A Paws For The Pets — Home for the holidays

By LaMoine Roth, York Adopt A  Pet

I wrote this article on November 6, 2009. The year has changed but unfortunately little has changed in the amount of cats and kittens that have found their way into York Adopt a Pet in 2023.

I can never remember a time when I didn’t have a cat. I can never remember a time when I haven’t rescued or picked up stray cats. But in the last 10 to12 years (change that number to 24 to 26 years), I have picked up, rescued and cared for hundreds and hundreds of stray cats (change that to several thousand).   once told a friend that I wished I could be normal and not instinctively watch roadside ditches as the car races along a road, not see a cat dashing into an alley or see a small cat alone in a field. You instinctively know the ones that are stray and you instinctively know that you must rescue them. Fortunately or unfortunately I now have dozens of people who now have a place to bring the stray cats that they find in alleys, ditches and fields. Not everyone is able or willing to take on the responsibility of so many cats. I am not sure that I am either, but rescue work takes on a life of its own.

Several weeks ago I received a call: a lady who had found some kittens in her alley. Could I take them she asked?

I said, “I am sorry but we are at capacity.”

I should have stopped right there but I couldn’t resist asking how many kittens there were. I know my voice rose an octave higher when I said, “How many?”

She repeated, “There are 10 of them!”

I asked, “From the same litter?”

She replied, “Yes I think so, they are all the same color and they are all exactly the same size. No mother has been spotted in a day and a half much less two mothers.”

Still I hesitated. But her next sentence folded my resolve.

She said “I don’t know what to do, I feel so sorry for them, and they are all huddled together in a little ball in my alley.”

She had me on the single word “huddled.”

Immediately I could picture these 10 baby orphans huddled in a tight ball trying to keep warm. It was drizzling rain and was supposed to get colder in the next couple of days.

Within a few minutes she was pulled into my driveway, and sure enough there were 10 baby kittens, probably not more than six weeks old huddled together in a card board box. All near the same color, all the same size and all with serious upper respiratory infection and infected conjunctives eyes. My heart sank, they were in serious trouble.

The lady left a sizable donation to care for the kittens and after seeing her off, I gathered all 10 kittens, settled them in a kennel with an oversized heating pad. Now is when reality always sets in. I know that most likely these little tiny babies will not survive. They are too small, too ill, and without their mother, it will be a miracle if I can maintain their failing immune systems. I have people who have been critical of my efforts with the smallest of the small ill kittens, and the oldest and frailest of the senior cats. It only seems natural to me that these are the strays that need the most care, compassion and even though the outcome for these cats and kittens are not always successful, I know they are in an environment that is warm, that food and formula are available and most important they are not alone, they are not huddled together in a cold wet alley.

Sadly to say as of today, nine of these little babies have died. One continues to struggle to overcome odds that hopefully I can help him overcome. It is not easy, over the years I have held too many little kittens as they struggle to survive over odds that are too large for them to overcome. But the alternative to rescuing these littlest of little kittens is to turn a blind eye to their suffering and fate. I cannot always change the outcome, but I can change the comfort level that these little babies receive. I know they are warm, they have food in their tummies, medicine to relieve their pain and most important they are not alone. It is hard for some people to understand that even with the loss of these little guys, the fact that I could make a difference in their short lives makes it all worthwhile.

We have all ages at YAAP and foster homes from the very young to the very senior.  Babes, aged 15, came to us because her family mom was put on hospice and could no longer care for her. Babes’s world was turned upside down as she has been a loved and pampered cat, only to find she not only lost her human companion but she no longer has a sofa for her afternoon naps.  Little Mary Ann was seen with her mother carrying her out of a corn field west of York.  Thankfully a kind lady saw that she arrived with her mother and three siblings safely to YAAP.  Please consider opening your heart and your home to one of the many cats and kittens available for adoption.  Visit our website www.yorkadoptapet.com to see all of the cats and kittens available for adoption.

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