying to remedy that.”
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