A Story of Feral Felines
I want to give a shout out to some wonderful residents of our neighbourhood.
It started last year with a young lady living in a Chinatown rooming house. She had no money for herself, but she had been feeding a pregnant cat. She asked me for help. I took the cat to Animal Care & Control. It was decided that she would be aborted, but Mother Nature had a different plan as she often does. The morning they were going to take her to surgery, she went into labour and gave birth to eight kittens. They were eventually adopted out to loving homes.
This year I got a call from the same young lady. Her old roommate Dave had been feeding a pregnant cat and she was getting bigger by the day. This feral cat had been born in this alley, probably the offspring of the first mom. The cat trusted Dave and we were able to put her in a carrier and take her to Eva, a lovely young person who would be fostering. That cat ate like there was no tomorrow. We were given two boxes of wet cat food from Lillian at Berkeley’s Place (a non-profit animal support network), so at least we didn’t have to buy any.
A couple of days later the cat, now named Millie, gave birth to three tiny kittens. One of them has deformed front paws but appears to be navigating well. Then her labour stopped, but we thought she had more kittens inside of her. This interrupted labour is not unusual and it can last 24-36 hours. She made many unproductive trips to the litter box and she was licking herself a lot. Her abdomen was hard. With great advice from Virginia from Little Cats Lost, we made the decision that she needed to go to a veterinarian. If she needed a c-section we might be faced with a bill in the thousands. I reached out to Pets in Need Alberta where a very kind woman offered to pay the vet bill and see later how we could sort it out later. I just about cried from relief when the x-ray revealed that she was constipated, which explained her behaviour. She could go home and nurse her kittens.
Just a few minutes later I was contacted by Vanessa Freeman, a volunteer for Zoe’s Animal Rescue. They were asked to help because someone had found a four-day-old kitten and though they had been watching for the mother for 16 hours, it was to no avail. This kind couple fed the kitten formula, but he was getting weaker and was likely to perish. I swooped him out of their arms and went straight to Eva’s. We rubbed the kitten with a towel that had been in the mother’s basket and placed him on the floor. Millie darted out of her box, took one breath over the kitten, and carried him off to her nest. It took a village to save those kittens. My heart swells with pride and love for those who made this happy ending possible.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.