There’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her child, and that’s true in the animal kingdom, too. Dedicated mothers often make big sacrifices to take care of their young ones. One non-profit worker regularly saw this firsthand.
Over the decades working with cats, the director of the feline rescue organization had seen just about everything when it came to felines. But shortly after finding two mysterious cardboard boxes on her doorstep one morning, she better understood the lengths some cat mothers will go to for their kittens…
There were no crates or cages for the kittens living at Project Purr Animal Rescue in Mobile, Alabama. Non-profit director Margie Morris made sure of that when she provided a “free range” home.
Over 100 cats roamed free through the several suites of the strip mall-based rescue center, chowing down on a few thousand dollars worth of kibble each and soiling 200 pounds of cat litter as a unit, daily…
To say Margie, back right, loved her rescued cats would be an understatement. But in her handling of over hundreds of cats and adoptions, she rarely encountered anything quite like what she found in July of 2017.
Margie Morris / Facebook
On a Thursday morning, Margie rolled into work only to find two cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other sitting outside the front door to her office. On further inspection, they proved strange.
Punched holes peppered the boxes, and someone had sloppily wrapped them with duct tape. Margie’s stomach sank. She suspected she knew what was in those boxes.
Margie and the shelter staff opened the top box and confirmed Margie’s suspicions: inside lay a mother cat alongside two orange kittens, both five-weeks-old. And in the second box?
Fearing the worst, Margie and her team opened the second box, and…it was empty. Evidence suggested, however, that the box once held a cat who’d escaped her cardboard prison. This was a problem she would worry about later.
Geminiano gertes, md / YouTube
In the meantime, cat-loving Margie had a clear-and-present problem: the mother cat and her kittens. She named the mother Caroline and the kittens Shilo and Neil. Then, she did what she did best. She helped the cats out.
Margie gave Caroline “extra cat food with vitamins,” too, to bulk her up, and “set up a little bed and a little kennel for her to keep [Shilo and Neil] safe.” Meanwhile, at the rescue, the kittens had the time of their lives…
“As small as they are,” Margie, right, said, “the kittens will play, and they’re wrestling each other and jumping around, and they cuddle up next to the mom. She loves them, and she’s taking very good care of them.” But Caroline also had a secret.
Even with two kittens to care for, Caroline was pregnant. Margie suspected she’d become pregnant shortly after birthing Shilo and Neil, and that the new litter would be weeks away…wrong!
Just a couple of days after her discovery, Caroline went into labor and delivered four adorable little kittens. But something didn’t add up to Caroline when she did the math.
Given the timeline, there was no chance Shilo and Neil were Caroline’s true cat kids. She adopted the little tykes herself, taking a couple lonely kittens under her paw! Talk about a motherly instinct.
But then, who was the true mother of Shilo and Neil? Once again, Margie had her suspicions: the cat who escaped the empty cardboard box. And soon, coincidentally, a rescue worker spotted something curious outside.
Steven Pisano / Flickr
“On Saturday morning, there was another cat spotted running around the parking lot of our little strip mall,” Margie said. “Myself and three team volunteers tried to catch her.”
“She was getting up in the car engines,” Margie said, “and we couldn’t catch her. It was pouring down rain. We tried to bribe her with food, but we just were unsuccessful. We’re hoping that she’s still out there somewhere.”
It’s unknown whether Project Purr Animal Rescue ever caught the loosed cat—and if she truly was the mother of Shilo and Neil. But nevertheless, Margie knew Caroline had the kitten situation under control.
See, Caroline could’ve escaped her cardboard box if she’d wanted. A desperate cat with sharp claws can do anything she puts her mind to. But she stayed with her adopted children. She protected them.
“I’m just grateful that she didn’t run away and leave the babies,” Margie said. “I think that might be the best thing I love about that cat —she did not leave those babies…She’s the best mom ever.”
And with her four new kittens, Caroline still didn’t shirk her responsibilities toward Shiloh and Neil. She took care of them and her new babies. She was the best thing to ever land on Project Purr Animal Rescue’s doorstep!
It’s truly tragic that someone abandoned kittens in this fashion, but in the end, there was no better place for Caroline and her adopted kids to end up.
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