I'm going to share a story. It has a happy ending, but I'm teary-eyed writing it.
It's been less than a year since a pregnant stray cat showed up on our doorstep. A week later, she delivered six kittens, then nearly died of a deadly infection. Chance's own story has a happy, healthy ending--we adopted her, and with a little (a lot) of help from our friends, her six kittens were all adopted into good homes as well.
The experience opened my eyes to the plight of unwanted animals, and how little sacrifice it takes to make a tremendous difference. I told Mark that all I wanted for my 50th birthday in October was the chance to foster another endangered kitty. He's horribly allergic to cats, but had welcomed Chance with open arms (and many subsequent doctor visits and medications)--and he agreed to my request. My hero.
It was baptism by fire--our first foster, Chilly, an orange kitten found nearly frozen on a sidewalk, was too ill when she got here--likely poisoned, said the emergency vet, by someone who didn't want a stray cat around and put out food laced with antifreeze--and I held her when she was put down.
A few days later, I spotted a photo of another orange kitten with sad, frightened eyes and her own tiny baby tabby kitten. Their owner described them as sweet and gentle--while dumping them both in the Manhattan kill shelter because of "too many pets."
I was away on business in California and had to get a rescue organization involved to pull them out before they were euthanized. By that time, they were both ill with the deadly Calici virus and had to be hospitalized for several weeks, barely clinging to life. They pulled through, but when I picked them up on December 1st, they were emaciated, terrified, and still on medication and very sick.
They came here to heal with me, Mark, the boys, and Chance. We immediately shed their stupid kill shelter names and renamed them after characters in the movie Grease--Frenchy for the teen mama, with her pinkish-orange head, and Cha Cha for the baby, who despite her illness was so excited to be out of her cage and reunited with her mom that she danced all over the hospital waiting room when I met her.
Frenchy and Cha Cha had to be quarantined in our bathroom for weeks, and we had to wear gloves to handle them. Eventually, they grew stronger and joined the household, and even Chance (grudgingly) accepted them and befriended Cha Cha (but still has daily hissy cat fights with Frenchy). I've shared their stories with my readers, and I'm so grateful to all of you for following this adventure, and to the many who have contributed money or cat food, or donated to the rescue organization. My brother-in-law Scooter even handed over his entire winnings from the family football pool toward their care. Devoted teenaged friends have come to care for them while we've been away. It truly does take a village, and we appreciate everyone who helped. We wrestled with the decision to adopt them out as planned, and decided we would let them go if someone would take mother and daughter together. After all they'd been through, we couldn't bear to separate them.
An old hometown pal of mine, Dave, responded when I asked, on Christmas Eve, if anyone wanted to adopt them together. He had to apply through the rescue, and yesterday, the paperwork was finalized. He's driving here from Binghamton tomorrow to pick up his girls and transport them to their new home. The photos above and below show them in the listing I first spotted on the NYC Urgent Cats page, and on their first day here, and yesterday--content and healthy. No more ribs showing through their fur. No more sad eyes--or swollen, glassy with illness eyes, or frightened eyes. Just look at them now!
We're incredibly sad to see them go, but gratified knowing that we saved their lives. The gift was intended for them, but it was returned to us a thousand times over.