Our morning commutes to work are normally filled with tired grumbling, quick sips of hot coffee, and mental itemizing of the day’s tasks. However, on Hamdan Shibli’s morning walk to work in Israel, he stumbled upon a life-changing shock.
In the middle of the road, three small animals huddled together on the ground, clearly lost and abandoned. Before he could formulate a true plan of action, however, he discovered the animals were not what they appeared to be…
After discovering the kittens in the middle of the road Hamdan knew he had to do something. With their mother nowhere in sight, Hamdan decided he had to move them to safety.
Hamdan put them in some roadside bushes in case their mother returned, and he planned to come back to check on them. He could only hope that the baby animals would still be there when he returned.
But after he posted pictures of the kitties online, he was shocked to discover that he was completely wrong about the animals he found. There was a key detail that he’d missed about those them…
They were actually jungle cats, a wild species indigenous to Asia! Learning this, Hamdan returned the next day to the bush where he’d left them. Their mom still wasn’t there, and he decided it was time to take action.
The kittens were all sick and had lots of ticks. Clearly, they desperately required medical attention, so Hamdan placed them in a basket and went for help. The clock was ticking.
Hamdan’s efforts were noble, but odds were against the jungle cats. Tragically, one of the three kittens didn’t make it. As the others kept fighting, Hamdan hoped that the worst was behind them.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop any more senseless loss of life, Hamdan made a series of phone calls. He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally hung up. Help was just around the corner.
Hamdan handed the kitties off to vets at a wild animal hospital. With the cats’ survival out of his hands, he could only wait for them to recuperate. In addition, Hamdan wanted some more answers about how exactly they wound up in the middle of a dusty road.
As luck would have it, the veterinarians provided Hamdan with some answers about the animals. At the clinic, tests determined that both of the surviving kittens were male and no older than 5 weeks.
Of course, knowing more about their backgrounds would mean nothing if the kittens didn’t survive. The vets gave the kittens fluids and a milk substitute in order to nourish them back to full health.
They needed to help the kittens gain weight so that they could eventually be reintroduced back into the wild. The veterinarians feared that if they went back out in their current state, they wouldn’t last against the elements.
Little by little, the jungle cats began to regain their strength. Soon they were able to eat solid food. That was without a doubt a positive sign for their re-entry into their natural ecosystem.
Things were looking good. With the kittens’ appetites returning out of nowhere, eating actually became a favorite hobby of theirs! Hamdan, hearing the good news, expected that they were truly turning a corner.
Continuing to grow in size, the animals began to play with one another on a more regular basis. They were now behaving like normal young jungle cats — not like starved creatures on the brink of death.
As meat became a more prominent part of the cats’ diet, the vets felt it was a sign they’d soon be capable of hunting for their own food. They were getting closer and closer to being able to return to the wild. And there was no better time than the present!
While the jungle cat isn’t endangered worldwide, there are only about 600 in Israel where these kittens were found. Once these two males entered the wild, they would play a key role in the next generation.
It’s a miracle that Hamdan just happened upon these little guys before it was too late. A tear of joy ran down his face when he got the good news that the jungle cats were back out in nature, where they belonged.
Animal lover Hamdan would’ve no doubt been excited to hear the story that took place on an industrial construction site in Montréal just a few years later.
There, in September of 2017, a man reported for duty on an industrial construction site. He thought it would be like any other day—except, this time, something was different. This time, he would make a discovery that would change the way he saw his job forever…
That morning he happened to spot a litter of kittens crying out for their mother. With no mom in sight, he decided to take them in and care for them. He knew an industrial construction site was no place for them to be!
It took most of his day trying to round up all of the kittens. In fact, he had to make multiple trips to collect them all. He worried that some might’ve slipped away, but he took comfort in the fact that he did the best that he could.
Once the kittens were secured, he contacted a rescue organization named Chatons Orphelins Montréal (COM). Their mission is to provide all of the help and support they can to the stray cats of Montréal, and they did the city a tremendous service.
“The gentleman managed to catch six kittens. One of them was immediately adopted by a family,” said a representative from COM about the rescued kittens. “The guy knew that the other five needed help, so he brought them to us.”
After providing them with medical treatment, COM employees estimated that the kittens were only about seven weeks old. Though a few had parasites, their conditions were treatable and soon they were all back in good health. There was something odd about two of the kittens, though…
These kittens had extra toes! This was the result of a condition called polydactylism, or hyperdactyly. This is an inherited abnormality caused when one gene in the cat doesn’t develop properly. Thankfully, it’s not serious. In fact, some people think it’s lucky!
Polydactyl cats can have as many as eight toes on each foot, and as a result of their condition, their entire paw can seem to be much larger than that of the average cat. Interestingly, this condition usually only affects their front two paws.
Although it’s rare, the condition can affect a cat’s back paws, as well. The Guinness World Record holder for the number of toes on a cat is a Canadian polydactyl kitty called Jake; he has a whopping 28 toes total!
COM wasn’t put off by these kittens’ special features, and the staff was more excited than ever to help the entire litter find a home. “There are two females and three males,” they said. “Chaplin (black, male), Vinny (tiger, male), Muslie (gray, female), Alpha (gray, male) and Zia (gray, female).”
The kittens were immediately placed into foster care. “The five little kittens went to their foster home with Isabelle to continue their weaning and socialization,” said a representative from COM. “The little ones were very active, friendly and playful.”
Once they had a roof over their heads, the kittens felt comfortable enough to really let their personalities show. Alpha, one of the polydactyl kittens, revealed himself to be the calmest of the litter, loving nothing more than a good nap or cuddle.
Zia, meanwhile, proved herself to be the most social of the five. Sure, she enjoyed time spent playing with her siblings, but if things got a little too exciting, she would seek comfort in the lap of the closest person that she could find.
Muslie, the other polydactyl kitten, was the most playful of them all. She couldn’t resist any toy that came her way, especially those covered in feathers! She also loved to launch sneak attacks against her siblings. It looked like she was shaping up to be one heck of a hunter, huh?
Vinny was the kitten with the biggest passion for stirring up trouble. He might love his brothers and sisters, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t pounce on them or steal a toy or wreck some other kind of havoc just to keep things interesting.
Of course, Vinny needed a partner in crime, and he found that in his brother Chaplin! While all of the kittens got along with each other, the bond that Chaplin and Vinny shared was truly one of a kind. They loved to shake things up!
The kittens were doing so well in foster care that the team at COM decided they were ready to find new forever homes. No one could argue that it was something each and every one of these silly kitties deserved.
COM uploaded all of their photos to their Facebook page, and in a matter of weeks, they had been adopted! Just think: without the intervention of that hero on the construction site, these unusual kittens might never have had a chance.