It's not every day you get to hold a 2-week-old baby kitten. I got to today, and he was, of course, adorable.
He was small enough to hold in my hand. He curled up on my chest and rolled on his back so I could rub his belly. He climbed up so he could rub his face on my face. Most people would walk away feeling warm and fuzzy after that kind of interaction. Not today.
See, this cat was abandoned at Dream Power Animal Rescue when he was just one day old, along with his two sisters. They were left on the doorstep in the middle of the night in a box that had written on it, "Sorry found in a vacant garage." They had no way of feeding or taking care of themselves. Every time the precious little baby looked at me, I felt like he was saying, "Do you know where my mommy is?"
Fortunately for these helpless kittens, Shirley David, who has been fostering for about three years, was available to foster them. She's been acting as their mother since they were found about two weeks ago. "I have to hold them, and I have to rub them and pet them," said David — along with feeding them, of course. "Luckily I'm retired," she furthered, since taking care of them is like a full-time job. They're doing OK, but "they're not out of the woods yet," said Ric Wegrzyn, marketing manager at Dream Power. They are working on getting another mother cat to nurse them.
Other kittens haven't been so lucky. Splash, an 8-week-old male kitten, was left on the doorstep about a month ago with his two siblings. He's the only one who survived.
And that's not all. Dream Power has had 11 cats abandoned on their doorstep in the last three months. I'm sure people think they're doing the right thing by leaving them at a shelter, but it is certainly not the best solution. Especially when the cats are so young, like this last batch. They need to eat every few hours, just like human babies, and when left on a doorstep in the middle of the night, their chances of survival are pretty slim.
That being said, leaving them on the doorstep of a shelter is still preferable to leaving them in a dumpster or simply abandoning them in the wilderness. But really, if you must, surrender them properly to the shelter (during business hours, along with a donation to the shelter.)
Not only that, but the cost of caring for kittens that small is phenomenal. Including formula, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and the man-hours it takes to care for them around the clock, it can cost upwards of $1,000 to care for a small kitten. Then, those kittens are adopted out for only $150.
Needless to say, Dream Power needs help. Donations, volunteers and fosters are needed to care for not only these kittens, but the dogs and other cats, as well.
I'm not going to lie, while I was there, I had the opportunity to interact with not only Lightning McQueen (the aforementioned tiny kitten) and Splash, but several of the dogs residing in the shelter as well. Every one of them was wonderful, and I could see that they really just wanted someone to love them.
I would have loved to take every one of them home with me, but since I already have a house full of pets, we just don't have the room for more. That's where you come in. If you have the capability of providing even one of these animals with a loving home, please consider it. If not, take the opportunity to help the shelter by donating your time or money to help care for these animals.
Donations can be sent to Dream Power Animal Rescue, PO Box 10557, Colorado Springs, CO 80932, or on the website. Call (719) 390-7838 to find out about volunteering and fostering opportunities.