Shelby had three kittens when she lost her home. She was lucky in one sense - when her owner was evicted from her apartment, she didn't just dump Shelby and her babies as so many people do. She called NGAA and we took Shelby in. But that was just the beginning of Shelby's story.
Shelby and her babies entered a foster home. "Shelby was an incredible mama," says her caretaker. "She never ate until all her kittens had had their fill. If she felt they weren't drinking enough water, she showed them how it was done and watched to make sure they learned. When the kittens were done eating, Shelby would find a paper towel and cover the leftover food."
Shelby gave birth to seven more kittens. Her body was stressed from having two litters so close together.
The day after her kittens were born, Shelby's eyes were glassy and she was clearly sick. Her caretaker took her to the vet where she stayed for two days. When she came home, she was on two strong medications and couldn't nurse her brand new babies.
Shelby's caretaker was feeding the kittens with an eye dropper - every two hours around the clock. Each feeding and other necessary care took close to an hour. "I took a week off work," she says, "and was so sleep-deprived I could hardly think straight."
NGAA raised $700 for Shelby's vet care and provided formula, vitamins and supplies for her kittens. We also paid to have Shelby and all her kittens spayed and neutered when the time was right.
Shelby and her surviving kittens - the first and second litters - all have happy homes now, and there's no chance any of them will end up pregnant and/or causing a pregnancy.
A one-time trip to a vet or spay/neuter clinic and none of this heartache, stress and expense would have been necessary. And we would have been happy to help pay for it.
Two weeks into her stay at her foster home, Shelby's caretaker realized that Shelby was pregnant again. The three kittens she already had weren't even three months old.
Shelby's owner had allowed her to go outside after her first litter was born. The inevitable happened.
The kittens made it through the first week, but just as Shelby was able to start nursing again, the littlest one died. Then another died. Then one more.
Shelby's caretaker buried the three babies in a tiny grave her son had dug.
The remaining kittens needed supplemental feeding for the second week as Shelby finished healing.