Monday, May 31, 2010

Erin's Choice

Every time I go to the shelter to do a rescue with a new foster Mom, it renews my purpose and my reason for doing what I do. Today was one of those days.

I drove to the shelter in rush house traffic today to meet Erin. Erin is a lovely young woman, who anxiously wanted to help the cats. Her plan was to rescue a Mom and kittens. Specifically, this little family:

Last week, a staff member had separated the Mom cat from her babies. The kittens were about 5 weeks old and the cage was too small for a Mom & 4 kittens. There were no maternity cages left - just small ones. The Mom had been calling out for her babies last time I was there. It was heart breaking.

I held up one of the kittens to the little Tortie Mom, and she started immediately grooming it and purring. She had remembered them. I felt goosebumps go up my arms as she lovingly licked her baby, maybe even chastising him for not cleaning his own ears in her absence.

We put the little family temporarily back in their cages while I gave Erin a "nickel tour" of the shelter. We stopped suddenly at a cage in the "new arrival" area with a litter of 5 kittens - they were 4 weeks old and had arrived today. They were beautiful. Blue eyes, and desperately trying to nurse on something...anything. They didn't have a Mom and would be euthanized on Wednesday. That was certain.

Too Young + No Mom = Death .. There was no hope for these kittens.

I watched Erin's kind face turn into something that I had seen far too often. It was one of agony, disbelief and a choice she didn't want to make. I knew "the look". The bargaining with yourself, "Could I take the family AND these kittens?" The bargaining is the worst. I had to save her from herself. She had to choose. We had to choose.

It was not certain that the Mom and kittens wouldbe euthanized on Wednesday. They had a chance. The 5 kittens had no chance on Wednesday.

They would surely die alone - no Mommy to comfort them.

When I walked Erin out to her car with the 5 kittens in her carrier, I knew she would probably cry on her way home. I wanted to cry with her. Watching that Mom licking her kitten, only to separate them again was brutal.

I want to save that sweet Mom and her little family so badly. I want to do it for Erin. I want to prove to myself that I haven't become a hardened rescuer.

"Please let them stay alive long enough for me to rescue them.


Anonymous said...

OMG, Beth... You're killing me. I can't foster for another 4 months, and THIS is what I'm reading.... Argh. It's too bad Mamacat couldn't adopt the mamaless ones....

Argh, argh, aaaargh


House of the Discarded said...

Renee: It was GUT wrenching over there today. :(

SwSmartie said...

My heart goes out to Erin. She had no idea what she was getting into, and all she wants to do is help. Sounds like me just a couple months ago.

Nicole said...

But SWSmartie it is a positive thing -regardless lives were saved today and we still have hope for the mama and her babies

Caroline said...

No offense but couldn't the foster Mom have taken everyone? I think the Mama of the 4 would have adopted the others and then everyone would be safe and happy. I pray that someone rescues Mom and her babies ASAP cause although I feel for the abandoned kittens I don't want Momma to have to watch her babies be put to sleep not to mention be separated from them.

Anonymous said...

Please keep us posted, Beth. I know a lot of us who are full to the brim with kittens (fosters and otherwise) and biting our nails and hoping for the lives of the families that got left behind, especially the one you showcased.

Chaotix said...

No one should have to face that choice. Makes me wish I lived closer to Canada..

House of the Discarded said...

Caroline: That's a lot of kittens for a NEW foster Mom to deal with. Even if she could've taken both, I would've sadly said, "No".

People can only do what they can do before you're burned out and resentful.

Lisa said...

Argghhhhhhhhh....gut wrenching story! I pray mom and babies get rescued soon. *sniff* *wimper*

Thε Countεss said...

Any chance of a foster for the Mama and the kittens? This has stayed in my head since you posted..