By Bud Burdick of New York
This is the story of how I rescued nine cats and placed them with loving families. They came into my life in such a way that would scare many people away, but I knew that these animals needed my help.
At the time I was a contractor who cleaned houses for a property manager. The house I was called to was a recently vacated apartment in a not-so-lovely neighborhood. I was sent there to decide if I wanted to take on the task of emptying the apartment of its squalor. My employer notified me beforehand that this was a job that I “probably won’t want to do.”
I arrived on a May night, and upon opening the door, I was welcomed by a putrid odor, millions of cockroaches, a foot of garbage covering every inch of the floor and a friendly cat with distended nipples. I knew this meant she had kittens, so I began my search.
Kittens on An Old Pizza Box
I walked through the kitchen into the living room and saw the tiniest of black kittens on top of an old pizza box that lay amongst the rubbish. In the adjacent bedroom I heard a noise, and upon investigating, found two larger kittens hiding underneath the children’s bunk bed. Yes, there were kids living in this filth as well.
At the sight of the cat and kitten, I realized my best bet would be to attain some help, so I called my brother. I picked up Frank and his girlfriend, Lauren, from our mother’s house, which happens to be five minutes up the road in a nicer section of the neighborhood. We picked up three cat carriers from my house, since we didn’t know what we would find, and made our way back to that wretched house of doom.
All three of us entered the house, but only my brother and I made our way into the various other rooms.
We picked up the tiny kitten from the pizza box and placed him in a carrier, along with the mother cat, who turned out to be different than the mother cat I saw earlier. Next, we made our way into the bedroom to capture the two additional kittens I had seen. Here we ran into a problem. The two kittens we now saw running around the room were not the same kittens I saw previously. This meant that there were more kittens to be found.
Under the Sofa, There Were More
We found four kittens total in this room, and managed to catch three of them. They were not people friendly, as they had probably never been touched by humans before and did all they could to escape our grasp. The fourth made her way into the living room, immediately disappearing under the sofa. This meant we had to search through the trash-filled, roach plagued living room to find where this kitten ran off to. That was okay, though, since we were destined to do so anyway, since we had to do a complete search.
We Tore the Place Apart
We tore apart the bedroom, searching the closet, the bunk bed, the trash, and the tote in the corner filled with brackish water, a few toys and some other things. We then began examining the contents of the living room. I began with the sofa, as my brother searched through the rest of the garbage and furniture. The felt that covers the bottom of the sofa was no longer intact, and to no real surprise, offered another destination for garbage. I moved this garbage around a bit, and happened to find two kittens. One was the kitten that escaped our grasp, and the other was from the younger litter of the first kitten I found.
I handed these kittens to Frank to be placed in a carrier and continued my search of the garbage underneath the sofa. As I pulled garbage away from the still-intact portion of the felt covering under the couch, I managed to find two more tiny kittens. This would prove to be the entire lot that we would find that night, but we didn’t know it at the time, so we continued our inspection. We stepped lightly through the garbage-filled room, listening for meows and noises other than the sound of crawling cockroaches.
The living room and the kitchen gave us no more kittens as we continued our search. Through the kitchen, opposite the living room, was an entryway into the second bedroom, which once housed a dog who used the room as a toilet. We could see everything in the bathroom, so we did not step foot into it, but we did tear apart the room once occupied by a dog. No dogs, no cats. Good. Our search was complete for the night.
We left with 8 kittens and one cat. We shook off everything we had on to make sure no roach friends came along for the ride, and I dropped my brother and his girlfriend off on my way home. The cat and kittens were introduced to their new home on my porch to the surprise of my roommate.
I Returned One Last Time
The following evening I returned to the accursed house. The air was ripe with the noise of millions of roaches crawling over the furniture, garbage and walls. I called out and a moment later the second mother cat appeared, the same one who welcomed me upon my first visit. I searched a little more, and after that, I was satisfied that there were no more cats, so I brought the last feline to my house to be reunited with her litter.
The black kitten, who proved to be the herald and savior of the other kittens, soon had to be put to sleep for health issues. With the help of a few of friends, Pet Adoption Network, and my caring landlady and roommates, I was able to place the nine surviving cats and kittens in loving homes. These kittens have grown to full size now, having become incredibly friendly and sociable in their new environments. See photos of the rescued cats
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