Last winter, a Good Samaritan contacted the Branford Compassion Club regarding a starving, cold female cat that she had found. Due to being staffed by volunteers, it sometimes takes Branford Compassion Club and other similar rescue groups a few days to respond to voice messages.
Subsequently, by the time they were able to call the woman back, everyone was dismayed to hear that the cat had been placed in a municipal shelter. The woman also told them that she thought the cat was pregnant!
Knowing that this shelter was a kill shelter and not a safe environment for her, they agreed to pick her up in two days, not knowing they were about to be hit by a massive blizzard! The shelter was closed to the public for a week and a half as a result.
When Mary, the President of the Branford Compassion Club, finally arrived, she found the cat in the quarantine area located next to the dog kennels, where the sound of barking was deafening. She was in a cold, stainless steel cage, with no bedding. Food and water bowls were tipped over and she was huddled on top of her small cardboard litter “tray.”
The attendant warned Mary, “She’s a mean one, watch out.” The cat faced them and hissed, as if reinforcing the attendant’s warning. She was one stressed out cat! Her rescuer had reported that she was tame, so Mary whispered, “Hey sweetheart. I’m taking you out of here right now,” and cautiously coaxed her into a fleece-lined carrier.
They then went straight to the vet’s office. Mary named her Natalie after the woman who rescued her. Natalie turned out to be very pregnant but extremely malnourished, dehydrated and nervous. After getting some IV fluids, Natalie went home with Mary for some needed R&R.
She won Mary over in the following two weeks, purring appreciatively and accepting head rubs. However, she did not like to be picked up! Thankfully, she gained weight and her fur became thick and glossy.
One morning, Natalie competently delivered five beautiful kittens. Mary named them after characters in the TV series, “Monk:” Adrian, Ambrose, Sharona, LeLand and Randy. What a proud mom! Yet she remained nervous about sharing her brood and would sometimes swat at Mary if she thought Mary was being a bit too attentive. Mary worried this may harm her chances for adoption. Plus, she had a vacation coming up and would need to move Natalie and the kittens to a new foster home soon.
Call it fate or karma, one of their vet techs had a friend named Sharon who was interested in adopting a kitten and agreed to foster Natalie and her litter. She reasoned that she would keep the kitten that she liked best.
Sharon and her husband were wonderful foster parents. They doted on them and accepted Natalie’s somewhat edgy behavior. All flourished under their care. Almost from the beginning, they decided they were going to keep the small tiger kitten, Sharona.
Then, miracle of miracles, Sharon decided that Mama Natalie had experienced enough trauma in her life and that they would keep her too! Then they decided to adopt two more! This was a first for Branford Compassion Club: one mama cat and three babies adopted into one great home!
To complete the happy ending, Sharon found a home for the two remaining kittens! Instead of Natalie’s life ending in a kill shelter, she and her kittens now all have loving, forever homes and they never need to worry again.
Branford Compassion Club (BCC) is a non-profit feline rescue organization that serves Branford, Connecticut and the surrounding shoreline towns. Their mission is to provide for the feeding, shelter and care of homeless, abandoned and feral cats; to educate the public about the importance of spay/neuter population control, responsible pet ownership and kindness to animals; and to establish an ongoing community network to achieve these goals.