In early December I was tagged in a post in which a local rescuer with HCMT was looking for help for a woman with two kittens in her barn near Columbus, OH. They had showed up out of nowhere and she had thought of raising them in the barn to be barn cats. They were tiny and one of them wasn’t eating well and appeared to have an upper respiratory infection. Early December was also very cold with a heavy snowfall in that part of Ohio, and more freezing weather and snow were forecast. Kittens in a barn don’t survive that sort of thing. No other kittens or mom were anywhere around. She reached out for help for them.
My local friend wanted to find a rescue to take them. They needed medical help and weren’t in good shape to go to a shelter that might not have the means to keep them isolated and meet the special needs of very young kittens.
In fact, I do know someone who works with a rescue near Columbus Ohio: Jeanne Kudich of the blog Random Felines who works with Colony Cats & Dogs in Columbus. She rescues and TNRs for the organization, fosters back to back cats and kittens, helps at the adoption center and volunteers with administrative stuff. When you can’t go out and rescue cats and kittens yourself and you need a referral, you remember the bad stories you’ve heard about “rescues” that really weren’t and hope you’ll be able to find out enough about the organization and people so that you know you are sending these animals in need to a good place. I’m so glad that through keeping in touch with fellow bloggers I have contacts in rescue in all sorts of places around the country who I’ve actually met, or who can point me in the direction of a rescue they know and trust.
I pick on Jeanne pretty regularly, though, because I often get requests for help from people who live in Ohio, especially eastern Ohio, since Pittsburgh is so close to the border. Some local rescues and shelters regularly work with rescues and shelters in eastern Ohio and West Virginia too. Pittsburgh also has resources for cats and for animal rescue that can be more easily accessed for people on the eastern part of those states as well. But when people are a little too far or there are other restrictions* I need to help find resources over the border, and if I’m coming up empty I contact Jeanne.
I messaged her and sent the photo the woman with the kittens had sent, asking her about Colony Cats or any referrals in the area. She said she’d check, even though she’d just asked for a favor that morning. It’s like that a lot of the time.
When I saw her message a couple of hours later I was so happy to see that Colony Cats could take them! We talked about arrangements because the place they were wasn’t far and she was willing to drive—at night, in the snow, on rural roads, but whatever it takes to get the kittens, right?
And the one thing you really kind of hope when you work with someone you know is that your friend can actually get them and even foster them. Jeanne said they’d be going to her place!
I got a message from Jeanne a few hours later. “They are barely 4 weeks old. But mr orange sure does like some churu…” She already had them home and was feeding them.”Skinny but we can fix that.” By that age kittens born outdoors and away from people are usually pretty hissy and hostile, but these two were friendly and purry. Jeanne remarked they would never would have made it outside alone, and was glad, as I was, that the woman who had them had reached out for help before they were deeper into respiratory infections and still eating. “Other than needing good food, they look good. Eyes clear, no sneezing,” Jeanne said.
Wow, all in the space of a day, several people, a lot of messages, and two tiny kittens got to a safe and warm place where they would get the food, veterinary care, fostering and socialization they’d need. And I’d be able to follow on social media.
She called them “the muffin kittens” and named the gray one Blueberry and the orange one Cranberry. Cranberry is a boy, a little smaller and the one who hadn’t been eating well, and Blueberry is a girl, a little bigger and an escape artist. Both were very fuzzy and it’s been hard to tell if that was kitten fuzz or if they would be long-haired.
One of the other things you don’t want to happen when a friend takes the foster kittens is to also hand them a lot of troubles, and most of what these two needed was to eat and play and sleep. Cranberry running cracks her up. “He’s very short and round. Blueberry is super friendly and so purry.” Cranberry, howevery, apparently hadn’t learned all the necessary lessons from his mom or his feline heritage. “Once Cranberry got the hang of being self cleaning, it’s been easy,” Jeanne messaged, referring to the fact he didn’t bathe himself. “I’m not sure I’m forgiven for the second bath, though.”
They received initial vaccinations and are approaching two pounds, Blueberry at 1 pound 12 ounces, and Cranberry at 1 pound 6 ounces. Unless they were younger than four weeks when rescued they are a little behind on weight goals, but that’s another good reason they are with an experienced foster who would recognize health issues that might keep them from gaining weight normally. But some kittens are smaller, and they certainly didn’t have a head start. So glad they are in good hands now!
When they have achieved their weight goals and are spayed and neutered and vaccinated, they will be up for adoption from Colony Cats!
Helping cats this way
Sometimes rescue is just being connected with resources in your area and in others. When someone asks for help, you can’t always be the one who runs for the cats. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help find help. So get to know the shelters and rescues in your area, and also find ways you can find help in other areas. Here on The Creative Cat I have a resources page of low-cost and emergency care for owned cats and feral cats, plus ways to search by city, zip code or area for similar resources. Get to know where they are, who they are and their policies, and send along a donation now and then, maybe even volunteer. And when cats come along like Blueberry and Cranberry you’ll be able to offer some real help to people who ask, and to cats in need.
Thank Colony Cats & Dogs for their rescue!
Visit the Colony Cats & Dogs website and make a donation. However small it helps cover the care for kittens like these two little muffins!
*If you remember the rescue of Hays, last year he moved with his family to a small farm in northeastern Ohio. They discovered cats on their property and in their barn who were either dumped or left behind and wanted to TNR them and care for them because they all seemed to be friendly. They couldn’t find a TNR program at first and were willing to drive to Pittsburgh to work with HCMT as they had when they lived here. However, Pennsylvania COVID restrictions required they quarantine for 14 days after entering the state, and even though our clinic does not admit people, just cats, it could still put people in danger. I offered to meet her at the state line where we could hand off the cats she’d trap, but instead I contacted Jeanne, who mentioned one organization closer to them, and from them I found another that they could use. Keep finding resources!
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