The Feral Cats of Malta
Kittens Rescued from Burning Tree (3/20/00)
This story was submitted by one of our shelter volunteers. It's amazing.
Wednesday my son-in-law, Randy, was burning brush when the wind picked up and a few sparks landed on an old hollow apple tree, catching it on fire.
Suddenly he saw a mother cat with a kitten in her mouth jump out of the tree. He ran to the tree and saw 3 more kittens in the bottom but he couldn't reach them. He had a chainsaw with him and he used it to cut all the way down to where the kittens were and was able to reach them, although he burned his arm doing it. They had just opened their eyes so we figured their ages at around 2 weeks old. Two were gray tigers and one was solid grey. All of them are males. Their whiskers were singed off and they had patches of hair that were burned off.
I took a picture of the tree the next day and it looks harmless but it was actually on fire and smoke was pouring out of all the holes in the tree when he saved the kittens.
My daughter went to the store and bought kitten formula in case the mother didn't come back. She didn't come back at all that day and my daughter couldn't leave them in the open because they have a severe coyote problem. She lives in the outskirts of Ware, below Quabbin reservoir. That night she had to work but Randy agreed to feed the kittens. He tried but he just couldn't get them to take any formula so I drove out with my other daughter Christine, who just has a way with animals. Christine got all three to take formula and they curled up together and slept for the hour drive back to my house in Fitchburg.
Next I brought the kittens to Fallon Clinic and the vet tech there looked them over and told me that they were not burned. Only their fur was singed. The shelter arranged for the kittens to be introduced to a pair of nursing mothers. One mother took the two tigers who we named Cinder and Sooty and another mother took the grey one who we named Ashes. Both moms gave the kittens a good bath. The kittens are doing just fine with their new moms.
Ed note: Please don't inquire about these kittens as they are too young to even be considered for adoption and we will not discuss adoptions at this time.
Now for the sad part. This morning my daughter called and told me dogs had found the other kitten and killed it. Randy buried it in a leaf pile since the ground is so hard right now. The mother cat, who is probably feral, keeps watching near by. We are going to try and trap her so we can get her spayed or she'll be back in the same predicament in a few months.