Originally Published April, 2014.
Saturday we had to say goodbye to Addison, my beloved cat of 15 years (read more).
It was a heart wrenching goodbye and I thought it would be months before we would rescue another kitty or two and take them into our home. God had a different plan.
Monday morning I received an email about a pregnant stray cat living in a warehouse. I contacted several rescues and spay and neuter services and was sad to hear that really there weren’t many good options for a pregnant feral cat. Either no one would help or they would just spay the kitty and kill the kittens.
I had wondered if we were supposed to care for the mom through her pregnancy and then help them all find homes. I kept praying about it. I was really excited about the opportunity to help a mom and watch kittens grow and be weaned. We wouldn’t normally ever have the chance as we always spay and neuter our pets because of the overpopulation problem.
I also knew the kids would love it as our oldest is watching butterflies and chicks develop in school right now. What a joy to care for a mom as she gives birth and cares for her babies.
Appropriate Rescue Steps
I checked with a vet to see what the best protocol was and she warned me that she needed to be tested for feline leukemia and HIV before determining anything. According to the ASPCA “FeLV weakens an animal’s immune system and predisposes cats to a variety of infections and diseases, including anemia, kidney disease and lymphosarcoma, a highly malignant and fatal cancer of the lymph system.” “Sadly there is no cure for FeLV, and it is estimated that less than 20 percent of clinically infected cats survive more than three years of active infection.” Feline Leukemia cats can’t be around other cats, have low life expectancy and thus are very hard to adopt.
I called my husband for approval to go and take the cat to the vet and just see…
On my way to the vet I prayed Lord guide me with what you want us to do. I haven’t even seen this cat, it may not be friendly, it may be sick, it’s not the timing of when I thought we would be getting a cat, is this what we are supposed to do? If the cat is not tame, it will be hard to find it a home. I hope it’s healthy. Please Lord, let the cat be healthy. I don’t know what I would do if it had Feline Leukemia.
I arrived at the warehouse and met Miss. Kitty. She had been living in the warehouse since December. When the cold weather set in, she found a broken window, snuck in and made the warehouse her home. The employees brought her food and blankets and gave her love. Several employees came to say goodbye. They had clearly developed strong connections and cared deeply for the kitty but none were able to take her home.
I took Kitty to the vet for a thorough check up and to be tested for feline leukemia and aids. I didn’t want to get too excited not knowing the outcome but surely God didn’t bring this cat into our lives just to have to her die.
At 3:30 we got the call from the vet she was negative on the two tests but had hook and round worms, easily treatable. She said she definitely was pregnant and to expect kittens in 2-14 days. She said she purred while they examined her and seemed to be a good one:) I asked how old she was and she said probably not even a year, she’s what we call a “teen mom”.
The girls and I ran by PetSmart to pick out toys, liter and some quality kitten food (pregnant mom’s diet) then we went to pick her up. We brought her home and created her own space in a bathroom with food, a treehouse, toys and a liter box. She hadn’t gone to the bathroom in a liter box yet but cats pick it up fast.
Foster or Adopt?
I still wondered if we would keep her forever or just foster her through the birth and weening of her kittens. As we got her settled she immediately took to us all. She couldn’t get enough love, getting in anyone’s lap that would let her and rubbing up against everyone. My five year old, my non emotional child, started to cry because she was so affectionate and sweet.
At dinner time my daughter went and got her library book that she had picked out that day at school. It was a picture of three cats that looked just like the one we brought home and had a section about giving birth to kittens. My daughter hasn’t brought home a cat book all year long. It was a sign to me that we should keep her but my husband still hadn’t met the cat.
My husband got home late that night and the girls went to bed anxious for an answer but he and I needed to talk about it and he needed to visit with her too. It only took a few minutes before he too fell in love and was making her a nesting box to have her kittens in. We decided we would keep her forever and probably one of her kittens although our 5 year old is hoping for two kittens, one for each of our girls:) God really has the most wonderful sense of humor!
We will be documenting the development of the kittens on the website, please keep posted…
Watch June, our rescued cat give birth to kittens and the development of them through the weaning stages. Kitty Cam available at http://straymagnet.com/watch-kittens-live
Tips to Rescuing an animal