A sweet and darling 3 year old Abyssinian tabby had her days numbered when her owners dumped her at the Downey shelter abundantly pregnant and no longer wanted. But what started out as a routine owner surrender quickly became one for the record books. Before the paperwork was even processed the momma went into labor shortly after she was put in her kennel. She gave birth to 10 kittens.
Five black, three Siamese mix, one Russian Blue and one gray and white tabby kittens were born within hours of her arrival and the fate of them and their mom was uncertain. As long as mom and her kittens stayed healthy the shelter would allow them to live long enough for a rescue to pull them. Shelter volunteers contacted many rescue groups and pleas for someone to save momma and all her babies went out across the wire. But taking on that many kittens plus the mom is a huge burden and most rescues were already at capacity during the fall leg of kitten season. The plea went unanswered.
“The plea for the momma cat and her kittens first came into my inbox on Tuesday,” said independent kitten rescuer and foster Kristine. “I know how the shelters work and if mom got sick they would kill her and her kittens. If even one kitten got sick the entire litter would be killed and most likely the mom shortly after.” There was an offer by a potential foster but it fell through and by Friday the plea had still gone unanswered. “There are always heartbreaking posts about cats and kittens that need help but this one with the mom and her babies was killing me.” Kristine stepped up to help.
Lauren from Cats at the Studio pulled the mom and her babies from Downey and drove them to North Hollywood where Kristine was waiting with a large dog crate already set up for them. But at the shelter, as Lauren loaded the kittens one by one into a carrier she noticed the back leg of the Russian Blue kitten was mangled. His leg was at a funny angle, had several gashes and a few of the toes were hanging on by a thread. “Sometimes when chewing off the umbilical a kitten’s leg accidentally gets involved. It’s sad but it happens especially in cramped and stressful conditions like she was in.” Unfortunately the kitten is far too young right now for anything medically to be done about it but he is on antibiotics to make sure the leg doesn’t get infected.
Born on Monday October 19th with their rescue on Saturday the 24th, it was just in the nick of time. Mom cat’s breathing was raspy which meant she was developing a cold. “She and her babies would have been dead before the weekend was over,” Kristine stated. But a week after their rescue mom cat and all her kittens are doing great. Mom and injured baby are on antibiotics and Kristine is helping mom feed her babies with eye droppers of formula. “It’s a lot of work keeping them clean and monitoring their weight to make sure everyone is getting enough milk. But mom is really pretty and super sweet and her kittens are going to grow up being extremely loving and friendly because of all the handling they’re getting.”
Of course mom cat and her kittens would never have been put in such peril if her owners had her spayed when they got her. With all of the free and low cost clinics and services across LA there is absolutely no excuse for people not to have their animals spayed and neutered.
If you’d like to follow the saga of the 10 kittens and their mom there will be updates on Kristine’s Facebook page: Kristine’s Foster Kittens. All of them will be up for adoption as soon as they are old enough to be spayed and neutered.
And for you trivia buffs, the world’s largest litter was born in 1970. A total of 19 kittens were born with 15 surviving to a 4 year old Burmese.