Last week I shared with readers of my blog the story of three adorable abandoned kittens near my house in Côte Saint-Luc. As the liaison on city council to the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee and our Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) program I get a lot of calls from people reporting stray cats and baby kittens looking for a home. I generally report these to Shelley Schecter, who runs an organization called Educhat and essentially steers the ship of our TNR Program. There is nobody better than Shelley on this.
When my friend and constituent Steven Stein called to tell me that there were three kittens being fed by residents of an apartment building on Sir Walter Scott I met him to investigate. There they were, tucked behind the bushes: two orange ones and one grey and black striped one. Aldo Fernando of our committee had built a small styrofoam house for the cats to sleep in, insulated with the down jacket of an apartment dweller. Residents there had shared in the responsibility of feeding them and apparently there was a mother cat checking in on them.
My wife and I went back that day with our daughter and out ran the three kittens, which looked no more than three months old. They were a bit skittish, but came right up close to us and gobbled up the tuna we gave them. We brought a cat carrier, hoping to catch and bring them to the local vet. They were too quick. We tried again the next day when it happened to be quite warm.
On the Monday my wife met Shelley at the location. Temperatures had dipped below zero and we were worried. They caught two of the kittens and what we thought was the mom, but one of the orange ones eluded them. Shelley brought those three to the vet. We came back many hours later. The baby was sleeping in the Styrofoam hut, but jumped out when she heard us coming. You could see her looking around, wanting to know where her two siblings went. Shelley came very close to trapping her in a net, but she was too smart.
I called the vet the next morning. The two kittens were together in one cage, but the mom was not in fact the mom at all. “I think it is the dad actually,” office manager Margaret reported. “This was a boy and we have sterilized him.”
The residents insist how this very cat was caring for the kittens, an uncommon story if he was in fact the dad.
While I was on the phone with the vet, Shelley and my wife were back on Sir Walter Scott. Maureen, the main fairy godmother who has been caring for the cats, called it over for food. Familiar with her voice it came right away. Shelley swooped in from behind and trapped it. The family was to be reunited.
My wife declared that she wants to introduce a new program: TNA –Trap, Neuter and Adopt. We placed this beautiful photo my daughter took of the kittens and many people have stepped forward, wanting to adopt them. The dad, we are told, is adoptable as well. According to the vet, they need the next week to evaluate and socialize the cats before an exact timeline for adoption can be set.
Here is a funny anecdote. The three kittens were placed in one large cage. Apparently the bars were not too narrow and they plotted a scheme to escape, squeezing through the slots. They landed in the operating room and ran around wildly in circles before some of the technicians scooped them up and placed them in a more secure cage. I can just imagine the cat talk that went on: “Okay guys, we are together again. At the count of three stretch your body into a piece of paper, jump and let’s go back to our home in the bushes.”
I am convinced these four cats will make wonderful pets. As I have repeated many times, being a cat owner is one of the most wonderful things in the world. I only wish more people knew this. If that were to be the case, a TNA Program could be much more viable.
We will be heading to the vet next week to assist in the socialization. The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee is covering the costs of their shots, the sterilization of the dad and the same process for the kittens when they are old enough. We have prevented the dad from bringing more unwanted babies into the world and we will save the lives of three kittens who would not have e survived the winter.
Sadly there are so many more cases like this. I wish we could intervene in all of them. Email me if you want to get involved: email@example.com.