This story isn’t about one special cat having overcome the all-to-common struggles to survive in this world. It’s about two felines being filled with love they almost never got to experience this life. They both found themselves at the same place though–and not a good place at that. Their “tails” begin at the county kill shelter near Tampa, FL.
Here a mama cat was sadly about to be euthanized with her newborn babies. And a few months later, another sweet girl was about to be let loose back on the streets instead of living safely indoors. Her chance at happiness about to be passed up, just because she weighed the legal minimum 2 pounds–barely. This is the struggle in the “R” of TNVR (Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return), especially whey they turn out to be friendly. But finding fosters or adopters is not as easy as people think.
So how did these two gals go from a heartbreaking shelter environment to being filled with love?
Teamwork, compassion and an unwavering dedication to save the homeless felines whenever possible is how.
It began in August 2019, when the Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay Facebook page shared a photo of new mama cat “Fancy”. She had been brought into the shelter pregnant and ended up giving birth shortly after arriving. There’s no information as to whether she was stray or abandoned. Her friendly persona lends legitimacy to the latter possibility unfortunately.
They were only a few of the approximate 900 cats to cross the doors of the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center each month. But Urgent Cats reminds us all of one VERY important thing though.
***Please do not call HC-PRC and complain about animals being euthanized. It is the COMMUNITY that fills the shelter. By law, they must take every animal brought to them or picked up by the Animal Control Officers. The staff and volunteers work very hard to save as many as possible. If it upsets you how many animals are euthanized at this shelter, take action! Volunteer to foster a shelter animal, become a volunteer, work with a local rescue, educate people about the importance of spay/neuter, or share the animals on this page to get them as much exposure as possible!
A new mother and her infants are a big responsibility and the shelter does not have the time or resources to care for them. To top it all off, ALL of the kittens came down with severe URI’s they picked up in the shelter. Devastatingly, the entire family was scheduled for euthanasia. The shelter environment is no place for newborns though (or any animal), and only 1 of the 4 kittens survived.
But it was the community whose hearts were filled with love now, and they donated enough for a local rescue group to rescue mama and her remaining kitten.
As soon as her kitten was old enough, she was scooped up by a happy adopter. But that left mama, now named Snowball, patiently waiting in her new foster home. Fortunately her foster mom, Colleen Drury, has lots of rescued felines and family cats to help cheer her up.
And as wonderful as that was, there was something missing for Snowball after the losses of her babies. She wasn’t a sad or depressed cat by any means, but when they saw what happened next, they knew she was finally whole again.
It was a young female kitten who’d been trapped living on the streets near Busch Gardens in Tampa. She was just about 2 pounds in weight, which is the minimum for a feline to be spayed/neutered in Florida. And if she wasn’t rescued by an official non-profit or registered rescue organization, back out on the streets she would go.
Fortunately, St. Francis Society Animal Rescue stepped in and saved her from (a likely short) street life. She joined their foster program and ended up at the welcoming home of Colleen, who named her Mercy. Thankfully Colleen has plenty of experience helping suffering cats, because Mercy also picked up a URI during her shelter stay.
“Mercy Me!” is likely what I’d have said when the young kitten was later found to be “filled” with something much different than love!
The sweet kitten underwent the normal foster protocol and was given deworming medication right away. But little Mercy had a shocking surprise she was holding in!
Mercy had one of the worst cases of spirometra tape worms they’ve ever seen! More than FOUR feet of worm came out of that tiny body… We can’t imagine how she would have survived out there on the streets! ?
*She also had hook worms too! ? … this poor little girl had lots of parasites eating her food. This is why she lost so much weight while she was at the shelter waiting to be fixed (and dumped back on the streets!)
Thankfully there are NO photos because I’m squirming at the thought of this regardless. But after being given the necessary medication and Colleen and Snowball’s attentive fostering, Mercy was soon on the mend.
When Snowball met Mercy it was as if the pieces of their broken hearts and wounded bodies fit perfectly, allowing their souls to heal.
The two girls have formed a beautiful bond with each other over their time together.
Although they came to their foster home a couple months apart, they’ve become fast friends with their shared background tails to tell. We feel Snowball has become the surrogate mama that Mercy was longing for. And Mercy has helped Snowball’s heart heal from losing almost all of her kittens. ?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this pair of survivors could find their PURRfect furever home together?!?!
We’d be over the moon if we could make this happen for these two deserving girls!!
Cole and Marmalade’s own dad, Cat Man Chris has seen these two cute ladies through their transformations. You see, Colleen is also the foster mom who has helped us with a few other special kitties who’ve been guests in our “Catty Shack”!
They’re currently being fostered by my friend Colleen, the lady who’s fostering Alfalfa [story coming soon!] and also who cared for Sam the hydro kitten before her road trip [see below] <3
Thank you so much to Colleen Drury, Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay and St. Francis Society Animal Rescue for all you do!!!
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!