Jacqueline DeAmor, co-founder of the Friends for Life Rescue Network, saw an online post about a mother cat and two kittens who needed help. As an experienced rescuer and foster, she immediately offered to take them in. But there were a few extra surprises when the local Trap-Release-Neuter group went to catch them: a total of five kittens!
The kittens --- four males and one female --- were taken to DeAmor's rescue while the mother cat was safely spayed and then released. For DeAmor, the process of domesticating these feral kittens was about to start, and at first, it looked like it would be quite the task. "During the first few days, they were frozen in fear. They stayed huddled in a mass of fluff and hissed every time I walked in the room, got close to the crate, or put my hand inside," DeAmor said.
DeAmor named the kittens Harlem, Bronx, Lenox, Ellis, and Hudson. While all the kittens were fearful of people, Harlem, in particular, was petrified of anyone who came near her. She would hiss loudly and strike out when DeAmor was around.
Within two weeks, though, these kittens were purring a different tune! DeAmor worked to handle them and socialize them, and with the help of some food, treats, and snuggles, she began to win over this tough crowd.
For handling, DeAmor uses what she calls the "purrito" method of wrapping the kittens up in blankets and holding them close. In this way, they get used to people while not being able to swat and scratch at them. "They had their first purrito snuggles about a day after their rescue. They were wide eyed in fear. I could feel them shaking like a leaf," DeAmor recalled.
The "purrito" method is a quick process --- about five to ten minutes of handling --- and that's usually the limit the kittens have before they start squirming around. DeAmor places one kitten back with his siblings, and picks up another to hold in the "purrito." "With lots of patience, love, attention, and food, they all started purring one by one. Ellis was the first one," said DeAmor.
When the kittens were able to eat with DeAmor in the room, she knew it was time for them to move into a foster home. Raegan Carter of Kitty Devore Rescue took the kittens in for the next few critical weeks of their lives.
As soon as they were in her house, the kittens stuck together and hid under or behind whatever they could find, including the toilet and a dresser. Slowly but surely, with Carter's persistent, patient kindness, the kittens began to trust people.
These babies realized that pets and snuggles are the best things for a cat! Now when they see Carter, they quickly remember that she's the lady who brings love and kindness and treats. Instead of a room of hisses, she is greeted by a room full of purrs and headbutts. "They have gone from scared street kitties to happy purr babies," said DeAmor.
Eventually, these siblings will be on their way to a forever home. Share their sweet story with your family and friends on Facebook.