The story of Sydney
New Family Members
A week ago we adopted a new family member, Gerry (Gerard Butler) the greyhound. It probably wasn’t the best timing but we decided to have the carpet on our stairs replaced with Pergo right after Gerry came to live with us. I woke up one morning and Gerry was limping.

Worried that he may have broken a bone I immediately took him to our vet. It turned out to be a pulled muscle. However, while Gerry and I were waiting to see the doctor a couple came in with a box. Inside were three newborn kittens a landscaper had found. The couple asked for help. They didn’t want the kittens. The vet was unable to help. I listened.

My mind raced with thoughts. Why is this happening now? Say something. Don’t say anything, you already have a zoo…no more. But…the kittens. What will happen to them? Back in February I had taken in a pregnant stray cat. She gave birth to six kittens. The mom and three of her kittens stayed with me. Gerry was still getting used to his new cat family. Taking in three more would stress Gerry and me. But there was a possibility my mama cat would feed the kittens. What if she didn’t? Then what? Sometimes even if something is inconvenient you still have to do what’s right. For me, giving those kittens a chance at life was the right thing to do.

I drove home with Gerry and three crying orphans. How was I going to explain to my husband that I went to the vet with one pet and came home with four?
Luckily, after twenty-five years together such an event doesn’t faze him. Eric laughed and called me the crazy cat lady.

“When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out.” David Weatherford

I bought formula and bottles, brought mama cat back up to our bathroom where she had given birth to and cared for her kittens. I tried feeding the new arrivals while mama watched. The kittens were not much bigger than my thumb. They wanted nothing to do with the bottle. Mama cat wanted nothing to do with them. My stress levels rose with every yow. This was not working out as I had envisioned.

I tried using a syringe. It was difficult. The rest of the night didn’t go well. When they opened their mouths to cry I squirted a drop of formula on their tongue being careful not to squirt too much and have it get in their lungs. They squirmed and hated the syringe. It brought me back to the days when I was a new mom with a crying infant, wanting to help and unsure of what I was doing. My patience was fading along with my hope for their survival.

The next day, I tried several more times wishing they would take to the bottle. No luck. In desperation I called someone who volunteers at a shelter. I was told she’s known as the kitten expert. She suggested I make a trip to the shelter. Perhaps they would have a foster family who would be willing to take the kittens or they could show me the proper way to feed them. I’ll admit, the thought of handing the kittens over to someone else— was tempting. I felt as though I was failing miserably.

You won’t believe what happened next!

A supervisor at the shelter took a look at the kittens and told me they may not survive. They were only four to seven days old. She tried feeding them exactly like I had and they wouldn’t eat much for her either. When they’re that young it takes a lot of patience….

There were no more foster homes available. The supervisor had an idea. She told me about Sydney, a shelter cat. She had just been spayed and was in the recovery room. Sydney had given birth to three kittens. They all died. Maybe upon recovering she would care for the orphans. I wanted to laugh out loud. Is this really happening again? Could I possibly go home with yet another cat? I had two options, take a chance on Sydney, or keep trying myself, risking their lives while turning mine upside down. I signed the papers and became an Animal Services foster parent. I arrived with a box of kittens and returned to my car with a box of kittens and Sydney.

I called Eric. “Are you ready for more craziness?” He renamed me Dr. Dolittle.

Waiting for a miracle

Back up to our kitten palace (our bathroom) I went with Sydney. I opened her cage. She cowered. I began feeding the kittens. They wailed. Sydney cringed. Sydney tried to walk and fell over. The anesthesia had not worn off. The kittens mewed. Sydney laid there.

Two hours later I tried again. Sydney was hiding behind the toilet. I gave her some food then left her alone while I tried to feed the little ones. Sydney watched me, but did nothing.

I went outside with the dogs and stood in our yard feeling completely overwhelmed. All the work I had missed while caring for the kittens was building in my mind. I worried about having to take Sydney back to the shelter. Would she find a home? I worried about caring for the kittens. What about our vacation?  I envisioned myself having to sneak three kittens into a hotel room. Who would want to pet-sit for orphans that had to be fed every few hours? I watched the dogs run and play, felt the summer breeze, and took a deep breath. Everything was going to be all right. Those kittens would live. I’d take pictures of Sydney and see if I could find her a home.

Later that night, I discovered Sydney had eaten. She greeted me at the door purring and rubbing against my legs. It was obvious she was a very sweet cat. The kittens cried. I began feeding them. Sydney watched. She smelled the formula in the measuring cup. I wondered if she was going to drink it. Then she brushed past me into the closet where two of the kittens were crying waiting to be fed. She stood over them for a few seconds then she laid down allowing them to crawl over her and search for food. I was in shock. I sat there with tears in my eyes because Sydney understood exactly what I was trying and failing to do. She had stitches from surgery, was in an unfamiliar home, knew those weren’t her kittens, yet she offered help. I had witnessed a miracle.

It’s been two days and the kittens only mew when Sydney leaves them to visit with me. It looks like I won’t have to sneak any kittens into a hotel room. Whew!

My story needs an even happier ending—one that tells of Sydney and her kittens finding loving forever homes.

If you or someone you know is looking to adopt. Please share Sydney’s story. Here’s where you can find the adoption application: Lee County Domestic Animal Services June 26 2014 Gerry and kittens 015
Sydney and kittens June 28 2014 2rd Day w Syd 008

Gerry (Gerard Butler) He’s quite a character!
June 26 2014 Gerry and kittens 002
We adopted Gerry from: Bay Area Greyhound Adoption

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