Dear My Little Marley, and All Pet Lovers,
Let me start by stating that I don’t know the first thing about cats, let alone kittens. I am not a cat person and if you would’ve asked me three weeks ago if that would ever change, the answer would be not in a million years. But that was three weeks ago. Try asking me the same question today and my answer would do a full 360. I know, I know. Why this sudden change? Well if you thought I wasn’t going to tell you, ha. C’mon, you should know me by now.
Alright, story time!
It was May 26th, a cold and cloudy Friday morning. Around 10:13 to be exact. It looked like it was going to rain that day. The clouds were rolling in, and the rest of the week days were fairly hot. OK timeout! I know you don’t need all the little details, but this is my story and I wanna build it up as much as I can. You know, to capture your attention. Anyway, I was on my daily walk with the little boy I nanny for. We walk through the neighborhood everyday before his nap because it helps him fall asleep. We take some different paths depending on the day, but we always take the same one home. We saw the daily neighbors, we saw some dogs, and we saw lots of airplanes. So far, nothing out of the ordinary. We continue our walk, but start heading home, until I come to a sudden stop. I look down and to my left and see 3 little objects sitting on the side of the road. Baby kittens! Two were huddled up on top of each other while the third one was shivering by himself. James* (*name changed for privacy-but really because it seems cooler) had just fallen asleep in the stroller, so I had a limited amount of time to get him out of the chair and into his crib before he was so deep in his sleep that it would wake him up. I looked around and saw no mother cat, these babies were all alone. They were dirty, cold, and had fleas. I run back to the house and put the baby down.
I grab my phone and text James’ parents. I tell them I need to call someone about these kitties before they get hurt. I call a shelter and they tell me I can bring them in and that they’ll be safe. So what do I do? I gather some dish rags w and scoop them up and take them there. They took them from me, handed me some foster applications in case I wanted to foster them later on, and sent us on our way. They did give us the kittens information and told us we could call for some updates as well. Within the ten minutes of picking them up and dropping them off at the shelter, I had already grown attached.
Fast forward to 3:00 pm. I am off work and at lunch with a friend. I call the shelter for an update.
“Hi, I brought in 3 kittens earlier this morning. I have their animal ID# and was wondering if I could get an update on them?”
“One moment please.”
I wait on the line for about a minute, although it felt like ten minutes.
“Hi, we have the kittens. They’re super young and still need to be bottle fed. That’s a lot of work and so they will probably be euthanized by the end of the day.”
My heart sank. . You know that feeling when you’re going down a big drop on a roller coaster and it feels like your stomach is literally going to come out of your mouth? That’s more like how it felt.
I just want to say how thankful I am for a Facebook group I’m a part of. It is a huge support system, and they’re always helping people out whether it be with words of wisdom or connections they know might help. After receiving the devastating news, I immediately posted in the group and on my profile that these kittens needed rescuing ASAP. So many people reached out to me, but they told me to go get them back and then we can go from there. I leave lunch in panic mode and drive straight to the shelter. They just gave them back. No paper work. No questions asked. Nothing. Just three little kitties in a box with a towel, a bottle, and some formula.
Remember how I told you I don’t know the first thing about cats, let alone two week old kittens? Well now I have the full responsibility of keeping these kittens alive. I learned that no matter how great of care I give to them, there still could be a chance they don’t make it. The thing with kittens this young, is that they need to be bottle fed EVERY 2 HOURS like clockwork. You have to help make them go to the bathroom before they eat, and you have to make sure they’re warm at all times. Luckily my boss is amazing and helped rearrange my work schedule to fit in with the kitties.
I do have to say I named them as soon as I got them: Marley, Harley, and Luna.
I had so many people reaching out from the previous Facebook group willing to help in any way needed. I had someone teach me how to bottle feed, and another pulling through with connections to rescues and such. I am so glad because I was so overwhelmed with them. I can’t even begin to explain how much time went into this, and how hard it was. I had them for about three days, but it felt like a year due to the lack of sleep I had (aka NONE).
The little runt of the three ended up getting super sick, and I had to sit in the ER for five hours with him. I reached a mental breaking point. My heart was broken and my anxiety was super high. Luckily I had an amazing woman willing to take them at 3:00 in the morning once we were done in the ER. She had a mother cat that was lactating, so the kitties would be better off with her. I dropped them off that night and said my goodbyes. As I was driving home, I almost fell asleep at the wheel and then broke down crying because I was still worried for the sick kitty.
The next morning I got an update. The mom was letting them feed and the sick kitty was doing fine! I screamed with joy and all felt right in the world once again. I could finally breathe. A few days after that, I learned the mom had rejected the kitties and so they were going to another mom cat. I still felt somewhat settled because I knew they were in great hands.
Yesterday night I got an update on the kitties. The one who was sick and doing much better had passed away. I cried all night, and had wine to go with the taste of my tears. I was heartbroken once again. Marley was so young and little and I knew he was a fighter who fought to the very last second. But that doesn’t make it any easier. He’s gone, and I will never be able to see him or get another update on him. I do have to remember that he was with love from the very beginning to the very end, and if I hadn’t rescued them in the first place, he wouldn’t have even made it that long.
Harley and Luna are doing so well. They are growing like crazy, are super playful, and you can tell they love each other so much. I am continuing to get updates and videos of them, which makes my heart feel a little less broken.
My point to this story, besides being my way of grieving, is to raise awareness. Please, if you ever find an animal in need of a home, DO NOT take them to a shelter. Take them to a rescue. Unlike shelters, rescues care about their animals and take amazing care of them. Shelters euthanize animals and don’t give them a chance. Please please please adopt, don’t shop. Make sure you neuter/spay your pets so we don’t have a bunch of homeless babies running around the streets. If you do have a pet, give them a big hug and kiss for me, because they are so luck to have you.
Thank you to everyone who read my whole story, and to those who continue to care and fight for animals and they’re rights. Now, I might have to go fill out some adoption papers for my little Harley and Luna 🙂
Forever and Always loving you Marley,
Your first ever human momma