Finding dead kittens on the road is unfortunately a too familiar sight. Each time though, my throat tightens.
This little man wasn’t dead though. The woman who found him said he was trying to crawl, but could not use his back legs. How many people passed and saw him without stopping?
She picked him up and brought him to her shed before ringing Breda, who rushed to him despite being expected at work. Annie and Breda found the kitten where the woman had told them he would be. He was cold, so they wrapped him in a towel and Annie held him close to her on the way to my house. Annie may only be 6 years old, but she knows the realities of life. She handed me the kitten with a serene dignity.
I held him and touched his back legs. There was no response; he didn’t seem to feel anything on the rump either. I didn’t have any hope for him and just wanted to stop his pain. His breathing started to become worse and I guessed I wouldn’t even have time to bring him to the vet on-call in Youghal to end his suffering kindly. I believe this is the most distressing, feeling helpless. His breathing slowed down and then he gave a final, very soft sigh. I was holding him in my arms, close to my heart. This is probably the only consolation, that he didn’t die alone, on the side of the road.
I wrapped him up in a white sheet and buried him in the garden, next to the fern plant. I don’t believe in heaven, don’t believe in the rainbow bridge, but I believe in giving them some dignity when they live this planet we all share.
Sleep tight little man x
“Hello? I’ve rescued a kitten…”
We usually dread these calls as they end by asking us to take in the kitten as they cannot keep it in for a reason or another (kids, work, dog, cats, and so on). Since we are not a rescue and that most rescues are full, there is usually very little we can do.
But this time, we were wrong! We were talking to a real rescuer, someone willing to take responsibility and to do what was best for the kitten. All she wanted was some advice. Well, when people are willing to make an effort, we are even more eager to help them. We explained the importance of neutering before rehoming, of doing a homecheck, of asking for an adoption donation to make the adopter responsible and so on, and offered to help with these as best as we could and to provide some supplies too.
Two days later, we were picking up the kitten to have him neutered and microchipped. To our surprise, the little kitten was in the living room, when the house dog had been confined to the yard! We brought back the kitten after recovery, with a few goodies that she could give to the adopter. He has since been adopted by a nice family, whom the rescuer is confident will look after him well.
If there were more people like this lady, Ireland would definitely be a better place for cats….
If you too have rescued a kitten, please visit our private rehoming page for tips and to advertise.
This post is dedicated to Leo, who wasn’t a Community Cat per se, but could have been one. Leo came to live with me over a year ago, after he was found in some bushes, and never left. Yes, I was a failed fosterer…. I had promised myself I would be strong, but on the day Leo was supposed to go to his new home, I just couldn’t let him go…
Leo took his place in my house, amongst the other cats. Weirdly enough, all accepted him. Leo was a quiet fellow, going about his business; he liked to go out wandering and come back home for a comfy sleep. It took him ages to figure out hos to operate the cat flap, but once he had found out, it became the door to new adventures.
Leo was killed on the road last Wednesday. This is the fate of so many cats, many of which will not even be missed.
There wasn’t much more I could have offered Leo. He got love, he got food, he got a warm bed to sleep in. Like all my other cats, Leo was free to live. I’d like to think that he died happy.
At least, I know that Leo is gone now, that he is not struggling somewhere. A kind person removed him from the road, thus preventing many cars from driving over him over, and over again.
Tonight, I am sad. I miss Leo. I know he is gone, which is better than not knowing, but the pain is there. And then, I look at all the little ones who are here until they find a new home and I know I did the right thing with Leo. I offered him a better life. I don’t know why we do it; it’s our way to contribute to some better good – or I’d like to think so…. I could have kept him indoors, but Leo was free to come and go as he pleased. There is always a risk, and unfortunately, Leo happened to be on that road at the wrong moment.
At the moment, I feel the pain, but I know it will fade away. This post is very selfish, it is a way to help me to bring some kind of closure, to help me to grieve. There are so many other cats and kittens like Leo out there, waiting for someone to notice and love them. I know many will not understand, but our cats are part of our families and we give them, and all the other cats out there, the same respect we would give a human being.
Tonight, I want to say goodbye to Leo.
So, goodbye Leo. You were very much loved, by me and by all who met you. You will always have a place in my heart, but I must keep going on, even if it hurts. Sleep tight Leo xx
Spica holds a special place as s/he is the very first kitten officially rescued by Community Cats Network. Spica came into our care as a new born kitten and her/his umbilical cord was still attached. S/he was born in a garden in Ballincollig, but the mum got a fright as the lady of the house opened the coal bunker, where she was hiding with her kittens. She moved them to another location, but seemed to have forgotten one behind. The lady waited, but as the mum didn’t come back, she took the last kitten in.
As usual, these things happen at night and during the weekend. Thankfully, we had some kitten formula in stock and drove over to Ballincollig to feed this tiny kitten. As the lady’s lifestyle wouldn’t have enabled her to keep feeding the kitten, we took her/him with us.
As we were driving back, we were trying to think of a name for this little one. We wanted a name that would evoke a new beginning, a new life, and would be suitable for both a male or a female, but nothing nice could come to mind. The Easter moon was full and Maggie was admiring Jupiter and the bright star next to it. The bright star in question is called Spica and it became the name of Community Cats’ first kitten.
We had only bottle-fed few-week old kittens, but sometimes you have no other choice but to learn and the internet now provides a great source of information. However, neither Maggie nor I would have the time to look after such a young kitten for more than a couple of days and we had to find a fosterer. Thus, the following day, we placed Spica in the care of Camilla, who had offered to help us whenever we’d need. As she had looked after a three-week old kitten before, she was already familiar with a few things and Maggie explained the rest to her, giving her some instuctions and a chart, where the feeding times and the weight could be recorded.
A kitten was born, a life was saved and a new group was born.
Spica is doing really well. S/he is putting on weight and behaving normally. I went to visit her last week as s/he turned two weeks old and had the pleasure to feed her/him. She is adorable. So far, so good and we hope that Spica will grow up into a strong and healthy kitten thanks to the good care of Camilla and Alan, who are doing a fantastic job!
And here are a couple of videos for your enjoyment!