When it comes to the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”, that is certainly the case for 8 tiny newborn kittens in Chicago, Illinois!
The 5-day old litter was found under a porch on August 27th and brought into CACC, City of Chicago Animal Care and Control. Unfortunately this was not to their benefit. Sadly, since they cannot receive the round-the-clock care they require, bottle-babies are often euthanized in high kill shelters.
One group in Chicago does everything they can to pull cats and kittens out of this situation to give them a chance at life. Founded in 2014, the Northern Illinois Transport Team, or NITT, is a group of volunteers that drop everything at a moments notice to pick up and drive at-risk animals to fosters and adopters.
Animals are usually only given a short time at the kill-shelters to be picked up or receive a commitment to be rescued; sometimes only hours!
Being exposed to the large number of other distressed animals in the shelter can also be very dangerous when viruses are present. For example, the CACC is currently battling an outbreak of Panluekopenia which can be deadly if not aggressively treated.
These lucky neonates were able to survive the kill shelter, but their journey was far from over.
Now came the task of caring for the large litter day and night. Without their mother or even a willing surrogate mother to feed and care for the babes, they needed a caring human to step up.
Jenny Tiner, owner of the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe, was happy to accept the challenge.
When she began the journey to open the cat cafe, she had every intention of adding a kitten nursery one day. She loves helping the older cats but having the chance and opportunity to save the most vulnerable newborn population and high-rick felines was her priority.
“With every litter I foster the passion to help gets reignited, the hope that more families will find their cat companion grows stronger and I get to fall in love over and over and over again. It’s pretty awesome. Seeing them go home is a hard day but the MOST exciting day. It’s just full of smiles.”
However, this would be her first time caring for bottle babies while running the cat cafe full time!
As her contact Jenny Schleuter at the CACC was waiting for the NITT team to pick up the kittens, Tiner posted on her social media sites looking for volunteers to help feed, which would be every 3 hours!
Knowing they would need a team to give the neonates what they required, she was overwhelmed by the response she received when the call for help was sent out.
She arranged for Schleuter to hold an emergency bottle baby workshop the next day so the less experienced volunteers would have the skills to help the kittens survive.
The babies arrived that first night around 7:30pm. A few amazing women Jenny had NEVER EVEN MET joined her at the cat cafe to help feed that night. Having experience, the now official “night crew” pulled out the cafes couch, turned on Netflix and set their alarms.
One bottle baby can be difficult but with 8, you certainly need a dedicated team!
This one took a village. They would have been euthanized had we not promised café by 5p yesterday. Are we overwhelmed, yep? Am I happy they are alive? Eternally happy. ❤️
HOW CAN YOU HELP? I’ve had lots of questions about that. Come to The Windy Kitty tonight and Jenny Schlueter is giving an emergency bottle baby workshop, I’ll provide refreshments and do volunteer sign up. Can’t do that? Go to the link and give what you can, if you can, to the kitten nursery! Can’t do that!? Share the link! Can’t do that? Send love and support for ALL the adult cats and kittens here, at CACC or on the streets. We love you Chicago!
Jen arrived the next morning for the day shift. The bottle feeding workshop was set for that night at 7pm and to her delight, even more willing volunteers showed up.
The class was a great success and with every name added to the sign up sheet, the kittens gain one more foster family member.
Spay and Neuter & Adopt Don’t Shop!