On Sunday, I went to view a cat I was thinking about buying. Within 10 minutes I walked away with 6. How exactly does that happen?
Its what happens when a cat lover discovers that they have been forgotten - skin and bones, with no food, litter trays, beds or toys, their original owner no longer in their lives, left with someone who doesn't have the time or want to care for them properly.
I barely thought about what the hell we were going to do with them as we put all 6 in carriers and trays, piled them in the car, and took them to my sister Mel's house.
Firstly, we visited Mel's neighbour, who kindly borrowed us some cat carriers so each cat could have its own pen.
Then, I called in the family to help me save the day. My dad dropped everything and came down, took me to the hardware store (right on closing time) and helped me figure out how much wood and wire we would need to make them a pen - after all, I didn't already have the room for 6 cats at home! Thankfully Dad is a builder, and with nail gun in hand, with help from my brother-in-law Shaun, my partner Robbie and my step-dad Steven, within hours they created a 1.2m x 1.8m x 1.8m cat cage, big enough to stand in, small enough to fit on the back of the ute, with a door and everything!
In the meantime my mum is spoon feeding small amounts of kitten food to each cat.
Unfortunately the black and white girl is shitty with me for putting her in a box, and refusing to eat or drink, the rest quite happy to gulp down as much as they can get (which unfortunately, on good advice, is not very much because of their condition).
Did I mention that both my mum and my dad are not cat people? Dad's a native animal lover, and regularly traps cats on his rural property. Mum has always been a no-pet zone, calling my cats (somewhat affectionately, I must say) "fuzz balls", and can regularly be seen wandering in my house mumbling about the smell of cat food and how I need an outdoor cage... these same people are the ones who dropped everything to help me out. Even non-cat lovers hate to see animals in strife.
Scared, nameless and hungry, these girls had no idea what was going on.
Loading them up in the car, the cage on the back, we made the 100km / 1 hour trip home. Did you know that its supposed to be a character trait of Turkish Vans to get car sick? We soon did. Poor suffering Robbie didn't look like he'd appreciate the "poo-and-spew-mobil" jokes I was thinking about cracking.
At home, in the dark, we quickly emptied out the contents of one of our garden sheds, then I harrassed the neighbours to come give us a lift with the cage. An hour or so later, the cats are out, the blankets are down, and at 10pm I'm scrubbing out pooy spewy carriers. Phew. At this point I still cant believe its all really happening, and a quiet voice in the back of my head is asking me, what the hell have you taken on?
At 6am there was already one cat up and about, crying out across the back yard. The first feed was ravenous, except for the black and white one who is still unimpressed with me.
I spent the majority of the day on the phone - I've quickly made friends all over the place, people who do similar rescues and they have been so very helpful in giving me advice, encouragement and more. Most importantly, has been the love and support of my online friends on the Cat World forum. Words cannot describe how much their support means to me!
I wanted to spend time in the pen with the girls, but unfortunately they fight when I'm in there because I'm the 'bringer of the food' and they are all so very hungry.
The vet called in at 2pm, and said that two of the cats are emeciated, the rest are just skinny. The black and white girl should come around, and he'll get me some worm drops. He told me that the living quarters are too small for 6 cats, and to think about making more space.
The cats are so hungry its almost impossible to feed them alone - a friend called around to help, arms loaded with blankets. The call out on Facebook was more successful than expected, thanks to all those who have replied, you know who you are!
The girls are getting better with every feed, the last feed at supper had them happy and purring. We're slowly giving them names too!
The black and white girl who we referred to as grumpy, is now called Willow. She is currently out of her cage, now hiding under a rug. I'm being positive and calling it progress.
The grey and white girl who is one of the emaciated ones, is now called Ash.
Luna is red (or may be cream?), with one gold eye and one blue.
Apple is a tortie with a cute black dot on her head.
The remaining two will have names as soon as I can tell them apart!
And here is their new home, which I'm calling Crazy Cat Lady Jess' Turkish Van Centre
At this point I would like to thank my family for all their efforts, which are continuing. I knew my family rocked, but this is just unreal. I'd also like to thank the people who have donated money. I hardly know you yet you're happy to reach into your wallets for the sake of these beautiful girls. Also, those who have helped and pledged to help with bedding, food, help with feeding, and more. All your generosity is so very much appreciated!! The best cat aunties and uncles around.
That's it for me for now, I will update this reguarly with all the details. Thanks for reading!