Every summer, whether I look for them or not..and usually I don’t, I end up fostering and placing at least one kitten.  It isn’t something I purposely try to do, it just works out that way.  Spring, summer, and fall in Georgia is kitten season.  Because of the warmer weather, cats can breed longer and have up to two litters a season.  Here in rural Georgia, cats are not valued, except for the few that make a living as a cattle or poultry farmer’s mouser/barn cat.

That farmer mentality regarding cats also means that they are left to breed and live by their wits. The result is a huge cat overpopulation problem in our area.  Our local shelter does a yeoman’s job of placing cats and kittens, many ending up with no-kill rescues in more metropolitan areas.  They also work with the veterinary school at the University of Georgia getting cats and kittens spayed and neutered for free before placing them.

But every once in awhile they get a kitten that they don’t have the resources for or can’t get into a no-kill rescue, and they call me.

Earlier this summer, it was Charlie, a 4wk old black domestic longhair, brought in by a woman who found it, but thought it was too young to keep. She actually ended up adopting one of the older shelter kittens and I took Charlie home.  As it happened, a couple I know in Atlanta had emailed me days before telling me one of their older cats had died of kidney disease and they were ready to adopt again.  So Charlie is now “Mr. Charlie” and lives with two other cats Phil and Margie adopted from me.

Then there was the calico kitten, bottle raised by a young woman who found it in her backyard.  She had raised it to six weeks and was going on vacation. I babysat for the little calico for a week.

When she came back, I was able to educate her on kitten care, vaccinations, low-cost spay/neuter and the importance of keeping the kitten inside. Since it was her first kitten, she was happy to get the info.

Then on Friday, as I stood in line at the local big box store, with a dozen things still left on my “to do” list, I get a call from Amy at the shelter.  “We have a project for you,” she said.  “Really? This isn’t a good time,” I thought.   “A little kitten was just brought in that’s covered in scabs, we think he was burned.  If you can’t take him, we’ll have to put him to sleep,” she said. “Just come look at him.” Since our shelter has no medical facilities, I thought I might as well see what the situation with this kitten was.

When I got there, he was sleeping on Amy’s chest, very quiet, very content. This one is the most calm, good-natured kitten I’ve ever seen.  But the top of his head and his ears were covered in one large scab, like he had been subjected to a burn so bad it left a 3rd degree burn.  The hair was gone and parts were just open sores.  You would have thought he’d be skittish, and shy, but he was just happy to be getting attention.

Needless to say, I took him on.  I named him Moshe (Hebrew for Moses).  He went straight to the vet from the shelter and spent the night there.  The vet removed his scab and cleaned his wounded head and ears, tested him for feline leukemia and feline AIDS, vaccinated and dewormed him, gave him a bath and a capstar.  They also checked him for ringworm and he’s negative.

Through it all he purred..and ate like a horse.   Since he was found on a local college campus by some students who brought him to the shelter, she thought he might have gotten up inside someone’s motor.

Kittens will do that, left outside on their own, looking for a place to hide.  It’s very dangerous. They can be severely burned by the hot motor or killed.   Whatever happened, the vet said he was healing and should be ready for adoption in about two weeks after a course of anti-biotics and antiseptic cream for his head.

Meantime, he spends most of his time in his soft-sided condo, but I do let him out to play and he and Cody my 1yr old kitten are becoming friends as this video shows.   Cody and my other cats are very accepting of him after the usual day of hissing and growling, which will make fostering him easier.  Now we just have to get him adopted.

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