Sarah saves kittens found in a stable ...
24 October 2019
Often, almost daily, the Cats Protection helpline operators take calls about a ‘stray in the garden that looks pregnant’ then, a few days later, another call to say ‘the cat has now had kittens – what can we do?’
Well, this happened to Sarah James of Perry Barr and, fortunately, she was ‘very experienced with animals’ – and no wonder, she used to be a zoo-keeper! Sarah and her Mum Marjorie, who both work at a local secondary school, explain what happened when they came across a feral and three kittens – and how they ensured a happy ending for them all.
Says Sarah: “The kittens were born at the end of August under a pile of wood at a stable to a feral mom cat. We heard one of the kittens (now named Foster) crying in a haybarn and I decided to ‘foster’ him myself. Then I used my own cat trap to trap Mom and caught the other two kittens - Bibs and Chilli. I brought the two girls home to their brother and Mom, and next day we took Mom to Lydons vets to be spayed –with the cost kindly covered by the Cats Protection feral neutering scheme. We released her back at the stables later that evening. It’s so good to know she’s free from a life of endless pregnancies now.
“With the kittens home and doing great I was thrilled but knew we couldn’t keep them – we’ve quite a few pets of our own.
“Well, the kittens grew quickly and were incredibly beautiful (aren’t they all?!), so once they were old enough for homing, around 9 weeks, we asked for CPs help in promoting them on the Directs Page of their website as ‘free to a good home’. We provided endearing photographs and a little biog on each kitten – Chilli, Foster and Bibs.
“But before they even made the page, my posts and photos on my facebook page resulted in several potential adopters asking to see them! And the two homes I finally chose – well, I couldn’t have asked for better.”
Cats protection welfare team leader, Shaki, confirms that ‘Sarah and her Mum did a fantastic job’.“We can often help with trapping – what we call TNR – trap, neuter and return - but can’t always take kittens in when we are already full – we do need more fosterers. But Sarah was great – she decided she could take on the foster role herself, knowing she could call on us for advice. And what she and her Mum achieved in raising the kittens and finding homes for them has to be commended.
"It's so good when the public 'partner up' with us to help the cats and spread the neutering message. And the West Midlands ‘£5 to neuter your cat’ scheme is still running for people on low incomes or certain benefits.”
Adds Sarah: “We couldn’t bear the thought of the kittens growing up to be ferals – hissing, desperately seeking food and shelter, and most likely having very short lives because of fighting, disease, and – if they went off before being neutered and having more litters - becoming a bigger problem. Another headache for the animal charities and for the neighbourhood.”
But just before they were due to go off to their new homes, there was a setback. Once again one of the Branch volunteers had a call from Marjorie, Sarah’s Mum. She was worried about one of the kittens who had started to pass less-than-healthy-looking poos. But again a chat with welfare team leader Shaki, and the good advice given, led to that kitten’s speedy recovery.
Now Sarah has sent Cats Protection a lovely photo of herself and the three kittens. And she writes: “I took some photos of the kittens today and thought you'd like to see how much they've grown. We've had a lot of fun raising them and glad we could give them the chance of a loving home rather than being feral. I will miss them so much. It was good that, with your advice around making posters, asking friends and family, posting on FB, we found homes for them all so quickly - it's amazing what cute photos can do! I'm very pleased as the homes are all people I know and I am confident they will be well loved. Thanks again CP, for all you do. Sarah x”