We’ve all been there, done that. Walking around the neighborhood, throwing out the trash, or hanging outside of our house, when we hear the rustling of the leaves, scratching on the tree bark, and the tiniest of meows coming from afar.
We spot a skittish scuttle of kittens or a bedraggled baby boy desperate to uncover the rest of the litter, and we wonder “What now?”
With springtime comes millions and millions of kittens. With the number of stray cats roaming the streets of pretty much every city, the Humane Society estimates that there are thousands of kittens born each day.
When you stumble upon one of these bundles of cuddles, you might want to scoop them up and take them home, but that might not be the best way to go about the situation.
Kittens are one of the most vulnerable populations overcrowding shelters and rescues due to well-meaning Good Samaritans.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cautions that removing kittens from their environment might not always be the right answer because the mother cat might be nearby getting food or waiting for your to depart.
The mother cat never abandons her kittens out of the blue – there’s probably a reason why she’s not there and you shouldn’t hop to conclusions based on the fact that she’s not there at the moment. The kitten, no matter how caring and nurturing you are, needs the mother cat to survive and thrive.
We do need to underline that you should rescue the kitten (or kittens) only when you’re 100% sure that the mother cat won’t be coming back. More often than not, when the kitten appears weak, ravenous, and unwell, the mother cat wasn’t there for a long, long time.
Meet Eggnog, the tiniest kitten that’s been through a myriad of hardships from the moment he was born but managed to come out on top – with a little help from humans.
Emilie Rackovan, an animal rescuer based in Milwaukee, WI, took to Instagram to share that she’d been contacted about an orphaned kitten that didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t want to eat.
According to Emilie, the sad story started when a couple needed to rehome a mother cat and seven of her babies because the two were about to get evicted.
Apparently, the couple managed to get someone to take all of them. However, the two figured out that they’d forgotten one of the kittens when he started screaming bloody murder the following day. And, when the couple begged the new owner to take the kitten, he refused.
Faced with a difficult decision, the couple went out and bought food for the kitten, but he refused to eat. They tried to feed the little thing, but he was too scared to eat anything. They tried helping him, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
At the end of the day, they contacted Emilie hoping she’d be able to help. And, she did – she mentioned she’d received the call at 11 p.m. and arrived at the location at 11:30 p.m. Emilie wasn’t sure what she was about to uncover, but she was shocked when she noticed how thin, timid, and frail the kitten appeared.
He was beaten down. He was unkempt and looked like he hadn’t been groomed – ever. He was overrun with fleas and he had discharge coming out of every crevice.
Emilie wasn’t sure why the kitten refused to eat because he was starved. She scooped the poor thing off of the ground, made a little fort for him inside her car, and hoped for the best. She mentioned that he screamed the entire time, but she wasn’t sure whether he was screaming because he was scared or because he was starving.
Whatever the case may have been, he latched onto the bottle the moment they’d arrived at Emilie’s apartment. Eggnog, the name Emilie decided on, didn’t miss a single meal from that moment forward.
Emilie threw Eggnog a spa night, cleaned the discharge, got rid of the fleas, and took care of the upper respiratory infection. Eggnog gained weight, grew bigger and stronger, and became the kitten he was supposed to be from the beginning – a cute, cuddly rascal that can’t stop munching on paw-licking treats.
Two weeks passed, and Eggnog hit pretty much every milestone Emilie set. He started eating without her help. He weaned off the bottle, but he continued to have formula as a snack now and then. He started using the litterbox.
“He’s doing better than I expected,” Emilie shared on her Instagram. He went from depressed, lethargic, and starving to healthy, chubby, and cheeky. He started showing off his purrsonality a lot more, too. He was running around the apartment, hopping on the kitchen counters, and eyeing Emilie’s every move.
He was eager to eat whenever Emilie went to the kitchen to get the snack. He was far from the poor thing Emilie rescued, that’s for sure. Emilie was a little concerned that he was showing signs of “singleton behavior,” and tried getting him to play with the resident cat.
He was friendly, but he didn’t seem to like the fact that the resident cat was a little old. He wanted to play and cause mischief with her, but she was too tired to keep up with him. He was ready for a forever family that was going to spoil him rotten, and Emilie seemed to have noticed that, too.
He was adopted a few months after getting rescued. Emilie took to Instagram to share that Eggnog found a forever home with her brother’s good friends. Eggnog gained a mother and a father, but he was even more excited about gaining a 6-month-old kitten sister named Nala.
Nowadays, Eggnog spends most of the time playing with Nala and sneaking a formula snack here and there. We salute you, Eggnog!