First I would like to say that this is kind of a follow-up on my last column "People who Dump Animals".
This is something that is all too familiar to me and touches my heart each time.
I'm still a bit emotional about the last two kittens I rescued and recently took to a shelter. Hoping they adjusted OK and are well.
Lets start with a very rainy day in late August of 2010. I am disabled and live in an single floor apartment complex. Unfortunately, I live on the very end of my building, at the corner of our parking lot, where I can hear & see almost everything.
As I was pulling into our parking lot that afternoon, I heard the sounds of crying and then noticed it was coming from 2 small kittens standing by a car, just whaling in the pouring rain.
At first, I wasn't sure what was going on, but there are a lot of drop offs in our neighborhood and I cannot understand anyone putting or leaving two kittens out in the rain like that. After I took my groceries in, I went out to try to coax them to me, so I could get them in, but they kept hiding under the cars. You could tell they were scared to death and didn't know what was going on. I had to leave them there and just hope they were OK and maybe, someone else would get them in. Well, no such luck. A couple of days later they were back, crying, in the parking lot.
I think they were approximately 10 to 11 weeks old when they were left there. I did see them again a few times and was wondering where they were staying or eating. It worried me sick to say the least. I worried that they may not survive because of raccoons and skunks that come in our area scavaging the dumpsters for food. I heard they were staying under another building.
I was already putting out food on my patio for another older cat that had been out there for some time. The kittens started coming over to eat with her. So this became a regular thing for a couple of months and no one claimed them. Every time you tried to get near them they ran, but every night, like clock work, they were there to eat. I swear they could hear my door open from where ever they were, because they were right there instantly, always at dusk.
I never stopped trying to get them to trust me enough to get close to them and I had all of the time and patience they needed, but when cold weather started coming on and it got quite cold in October. I really started to worry about them. They were a few months old by then.
I had called every place imaginable, but I live in a small resort town on the lake and other than the Humane Society here, there are no close shelters. Anyone I contacted was full. I have two big male cats and one 9 month old calico, which I took in just before the other kittens came along. She had been abandoned here too and was only about 3 weeks older than the brother and sister kittens were.
I didn't know how I could possibly take 2 more in and feed them and take care of all of that litter and their medical needs.
Someone told me that they belonged to a person in another building, which I found out later, wasn't true or if it was, they were the ones who put them out. A lot of times people in apartments think they want a kitten or puppy as a pet for their kids. Then when things start going wrong or the kids manhandle them to near death, they just put them out and that's the end of their problem and the beginning for someone like me. As in the last story, a lot of people don't know or think about what they're getting into regarding pets and usually as long as they're cute and cuddley they are OK, but once they start maturing or scratching or marking territory (cause they never bother to get them fixed), they're not cute anymore & out they go.
This, I have to say is my biggest pet peeve (no pun intended). I have been one of those people who's heart breaks at seeing baby animals dumped with no clue what they have to do to stay alive. That was all taken from them and they were left to just wing it. Such cruelty. Imagine the trauma they go through, just like we do. Would someone take a 6 month old child, because of the pooping and peeing and hunger and crying and set it in the middle of a parking lot or roadside and say, "They can make it, it's in their nature"?
I and many other people go through a lot of anxiety, worry and heartache with these animals, because we can't save them all. You people who dump animals have no idea how many others you affect by doing so.
Well, eventually, I started getting closer and closer to the male kitten, as they came around. The little girl was just too timid and frightened. I felt so sorry for her because she really depended on her brother a lot.
During November, I managed to be able to pet the male and eventually pick him up. He turned out to be quite a lover boy and started to hop and run to see me and wanted his attention as well as food. He was always so happy to see me.
Then it got really really cold and we had snow. I tried to fix them a makeshift boxed in bed outside and even hooked up a heating pad to warm the bottom blankets.
They used it a couple of nights, but the north wind cut straight across the patio. When it picked up, it got even colder. I found myself having to make a tough decision then. I couldn't get near enough to the female to even catch her to bring her in & she was as fast as lightning... So, I had to decide whether or not to leave them both out there and keep feeding them or bring the male in at least and save him from the cold, because he let me pet him & pick him up. The decision was made to save one, if I couldn't save both. It was so hard to do.
Two or three nights before Thanksgiving, I picked the little male up and brought him in. I tried desperately to get the little female to come in too, but she wouldn't, even with him there. I couldn't be out in the cold all night or hold my door open, so I had to come in and leave her. It broke my heart. I wondered how she would survive without him. I worried myself sick over her. She did come back almost every night to eat, though, and we'd go through the same thing, but she kept getting closer to the door. You could tell she missed her brother and wanted him with her.
The male kitten was loving it inside. He looked at me with so much love and spent the next few nights by my side and sleeping with me. No, the other cats were not happy, especially Rylee, my older white cat. I started calling the male kitten FuzzButt, because he was as fuzzy and lovable as a teddybear. He really got to my heart, I have to admit.
Well, Fuzzy had been in for a month and I was still working on his sister and fortunately on the night before Christmas Eve, she got close enough to where I could grab her and nudge her quickly inside. WHEW! At least she was warm and safe now and inside with him. That was my Christmas present. My cat Loki, a male tuxedo kitty, took on the role of friend and protector and she loved him dearly.
For a couple of months I watched in amazement as the precious babies turned into nearly mature cats. I learned so much from them and felt so much love & gratefulness that I could help these two little ones know love and trust.
I finally found a shelter to take them the second week of February and it was so hard to say goodbye, especially to my little loverboy. I hope the angels are still with them, as I write this. This story was very hard to tell because it was so recent, but if it helps prevent one animal from being dumped, then it was worth it.
The pictures are of the two kittens. The female is mostly white with spots.