A sweet boy who was twice neglected, abused and thrown out in the street to fend for himself though he technically had an “owner”, rescued cat Stevie found himself in need of emergency care. Luckily for Stevie, a neighbor contacted the rescue group about him because he was just walking the street where he lived hoping to find some scraps to eat. The second time he was rescued he had a big scar on his head, some hair loss from flea-bite allergies and an old flea collar wrapped around his neck that had to be cut off, as you see above. But worst of all he had an upper respiratory infection that turned out to be a calici virus.
A message went out to the rescue group asking if anyone without cats, an interesting request for a feline-centered rescue group, could foster him for ten days to give him medication for the calici, by which time he should be recovered.
On the way to the vet, however, Stevie just crashed from a combination of his own weakness, fever and the heat of the afternoon and had to go to emergency, then to Dr. Morrow’s clinic for a few days, and expenses mounted though both vets were kind with their charges for a rescue cat and a known rescuer. Stevie’s rescuer sent out a plea for donations to help cover the costs.
Others readily donated as I tried to decide what I could do. For weeks I’ve been trying to devise an easy system where people could donate to support these cats using my artwork as an incentive so I could give more than I have at hand and I prepared a post about Stevie and other cats in need.
The same evening of Stevie’s rescue, less than an hour after I had posted the sketch “Early”, a regular art customer e-mailed me admiring the sketch and said she’d like to purchase it when I was ready to give it up—ding! There was my solution, and partly for the history of the customer herself.
I sell my daily sketches unframed for $75 to $100 depending on medium and complexity. Lesley had already purchased two, and she’d also been the person to purchase “Winter Window” soon after I’d lost Kelly last year and we had quite a number of conversations around that purchase.
Knowing that she’d performed TNR in her neighborhood, currently manages outdoor cats and has a number of indoor cats rescued from this outdoor colony, I told her “Early” could be hers immediately and asked her if she’d like to donate the selling price to help Stevie, explaining his condition. She could make a charitable donation of $100 to Frankie’s Friends which would help Dr. Morrow who had provided care to Stevie and to others, or to the Homeless Cat Management Team since Stevie was one of the cats who’d been rescued by a volunteer. She gladly agreed!
I’ll be happy to do this with the cost of nearly any daily sketch I’m ready to give up! I’d love to have that $100 for myself, but daily sketches are the one thing I have to offer that have very little production costs associated with them so I have no cost of materials to cover. It’s a nice big donation in support of homeless cats, one I could never make myself. Dr. Morrow donates thousands of dollars of veterinary care to rescued cats each year, and one free-for-ferals clinic hosted by the Homeless Cat Management Team costs $1,500, and a donation like this makes a huge difference in supporting the efforts for all cats in our area.
From a Sad Loss, a Happy Rescue
Two different threads were about to converge from two separate rescues. One person had rescued a mother cat who was healthy but whose three kittens had upper respiratory infections that had developed into pneumonia. She did all she could to save the three kittens but sadly, one by one, they died of their infection, leaving the mother cat obviously lonely and grieving.
Another person posted she’d had a call from a resident of a nearby community that he had found three kittens, one of them dead, beside his garage, under a tree with no sign of a mother cat. There were a couple of stray cats around who they felt they were both males and took the two kittens in the house, but kept watch for any cats coming around who might be the mother cat. They called the second rescuer because they didn’t have KMR and were trying to feed them cow’s milk, which is only okay to use temporarily if nothing else is available.
The second rescuer has a number of conditions which, at the moment, prevent her from leaving the house so she posted about the kittens, and she and I and several others remembered the mother cat who’d lost her third kitten just the night before. In the process of helping the kittens who didn’t survive the mother cat had tested negative for all the feline illnesses, so a matchup would be safe for the kittens.
