Kit­tens res­cued from storm drain in Fort Oglethorpe

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Tamara Wolk

Fort Oglethorpe res­i­dent Glo­ria Stafford re­cently no­ticed two stray cats roam­ing her neigh­bor­hood. “One was preg­nant,” says Stafford, “and the other one looked like he was starv­ing, his sides were so sunken in.”

Stafford was wor­ried about both cats. Her own cat is a res­cue whose kit­tens had been run over, and she was con­cerned the sce­nario was about to re­peat it­self. “I thought the other cat was a male,” she says. “It was so piti­ful.”

Un­will­ing to watch the ema­ci­ated cat starve, Stafford put out a lit­tle food for it. “It just ate and ate and ate,” she says.

Stafford called Chat­taNeuter, a new spay and neuter clinic in Chat­tanooga, and they re­ferred her to Ca­toosa Ci­ti­zens for An­i­mal Care. CCAC vol­un­teer Lynne Hall set out to see what the sit­u­a­tion was, not re­al­iz­ing that the ex­pec­tant cat had al­ready had her kit­tens.

“I caught both cats,” says Hall. “When I took them to Chat­taNeuter to get them fixed, it turned out both were fe­male. The starv­ing cat was al­ready spayed and the other cat had given birth shortly be­fore we caught her.”

Hall re­turned to Stafford’s neigh­bor­hood to look for the kit­tens. An­other neigh­bor said he’d seen the mother cat go into a storm drain. Stafford was able to hear the kit­tens cry­ing, and Hall called 911 for as­sis­tance.

Help came in the form of Lt. Steve Blevins of the Fort Oglethorpe Po­lice De­part­ment and Mike Hous­ley from the city’s wa­ter de­part­ment.

“They were awe­some,” says Stafford. “You could tell they loved an­i­mals. They were baby-talk­ing the kit­tens and acted like they re­ally cared.”

Hous­ley low­ered

him­self into the storm drain and found three tiny kit­tens, no more than two days old, and handed them out to Blevins.

“I wasn’t sure what to do at that point,” says Hall. “All our fos­ters who take new­born kit­tens were full.” Hall de­cided to take the kit­tens to Pet­sense in Fort Oglethorpe. She knew they needed to be fed soon.

For­tu­nately, Pet­sense dog trainer Es­ther Sindler was in the store. Sindler, who is also the vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor for Hap­pinest Wildlife Refuge and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, had the ex­pe­ri­ence needed to take the sit­u­a­tion in hand. She mixed up some kit­ten for­mula and got the ba­bies drink­ing im­me­di­ately.

“The mama cat,” says Hall, “wasn’t back from her spay yet. And we weren’t sure if she’d be able or will­ing to feed the kit­tens af­ter be­ing op­er­ated on.”

As it turned out, Greta, as the mother cat is now known, was happy to see her ba­bies when she was re­turned to them and fell back into moth­er­ing like a pro. The lit­tle fam­ily is stay­ing with Hall for the time be­ing.

“Of­fi­cer Blevins and Mike Hous­ley were just great” says Hall. “We’re so grate­ful for their as­sis­tance. We’re grate­ful for Glo­ria for car­ing enough to find help for the cats and for Es­ther, who not only knew how to help the new­borns but cared for them un­til Greta was able to get back to her job.”

Hall says she’s work­ing on get­ting Stella, the starv­ing cat, fat­tened up and ready for adop­tion. “She’s a white and gray, long-haired cat with big yel­low eyes – very ver­bal and tame.”

Greta, says Hall, will be ready for adop­tion when her kit­tens are weaned, and the kit­tens should be ready around Christ­mas­time.

Fort Oglethorpe po­lice of­fi­cer Lt. Steve Blevins and city wa­ter company em­ployee Mike Hous­ley res­cued three two-day-old kit­tens from a storm drain on Aug. 29. (Photo cour­tesy of Lynne Hall)

Es­ther Sindler, of Pet­sense in Fort Oglethorpe, took care of the res­cued kit­tens un­til their mother re­turned from the vet. (Photo cour­tesy of Lynne Hall)

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