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The Day I Saved 32 Kittens

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The Day I Saved 32 Kittens

Fostering a homeless mama cat and her kittens has become an annual spring ritual for our family.

Really, it is a life-enriching situation for everyone.  My daughters (okay, and me too) get their fill of tiny paws and claws, we provide the overflowing shelters some extra room, we save the lives of beautiful, healthy animals, our commitment is typically only 6 to 9 weeks — and someone else gets a fabulous companion down the line.

This past spring was like the ones previously. I sent an email announcing our availability as a foster family. However, the matter-of-fact reply I received back hit me in the gut like a punch from a 300-pound linebacker:

“Thank you for fostering a cat family. Attached are photos of 32 kittens and their mothers. Please let me know which family you prefer and I will pull them from the shelter. They are all slated to be euthanized on Monday.”

WHAT?!!  I looked at the pictures with tears spilling, my throat tightening, my heart aching.

How could I choose just one family knowing the rest would be euthanized within three days? I looked at the pictures again. One litter had three fuzzy white kittens with hints of caramel tabby stripes; another had four kittens, all grey and white except one sibling which was a solid Halloween black; another litter had two kittens, one an orange tabby, the other a calico.  They all looked through the bars of their cages imploringly or with the natural curiosity of kittens.  Little did they know how their fate dangled in such precarious balance. That is when I declared to myself emphatically, “they will all live.”

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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6:28AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

Everybody can do the same

7:41AM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

Thank you!

3:19PM PST on Jan 6, 2013

You are so fortunate to have a group like CAWS. I routinely rescue pregnant mommas and their babies, but get no help from local shelters. I have to foot the bill for all care and vet bills, as well as try to find final adoption homes. All the local groups say only too full, can't help. If you found them, they are your problem.
Last season I had 3 batches of recuees. On pregnant momma who had her litter the night I brought her in, on Momma so young and tiny she couldn't cary her babies, and was pushing he infant babies across the street towards my house when we found her. The saddest was a family of older cats, all fixed and shots and declawed, who belonged to a woman who worked for a vet. But one day she didn't some home. When her house was forclosed her family wanted nothing to do with any of her possesions. The management delivered her cats to me saying if I did't take them, they would be put down. I tried to find foster or homes thinking that all the expensive stuff is done, it should be easy as they are already adults and so sweet. But no one wants older cats. I cannot mix them with the rest as they have no claws--so they have my library, litter one had the cat room, and litter two had the master bath. My other cats were very upset. I have since managed to find homes for several of the babies and one momma, but still have the adults, 3 babies (now 6 and 7 months old, fixed with shots) and one momma --plus my own cats and all the adult strays outdoors (that I have duti

5:50AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

Happy dance for all kitties! You love your cat have him or her fixed!

5:38PM PST on Jan 5, 2013

this made me cry! thank you so much for saving them!!!

10:22AM PST on Nov 26, 2012

wonderful and keep up the good work! from a fellow kitten fosterer

2:34PM PST on Nov 21, 2012

Made me tearful but in a good way.We can all be inspired by this loving family.

7:33PM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

You make fostering kittens &. Mama sound wonderful. I always worry about foster fail, and I'm not sure how my family cats would react.

3:24AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

Lovely story thank you for what you did. However here in UK this would not happen, sanctuaries do not euthanise animals just because nobody wants them. Why do they do that? It's beyond my understanding. The sanctuaries ask for donations, they do sales, have shops with second hand things to make money, etc. etc.

3:25PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Several years ago I took in a pregnant stray cat. Her kittens were a lot of fun, but eventually they had to find their forever homes. A friend took in one, and the others went to my local PetSmart on their adopt-a-cat days so I know that they went with responsible people who had them "fixed." Mama Kitty had the Big Snip, too, and she has been a wonderful pet ever since!

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Thanks for sharing this important information.

Too much of anything can be bad for you/your pets, or even be deadly :(

Oh, for pity's sake. How about using it to line your shoes to keep your feet from getting dry? Y…

What a sweet adorable little kitten. Thanks for sharing.


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