Connections were made and the rescuer’s husband went off in one direction to get the kittens and then in another to meet the woman who had rescued the grieving mother cat. If her mom cat rejected the kittens she was prepared to bottle feed them, and even brought KMR with her, keeping it warm on her heated seats. She fed the kittens even before taking them to her home.
“It’s amazing, she loves them like she birthed them,” the woman reported after putting the kittens with the mother cat, posting the photo above showing two hungry kittens eagerly nursing and a contented-looking mother cat. Quite a few rescuers, including me, experienced happy tears at this; for all the unhappy endings and horrible injuries we see, it’s things like this that remind us why we rescue.
A note about abandoned kittens: If you find kittens who seem to be abandoned, unless they are clearly in danger it’s not a good idea to move them because the mother cat may be in the process of moving them from one place to another. Left alone and observed for a few hours she will do her best to come back for her kittens and there would be a possibility of catching the entire family. Because of the kitten who had died they felt it best to take the kittens in immediately, and though they are watching no other cat has shown up who might be the mother.
Feeding All These Rescued Cats and Kittens
Look at them all sitting so politely in their carrier! Ten, yes TEN KITTENS rescued, headed for foster, then looking for good homes.
Rescuers have been on the trail of this little potential kitten train wreck for a while, and finally managed to help a person with the stray/feral cats they’d been feeding and the kittens they gave birth to this spring. I don’t know the whole story—in truth, there are just too many to keep them all straight—but these ten kittens were the progeny of three female cats and one male. The adults were spayed and neutered last week and returned to the people who have been feeding them. They had asked for assistance with affordable spay/neuter services and help with trapping, and they are now assisted by rescuers who will help with handling the cats and future issues.
Imagine if these kittens had not been rescued and the people had not found any assistance with trapping or low-cost spay/neuter? That’s what I meant by a potential train wreck. Every rescuer has seen this sort of a situation explode into dozens of cats and kittens, usually resulting in either a hoarding situation or a trap and kill situation, neither ending well for the cats involved.
This is what TNR is all about, seeking out colonies of outdoor cats, making information available, providing support and assistance to people with situations like this, all for the good of cats who live on the streets—and those who really don’t want to, if there’s a home for them.
Donate food—or a gift card to Petco, PetSmart or WalMart to buy food
Few people have the money to feed unexpected multiples of cats, and the households who are fostering cats and kittens, caring for colonies, or who just need help making ends meet are grateful for donations of cat food. The shelters help as much as they can, but they have their own hordes of kittens to feed. If you can donate cat food in any quantity, please contact Donnie at dlgst18@Mail.rmu.edu.
How to donate a gift card
You can electronically donate a gift card if you can’t get food to these families, and even a $5.00 gift card would be immensely appreciated. Petco and PetSmart each give you the opportunity to order a gift card and have it send via e-mail to the recipient of your choice. Donnie is managing the food donations as well as a number of fosters of his own, so please send any gift cards for cat food to dlgst18@Mail.rmu.edu.
Why all this fuss?
The rescuers who often spend day and night chasing and trapping cats and kittens, running them to veterinarians, finding foster homes and eventual adoptive homes aren’t doing this for the sake of just these cats, but for the collective health and welfare of the populations of cats on the streets. The goal is to spay and neuter, foster and rehome as many cats as possible, especially all kittens, with the goal of reducing populations of unowned cats living outdoors, and track, manage and ensure the health of the cats who do live outdoors.
This is done not only by working with the cats themselves but with the people around them, spreading information about low-cost spay and neuter and low-cost veterinary care, and assisting people in managing the cats they own and the cats they care for outdoors. Like the carrier full of cute kittens above, a phone call, a conversation, and another household of cats and people are in the loop, receive the assistance they need, and spread the word to others. This is called managing community cats.
Don’t forget to visit this week’s rescued cats for adoption.
All photos courtesy the cats’ foster homes.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
The cats I’ve featured recently are from or were assisted by these rescues, shelters and organizations, though these are by no means the only organizations who are out there helping cats and other animals:
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.