When you feed feral cats or cat colonies, you become familiar with your charges. You can monitor their health to help ensure that their area stays rodent and pest free. Each day you get closer and closer to earning their trust. And your heart breaks as you glimpse through their empty eyes, a tiny window into their sad lives. For those homeless and/or abandoned cats, they can only hope a caring soul finds them before it’s too late. And sometimes just being in the right place at the right time is what saves their lives.
For Kristen Evans in Tampa, Florida, she refused to ignore a lonely cat sitting in an abandoned apartment window.
Kristen recalled her tale to us.
It started on the night of Saturday 11-2-2019, my birthday! I was walking back from my best friend Shannon’s apartment after celebrating. My truck was at the opposite end of her building. But I had company on my walk. It was a very friendly feral cat that I feed and care for at my home! The apartment complex I live at is right next to hers, so I figured he frequented both complexes. He started rubbing on me for some head scratches and pets.
As I set my stuff down to pet him, a neighbor was also walking to his apartment. He stopped and asked if he was my cat now.
I was confused at what he meant when he said, “now”.
I explained to him the I live in the neighboring complex, but that I had just sent him through the TNR program here in Tampa. He explained that the cat belonged to the lady that lived across the walkway from him. I was a little shocked because I’d always seen the cat outside, but he confirmed he was an indoor/outdoor cat. He then explained how the lady had moved out and had left her other 2 cats behind!
When I asked which apartment, I realized that it was actually the one in which I had seen a cat earlier in the night. It had been just sitting in the window statuesque, like a framed still life painting. He explained how the lady was evicted and no one had been there for days. I started to worry about the cats possibly having no food or water given how long they’d been alone. We checked the door and windows and everything was locked. Knowing there was nothing I could do until I reached someone in the office, but that the man was on the lookout too, I left.
Kristen had to have to hope the cats behind the window would hold on for one more day–at least.
Monday morning I hurried over to the management office and I told them about the cats. They had no idea they were in there! Their maintenance men had already entered the apartment and said no cats were found Telling them I DID see cats through the window, they called had someone take me over to let me in. They are all animal lovers and wanted to make sure they were okay and in a safer place too.
Upon entry with the maintenance man, it reeked of urine, feces and trash. It had been piling up for who knows how long! Searching thoroughly, I went from room to room looking for any cats.
I found the tabby one hiding in a bathroom, in a corner under the sink vanity. Calmly, I left food and fresh water in there for her and shut the door.
I found the black cat under the recliner that was left behind. The cat started panicking and running around the house terrified! She ran into a room and so I left food and fresh water for that cat too. I decided to let them calm down from this ordeal as a I looked for anyone to take them.
Kristen posted pictures and a video on Facebook pleading for someone to help these poor babies.
I could not take them to my own home, which is full. I have large dogs and a current TNR recovery cat in my spare bathroom. The day went on. Shares after shares of the Facebook post and countless emails and phone calls were received, but I had no luck. I even started to think of a way to bring them to MY house somehow, because I could not abandon them too.
Finally, late in the evening, I received a message from a lady named Karen. She is a foster with Hurricane Pet Rescue and she offered to take the cats! I would go to the apartment the next day to get them out. This would give them time to calm down a bit and have food in their tummy’s.
So on Tuesday, I went back to the apartment to see if they were still terrified.
To my surprise I was able to pet the tabby. I was able to just pick her up and put her right in the kennel I had for both cats!
The black cat was still a bit freaked. I decided to put her in an animal trap for the time being, where it would be safer for her–and me. Once they were in cages, I put some food in there and let them have some quiet time. I came back a little later after they calmed a bit.
My best friend Shannon and I went back to transfer the black cat into the larger kennel. It would be much easier for me to transport them like that. But the cat escaped!!! She ran around the room in an attempt to flee and went to a windowsill. I walked over, pet it a little bit, and was able to pick it right up to put in the kennel with the other cat.
It was like she wanted one last look out her window before starting off on a new life.
We loaded the cats in my vehicle and I headed towards the foster mom, Karen. She was so happy to see them out of that filth and ready for them to start a new life. I hugged her and thanked her many times for taking them. She assured me they will be okay and just needed a clean and loving home. I gave them all a final goodbye and we parted ways. A sense of relief rushed over me and I was so glad they were now safe. She told me the next morning that she named them after me and my best friend.
Krissy is the tabby and Shannon is the black one.
She also said the tabby was still a little withdrawn, but the other one was climbing and sniffing everything in sight. They don’t seem at all wild and she told me and they’ll be just fine. Phew!
If it wasn’t for “papa”–the feral cat I feed that used to belong to the lady too–I’d have never found them. I would’ve never stopped to pet him, and the neighbor wouldn’t likely have began talking to me about the other 2 cats.
I believe he was put in my path that night for a reason. And that reason was to save the other cats that were left like the trash. My next goal is to eventually find papa a home since he is so affectionate and in my eyes a hero for stopping me that night.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!