Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcoming 700 rescued cats to a better life

Submitted by UAN volunteer Beth Gammie of Tallahassee, Florida

UAN volunteer Angel Zebraski of
Hampton, Georgia carries a rescued
cat into the emergency shelter
For two days, trucks arrived at UAN's emergency shelter carrying precious cargo--700 neglected cats rescued from deplorable hoarding conditions in High Springs, Florida. Time after time, UAN volunteers lined up to meet the transports and gently carried the cats to the clean, new kennels that awaited. 

Many of the cats walked gingerly out of their carriers into the kennels. Others showed their apprehension--natural at this stage in the rescue--by hunkering down in the carrier and refusing to come out. In these cases, volunteers put the entire carrier into the kennel to let the frightened cat come out at his or her own pace. Even cats who walked right into their kennels hunkered down in corners and litter boxes. However, a good number began reaching out (literally and figuratively) to volunteers and seeking attention.

Many cats had runny eyes and noses
The neglect these cats experienced quickly became evident. Many of the cats were simply filthy. The despair of trying to live in dirty and overcrowded conditions showed. Matted fur and crusty eyes and noses abounded.  Volunteers heard the wheezy breathing of cats suffering from upper respiratory infections and saw the fur loss and other skin conditions. 

Relaxing comfortably in safe and
clean surroundings
After having a chance to look around their new homes, the more talkative kitties had quite a lot to tell the us.  To the uninitiated, it sounded like, "Mew, meow, meow, mew." 

However, UAN volunteers are fluent in "cat" and heard them express their gratitude for shelter from the elements, a clean kennel, abundant food and clean water.  

One of the tiniest cats rescued
One calico asked, "What's up with that cold air blowing down from the ceiling," clearly unfamiliar with air conditioning. But mainly they expressed gratitude for humans who cared enough about them to travel from all over the United States and Canada to come to their rescue. "Mew," indeed.

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