I woke up to the ringing phone; my elderly neighbors needed help. I rushed over groggy, in my jeans and pajama top, just as they were moving a large trunk away from the garage wall. There, between the framing, we were stunned to see a single, squirming mass of newborn kittens, squealing for a meal.
I fostered cats before, and share my home with four cats and three dogs. Everyone knows I would never turn my back on an animal in need. So, I wasn't surprised that they had called me.
I scooped up the kittens and rushed back to my place. Where on earth was their mamma? I had some powdered formula for older kittens. But not knowing how long these babies were without nourishment, I decided it was better than nothing. While hurriedly mixing the powder I made some phone calls. My neighbor and good friend, JoAnn, was rushing over to help. Even at 84 she managed to take care of me through two surgeries, and could always be counted on in an emergency. And through some quick investigative work, I learned that the mamma cat had been taken to the Animal Shelter the previous day.
We jumped in my car and I plopped a cozy tub full of noisy kittens on JoAnn's lap. She was intimidated and had no idea how to feed such tiny creatures. But with no time for pleasantries, my instructions were abrupt; squirt the formula into their mouths, don't worry about the mess, and most importantly don't shove the eye dropper down their throats.
Then, off we raced!
Within minutes we turned onto a busy, four lane road- and I just couldn't believe what I saw then. A little brown Shih Tzu was darting in and out of the traffic! Horns blared but most drivers simply looked stupefied. Were they sitting there maybe expecting the puppy to start directing traffic, or what? Although still half asleep, with my brain overloaded, I could always count on my quick instincts to steer me in the right direction. I would not allow this little dog to get injured or, worse yet, killed.
I pulled over and followed the dog into traffic, hoping that at least no one would deliberately hit a human being! The puppy was growling and snapping. I had little success trying to coax him back onto the sidewalk. Thank goodness, two young women in separate cars finally pulled over. One was already calling for Animal Control while the other tried to help me corral the dog. Just as I was rushing back to my car to grab a towel, the little bugger made another dash into traffic. With adrenalin pumping through her veins, the obviously athletic woman just dove for the dog, not once thinking of her own safety. Although she did get a few surface bites, I got there in time to throw the towel over his head to prevent any further injuries. The other woman asked how else she could help, even offering to drive to the shelter if need be.
Luckily, I had my own Shih Tzu's carrier case in the car, and between the three of us we managed to shove him in. As I shut the hatchback, all I could see in the carrier was one large yellow towel dancing around wildly!
By then, JoAnn, who had missed all the action in the street, was relaxed and had gotten the knack of feeding the kittens. With their bellies filling up, they were quiet and some were even falling asleep. As I started the car I just hoped there wasn't another obstacle waiting up ahead to further delay our mission. Thankfully, we encountered no bears, flying saucers, or other deterrents and arrived at the shelter within 15 minutes.
Mamma cat was surrendered to me, and the shelter agreed to take the little family in after I fostered them for the next seven weeks. It was a wondrous experience watching the kittens grow, and I found the time passing much too quickly. I brought them to the shelter where they were altered and quickly adopted.
But I worried about that mamma cat. She was only a kitten when she found herself pregnant, homeless and hunting for small rodents just to survive. I watched her nurture her offspring, and saw how over time she let my other animals get nearer to them. She was an amazing little mamma!
She had been moved so many times in her short life, and was just beginning to get comfortable enough to venture into the rest of the house. I hated the thought of her being abandoned and moved yet again, just when she was getting used to my furry family..
Against my better judgement, or maybe because of it, Isis now has a forever home ... right here with us.