Off the Southern Coast of England lies the Isle of Wight; a stunningly gorgeous island only about 150 square miles in size. A popular tourist destination, the Isle offers a range of options–from cycling and water sports to huge music festivals and ghost tours. The island is actually said to be the most haunted in the world, sometimes referred to as “Ghost Island”!
But it was something lurking in a dark cellar of one of the homes that gave many people “pause”.
The picturesque landscape had captured the hearts of Kevin and Claire Eastwood in October of 2016. The couple moved to the islands with their brood – 10 cats that is! Sadly, they lost 2 of their beloved furbabies by April 2018.
When they decided that they needed to welcome more felines into their capable home, they visited the local Cats Protection branch.
“Cats Protection, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, helps around 200,000 cats and kittens every year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.” – www.cats.org.uk
Meeting the Eastwoods, the shelter workers knew they would be a purrfect fit for another opportunity though–fostering! Easily convinced, the family has since then had a steady stream of kittens in their home. They are happily fully integrated into the cat welfare organizations of their new community.
One of the amazing trappers and cat advocates on the island is a man by the name of Andy Marshall.
Admin on the Facebook “Isle of Cats” page, his efforts for helping the stray and feral felines are nothing short of inspiring. It was Andy that helped change the Eastwood’s life permanently late last year.
There was a stray female tortie cat that Andy had been attempting to trap in a local area–unsuccessfully. The clever girl repeatedly eluded his traps for months.
Sadly during the months of her sporadic appearances, she became pregnant, adding to the problem. Now the kittens were old enough that they didn’t need to nurse and beginning to wander.
“Just found the mother and three kittens under a shed in another street! This is going to be a challenge,” Andy admitted.
When trap camera caught her simply sniffing a trap and avoiding capture, Andy’s resolve to capture her was reignited. He refused to let her get away. He knew he had to focus on the kittens now as well before they became too old to be socialized.
That’s when they received a call from homeowners right near the cats favorite garden setting in Seaview.
They had heard a kitten’s meowing coming from a dark corner in their cellar. Apparently the mama cat had given birth to one of the kittens in the cellar!
Either she abandoned the little one or couldn’t make her way back into the location. Regardless, the poor kitten was trapped in the darkness, just out of reach.
Andy spent 3 dedicated days trying to coax the kitten out. On October 27th, 2018, he had great news to share with his followers.
“It’s taken three days to trap this little mite! But wasn’t it worth it! Born in a small space in a pitch black cellar these photos are of her experiencing her first daylight and first contact with humans. Her meows alerted the owners of the house who phoned Cats Protection. Despite her ordeal she is bright as a button and – unusually – unafraid of us humans at all.”
Andy was also able to eventually catch the three other kittens without much issue, and get them into foster care. Mama just still refused to be helped! Another three days passed before she was FINALLY trapped!
“She is now in the expert care of the Cats Protection team and is already in the hands of one of their dedicated fosterers. I feel sure that mum has a home but for some reason has her kittens elsewhere, perhaps a busy household or other pets. I will be investigating tomorrow.”
The dedicated foster home that was caring for the kittens–you guessed it–the Eastwoods feline haven.
They had welcomed the “cellar kitten” earlier in the week and she was settling in comfortably in their home.
“She had been named Ellen, but one of the centre staff said they had thought of Elsa, as she looked like a little lion cub. We liked it and so that is how she got her name.”
When the siblings joined the household on Halloween day, they were named Pumpkin, Tabitha and Cobweb.
Mama was taken in by another foster who specializes in socializing more stray/feral type-personality felines. By November 23rd, all the cats were ready to be adopted, transformed into happy house cats, including clever mom.
“Mum has undergone a transformation from a scared, untrusting stray when I trapped her into a loving friendly puss – now called Felicity.”
The Halloween kittens were quickly adopted out, but for little Elsa, her future held a different fate.
Claire happily admits, “I think we both knew from the day she arrived, we wouldn’t want to part with Elsa and so we decided to adopt her into our brood.”
Now Elsa is happy to be a purrmanent Eastwood. She has lots of brother and sister felines; Swede, Sooty, Maisie, Casper, Cleo, Mo, Dottie and Flo.
“She took a real shine to my husband Kevin and always went to sit with him. I used to say I felt like a gooseberry as she would sit on his knee, gazing up at him adoringly!”
Thank you to Andy for never giving up and to the Eastwoods for fostering and opening their hearts! Can’t forget the other foster who helped Felicity become a happy house cat either!!! Thank you all<3
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: Best Tips for Becoming a Kitty Foster Parent