If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that we volunteer with a local animal rescue group. It all started in 2011. Our beloved Bernese Mountain Dog died, and we couldn’t find a new dog to add to our family that felt right. A friend, who was a volunteer, suggested that we foster a dog in the meantime, so we could help save a life and fill a small piece of the void we were feeling at the time.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Now nearly five years later, we have fostered 36 dogs and 11 cats. Most were with us very briefly, as they were already on their way to their new homes. Some we ended up adopting ourselves because we fell in love along the way.
And such is the case with Jackie.
A few months ago, our rescue group got a plea to save a pregnant cat. Juneau was in a high kill shelter, and if she didn’t get pulled by a rescue group, she was going to be put down. And really, that was all I needed to hear.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what to do with a pregnant cat. Or that we weren’t actively looking for another animal to foster. I just couldn’t bear the thought of her being put down.
Two days later, she gave birth to six healthy kittens. Four girls and two boys.
They were so ridiculously tiny and cute.
For the first two weeks, Mama Juneau really did all the work. The kittens’ eyes were barely open, they walked like drunk toddlers, and all they did was drink milk from their Mama, and sleep.
I had it easy.
And then all hell broke loose.
As they started to become mobile, taking care of them was kind of like chasing after marbles.
Still a rewarding experience for sure, because we absolutely saved seven lives, but definitely work.
Through it all, Nick and Maddie helped me take care of the cat family … changing countless litter boxes, doing multiple daily feedings, and most importantly, giving them LOTS of love. By the time the kittens were ready to move on to their homes, they knew what love and affection was, and they were ready. And since this was Mama Juneau’s second litter in her young two year life, she was ready to move on too.
My goal was to have all the cats spoken for by the time they could leave their mom at eight weeks, and I did.
There was only one small problem.
She always looked for her when she came home, and oddly enough, the kitten (who she named Jackie) was always looking for Madeline.
We kept them in our playroom/office space, and there is a glass door that kept them separated from the rest of our home and our other pets.
As soon as Madeline got up in the morning and came downstairs, Jackie would be waiting by the glass door, looking for her.
It was really special to watch; somehow they had developed a unique connection and bond with each other.
Every time a potential adopter came to our home, Madeline would ask me quietly if we could keep Jackie.
It was interesting that out of the Mama and six kittens, she only got exceptionally attached to one of them.
And really, thank goodness for that.
And so, Jackie is now officially an O’Malley.
It really has been so sweet to watch them together, and Madeline is completely responsible for taking care of Jackie, and our other cats. Luckily my mom adopted three of the other kittens, so Jackie is able to see two of her sisters and a brother occasionally. When we reunited them last week, she was hissing at them, like she didn’t even remember who they were. But over the weekend, she was able to spend four straight days with them, and they were back to their old glued-together selves. I just saw an updated photo from one of the other kittens, Chico, and it’s crazy how big they’re all getting already! They were born on March 22, so they’re only 3-1/2 months old.
Through our work with the animal rescue group, we have forged many solid friendships, and added extra love to our home. Our last adoption was of Herschel Walker, an English bulldog that we fell in love with before he even arrived. This weekend he is (hopefully) going to pass his test to become certified as a Pet Therapy dog, but that’s a story for another day.
Every year, approximately 3.4 million United States cats are taken in by animal shelters and only half of those cats are adopted. Older cats, black cats, and cats with unique challenges are harder to adopt. This year, the folks at Purina Cat Chow are focused on delivering great nutrition to cats in the care of animal welfare organizations to help them become healthy and ready for their forever homes with its “Nutrition to Build Better Lives.”
This month, for every bag of Purina Cat Chow that you buy your cat, a meal will be donated to a cat in need. To help Purina Cat Chow reach their goal of donating five million meals to shelter cats across the country, your simple purchase can help feed a cat in need of a home. Since 2013, Purina Cat Chow has supported animal shelters across the country and has donated more than $845,000 in food, supplies and renovations to advance the rescue, nutrition and adoption of cats in shelters.
If you and your family want to get involved with animal rescue, visit your local shelter or non-profit rescue group. There are many different ways you can help … fostering, transporting, fundraising, helping during special events, taking a shelter dog out for a walk, or even visiting the cats at the shelter to give them love and affection. Little gestures reap huge rewards. If you don’t have cats already at home, head to your local grocery store or pet shop, buy a few bags of Purina Cat Chow to help this wonderful effort, and bring it to your local shelter. You’ll make new friends, both human and feline, in no time. Help a cat, help a cause. This one’s a no-brainer.
A few blogging friends are also helping to spread the word on this Purina program; you can check out their posts below. Adopting Rusty from Ellis and Page
Our Cat Adoption Story from Smockity Frocks
Why I Love My Cat from Chaotically Creative
Cat Lady Must Haves from Polka Dotted BlueJay
Cat Condo: Made From a Wood Pallet from Hoosier Homemade
A few more shots of adorableness before I sign off…