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Not On My Watch/Foster Cat Journal: There's No Place Like Home

Six weeks ago, I was moved by a plea to help save a Mama cat who was notorious for "hugging" her kittens. She was called, Huggy and she and her two offspring were slated to be euthanized in a few days if no one stepped forward to help her.

At first, I thought we had an interested family in Indiana, so I started to put together a plan to help transport the cats to them, but it fell through. The person in Indiana never stepped up or even let us know she had changed her mind. Already involved, I felt it would be wrong to throw my hands up, say I did my bit and walk away. I just couldn't.

Many of you know what happened next: with what seemed like endless emails, questions, fears and hope, between myself, Winging Cat Rescue, Kat5 and a handful of helpers, we were able to rescue this mama and her babies, along with quite a few others.

I never did this before. I never pulled a cat from a kill shelter close by, let alone from 1000 miles away. I know many people frown on doing this, especially if the cat isn't even purebred and there are so many that need help right here in Connecticut. She's just an average domestic short haired cat, but a life is a life and I was in too far to turn back. Huggy's life was no less precious or less worth saving than any other cat.

I was told Huggy was friendly, but really, how could I know? I had no idea how old this cat was and without a shelter, how was I ever going to find her a home once she got here? Who adopts adult cats? I feared I would have her until, at least, the end of the year or longer. Something inside me said, yes, I need to do this, no matter what it takes. I need to make it right for these animals.

When Huggy arrived, there were plenty of problems. First, she had evidence of having had fleas. She had bad ear mites. Her chin was full of feline acne from eating out of a plastic bowl. She was thin. Her coat was rough and yellowed. Her kittens were odd looking and not that friendly. She was in much worse condition than I expected.

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Huggy, day one.

Huggy also became seriously ill with mastitis, then had to be separated from her boys for two weeks, given meds twice a day and lots of rest. It was very difficult, but she never complained. She was easy to pill, she ate her food right up. She loved to lay on my lap, then attack my leg, letting me know she was still young and wanted play time, too. Only 1 1/2 years old, Huggy has a lot of energy and more and more as each day passed and she got stronger and gained her weight back.

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Feeling Huggy's boobs.

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Huggy showing Snuggles the ropes (pardon the pun)

Two weeks ago, Huggy was adopted, but it wasn't until today, that I finally got the OK from the Vet to let her go to her family. It's about as close to a magical experience as I think I'll ever get; seeing so many changes in this once tired, mama cat. Her coat is soft and clean, her chin is almost completely healed, her ear mites and fleas are long gone and her mastitis has resolved. She gained 1.50 POUNDS since she got here. She's at ten pounds now.

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This photo ran in The Newtown Bee, which was how Huggy's new family first found her.

Since she arrived, there hasn't been a day when being around Huggy wasn't a joy. She truly is a sweet, mellow, feisty, cute, loving, chatty lady. Her new family couldn't wait to come get her once I told them she was ready to go. She'll be living with a Mom and Dad, their son and daughter. She'll have a wonderful home and all the good food and love she'll ever need. Although part of me wants to cry at seeing her go, I am SO VERY HAPPY that we made it this far, so quickly, seemingly as though it was all meant to be, that I can only smile. I am so grateful for everyone's support, so lucky a great family came forward- understanding that adult cats have a hard time finding a home and so willing to give her AND her two boys a chance.

This is the most rewarding work I have ever done. Each and every home I find for each and every cat fills my heart to bursting. When people ask me how I do this? I can only answer, how can I not? It's worth all the effort by tenfold.

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Sleep deprived, just back from the Feline Forum, no makeup, but a GREAT a kitty in my arms; here's me giving out the hugs. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

Huggy. You beat so many odds that I don't think there ARE odds for how lucky you are. From death's door to the lap of luxury. It doesn't get any better than this.

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It's time to say Good Bye, friend. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

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Hugging Dash good bye. She'll be seeing him and Snuggles again in a few days. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

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Huggy, with some members of her new family (used with permission).

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You are so inspiring! Good Work, you ROCK!!!

This kitty had the odds stacked against her before she was born, and look at how her life has changed. Because of your work, and building an online coalition ready to help you, she and her boys have good lives ahead of them. A life IS a life, and who's to say that you and Huggy weren't destined to cross paths? Those who haven't done rescue or worked for animal welfare can't truly understand what it's like - we put our own mental and physical health on the line to stick up for these creatures that can't tell us when they're scared or sick, or relay the stories of their lives through anything other than their behavior. If I had to, I'd guess that Huggy's story helped people who haven't had much (or any) experience with rescue understand, and maybe sparked a passion for helping in them. It truly is wonderful.

I'm so happy to see this!

Huggy and the boys are going to have a wonderful life thanks to you :)

I've been following this story since first seeing the plea to help Huggy and her babies. This posting is beyond awesome news and it brought tears to my eyes.

Robin you and the online community have done a wonderful thing. The picture of Huggy with part of her new family brings me such joy. People can say what they want about who to help but knowing you have helped this momma and her babies means to world to them. If they could talk to you they would tell you that :)

Congratulations to you, Huggy and her kittens, and the forever family they will live with.

There are so many precious cats out there that could shine if given a chance. To experience the polishing of a ragged family on death row to a loving family of companions is a wondrous experience, yet it should happen lots more often.

These three cats have many happy years to look forward to, thanks to love, effort, and dedication.

it has GOT to be PMS. I am watery eyed at this post. ESPECIALLY since bloglines put the post of the ASSHAT from Philly story first.


Off to go give my brood some lovin'.

Good work! (And you look gorgeous w/o your makeup.)
As far as picking who you rescue... here's the thing. You can't save them each and everyone.. so you just start where you can, you do what you can do. And it's everything to the cat who's life you touch. One of my Muslima friends told me that in Islam they say when you save one life, you save the whole universe.

This is so wonderful to see Huggy + kittens doing well! From seeing the "last chance" photo on the GA Shelter website to this...what a transformation. A wonderful happy ending. Thanks for helping them, Robin!

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