My Most Stressful Cat Rescue Yet
by Elisa Black-Taylor
The Piranha Kitties
The family of kittens I rescued on June 6 has been the most stressful of all of my rescues. Not only was I racing against the clock to reach them before they were euthanized, I was running out of time before they died of natural causes.
Last week my daughter and I were discussing the rescue of a few more kittens. She enjoys kittens because she believes they are more loving when hand raised from the time they were babies.
So on Friday night I conducted a little "test." I sat down with a pen and paper and opened the email sent to me by the shelter I rescue from. I studied the list and there were many kittens available. I wrote down the names of the ones that left a mark on my heart. Then I turned the paper over and handed pen and paper to Laura and told her to do the same.
It was no surprise when our rescue choices matched up 100%. It's almost freaky, but that's what happens when you're empathic. I knew the rescues would require money as they were all sick, so I started a fund for my kitties so I could take them to the vet.
We had chosen to rescue Froggie, Lilo, Stitch and Scarlett. I added a kitten named Johnny as a last minute decision. Froggie had been turned into the shelter with a tick on his eyeball. Lilo and Stitch both had URI's and I knew they'd have to go into quarantine. Scarlett had been found in the middle of the road and brought to the shelter. I don't know how Johnny ended up on the euthanasia list. I guessed him to be an unwanted kitten.
After enough money was raised for me to afford to take the sick babies to the vet I emailed Andrea, rescue coordinator at the shelter. I knew she wouldn't be back in until 8a.m. on Monday morning. It was a hard weekend to wait out. It became even harder when the shelter posted an emergency rescue message that Lilo and Stitch were very sick and needed out ASAP. I left a message to the shelter that I'd be there when they opened on Monday morning.
I went straight from work Monday morning after pulling a twelve hour shift only 15 minutes from the shelter. The first thing I learned was that Froggie was dead. Andrea came out and reported this to me and was holding a kitten similar in appearance to Froggie. Her name was Cupcake. I told Andrea the substitute was fine and we stuck Cupcake into my shoulder bag carrier.
Andrea then told me Lilo and Stitch could be dead as they looked awful on Friday afternoon when she left them. She brought them out next and they didn't look terminally ill. Just very tiny and sick.
Next she brought out Johnny, all bright eyed and ready to go. He, too, went into the carrier. Then Andrea told me Scarlett had been adopted. I asked her if I could go in the cage area and look at all of the kittens. It was there that she showed me Garfield, a gold tabby without the white you usually see with tabby cats. Andrea said she wished someone would adopt him as he was #1 to be euthanized that day. In fact, any kittens not rescued by Monday would risk being euthanized. My daughter Laura had been wanting a cat named Garfield, so into the carrier bag Garfield went. He was twice the size of the kittens, but he was a sweet boy and didn't cause any trouble. Besides, I had to stop by my insurance company next door to the vet and one carrier was easier to manage.
I called the vet who had treated Cocoa and explained I'd pulled some seriously ill kittens that needed to be seen. The receptionist told me to come on and they'd work me in.
My final stop with the piranha kitties was my wonderful vet. He takes such good care of the cats he sees. Garfield, Lilo and Stitch all had to be seen. Their temperature was checked (it was normal) and stool samples were taken to check for worms (none found). Then he listened to their little heartbeats. They were put on Clavamox for a week just in case and sent home.
These kitties have been much more stressful to care for than any we have rescued. They are seriously underweight. Garfield was attacked by something before being turned into the shelter and has a sore on his back (healing nicely) and his nose is all skinned up. I believe he did this rubbing it back and forth across the cage at the shelter. After all, the poor baby was in there for two weeks. Cupcake and Johnny are perfectly healthy and of normal size and weight.
These kittens range in age from 4 or 5 weeks to about 10 weeks and come from 4 different litters. My rescuing them freed up four cages at the shelter. The shelter is a scary place this time of year. Kittens may only have a few days before they're killed for lack of room. I know over 50 were killed in one week. It's heartbreaking and I know it's killing Andrea who tries so hard to save them.
The first thing Cupcake did after settling in at my home was to take a nap on my dog rescue Chico, who has been with us a week now. I don't know what there is about my home that makes cats and dogs instant friends.
The older cats are under a little more stress with the new kittens and I believe it's because they meow a lot. They have to be fed roughly every three hours and I've never had a cat who meows except for Cocoa and he doesn't do it often. These kittens will meow constantly until they are fed a small can of food.
Which is how they earned the nickname "the piranha's." They can eat through a small can of food in less than three minutes. Sometimes Laura has to open two cans and put down so they'll have enough.
Garfield is a delight. He just sits on my chest and looks me in the eye like he can't believe he's finally out of a cage. He has a look about him I can only describe as lovesick. These kittens know we rescued them. Especially Garfield.
Stitch has decided to buddy up to me when I'm home. Laura has a bed full of cats. We LOVE IT!
Little Johnny, who I've nicknamed J.J. (he looks just like Jasper) is now playing with Jasper and Laura just called me and said Pippa is playing with him.
The biggest danger I face now is not to accidentally step on anyone. All five follow us from room to room. They are so cute to watch. Here's a short movie I made of them a few hours after we got them home. I'm only sorry I made the movie BEFORE they each got a bath. They were filthy, nasty and smelly. Especially the sick ones. It was almost enough to gag me just to hold them.
Laura bathed each of them and I held them wrapped in a towel until they dried.
I've come a long way with my rescue. I now belong to a large network of mostly women who know how to get things done. If I can't help an animal I usually know who to refer someone to. It's an awesome feeling to know my daughter and I are really making a difference in the lives of a lot of cats.
Feel free to comment. I think I've caught everyone up with this report. I know my Facebook family will be wanting the whole story about this rescue, and although long, here it is.