Sleepless in Sternville
Thankful for every life I can save.
She looked like she’d swallowed a bowling ball. From other angles, she looked like a kangaroo. No matter how she sat, lay, or stood, she could not get comfortable. She didn’t walk, she waddled. And she ate like she was feeding a football team. Then, after days of watching and waiting, her seven sweet nuggets arrived…and I finally got some sleep.
The people in the bodega called her Ruby. We kept that name because we thought it might be familiar to her. But I hope she quickly forgot everything else about her life in that dirty store. I was so upset when I learned that the people let her outside in a busy neighborhood with a lot of street traffic. Maybe they were just ignorant. Maybe that’s how she got pregnant…because they didn’t know any better. But regardless, little Ruby should never have gotten pregnant. Here’s a video peek at Ruby’s life in the bodega.
Though only a kitten herself, Ruby did a beautiful job delivering all those nuggets, and she is a wonderful, attentive mama. But every time this happens — every time a sweet young cat comes to me pregnant with no place else to turn — I am filled with mixed feelings. I’m always grateful that I’m lucky enough to be able to help — especially at this time of year, with winter on the horizon and Thanksgiving in the air — and I know how thrilling it is to watch the miracle of birth and to fall in love with those brand new kittens. But at the same time, I can’t help thinking about all the others whose kittens are born outside and homeless. It’s enraging to think that so much misery and suffering could be prevented by spay/neuter.
Top left to bottom right: Ruby “before” (four on one side, three on the other?), “during” (six nuggets guzzling at the milk bar), and “after” (proud Mama Ruby with all seven kittens present and accounted for.) Whew!
Of course, I LOVE Ruby’s perfect gems. They are sweet and so full of life, like all the other kittens in my home this past month. Besides Ruby’s nuggets, there were Chrissy and Janet, Little Dreamer and Stella, Sesame, Pumpkin, Iggy, Chester, Hank, and Horace, Harriet, and Hope, Basil, Bagel, and Chia, Winny, Sofie, Sunflower, and Sylvie, Uni, and Waffles, and of course, Jellybeaner and Pip.
I know these babies will get adopted (a few already have!), and I’m so happy that some of my older cats, like 7(ish)-year-old Bingo, went home recently too. Bingo’s human tragically passed away a few years ago and his neighbors have been caring for him outdoors ever since. It breaks my heart that this housecat suddenly found himself outside and on his own. A woman contacted me about him and brought him to my vet where he had a full wellness exam, a much-needed bath, his vaccinations, and a dental. He’s a lap guy, awesome with people and now he has a loving home of his own with a fabulous former adopter family. No more struggling outdoors for sweet Bingo!
And then there’s Cleo. This sweet senior was dumped by her family in her golden years, just as she was getting sick. When she arrived at Animal League America, we learned she had severe arthritis and ocular cancer. We agreed that this mushy lap cat deserved to be cozy in her last few months, with a family who would love her until her last moment. I posted her story, and one of my incredible Instagram friends contacted us immediately and adopted Cleo that very day.
@humaneli. John told me that poor Ralph was wearing a cruel “no crow” collar that strangled him every time he tried to use his voice. The kind homeowners who found him fed him berries and fell in love — but they knew he was in trouble. That’s when they reached out to me. Though Ralph was abandoned, he is one of the lucky ones! John told me that as many as 6 billion male chicks are killed around the world every year, simply for the crime of not laying eggs!At about this same time, I was contacted about Ralph the rooster who’d been living on a patio in Glen Clove, Long Island, for more than two weeks. I posted his situation and in a matter of hours, he was safe in the arms of my friend John Di Leonardo of Humane Long Island
It’s always wonderful when any animal gets a precious second chance, especially when it’s an older animal. Because November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month, I want to share some very special seniors, including two kitties waiting to meet you at Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center.
But first Rocky’s story. In late September I posted a photo of a sweet Newfie mix, along with his story, calling him “120 pounds of LOVE!!” This 8-year-old handsome hunk was adopted as a puppy and sadly returned when his humans decided they no longer wanted him. Rocky had a tough few weeks after he was surrendered to us. He refused to eat and spent his days looking around and waiting for his humans to pick him up. (Utterly heartbreaking.) But before too long, he completely came around, stealing the hearts of staff and volunteers with his bunny hops and enthusiasm for life.
He also stole the heart of one of my IG friends who read my post and fell in love.
I was thrilled to get Rocky’s fantastic news, and once again amazed at the power of social media to save and transform lives. So I’m hoping some of that magic will rub off on two other sweet seniors still awaiting adoption at Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center, which this month is celebrating its fourth incredible anniversary!
And in honor of Rocky’s adoption, I want to tell you about two great dogs waiting for you at NSALA.
This time of year always feels like the right moment to step back and count my blessings. And this Thanksgiving season, with so much strife and sadness in the world, giving thanks is especially important.
And so I want to say how grateful I am to have an opportunity to advocate for so many wonderful animals like Rocky, Chuck Morris, Isabel, Cinnamon, and Jade. I’m truly grateful for my dedicated co-workers at NSALA, my incredible IG friends, and my husband, whose support means everything to me.
I do believe that in these dark days, people are coming to my IG to escape. It makes me feel good that I can offer some joy and smiles at such a horrific time.
And I will never complain about lost sleep if the result is as precious as this, one of Mama Ruby’s newborn nuggets sweetly sleeping under my hand. The peace, innocence, and vulnerability touch my heart. I am so thankful for this moment and for being able to share it with you.
Peace and Happy Thanksgiving,
P.S. It’s not too late to join me for our Celebration of Rescue on Friday, November 17. You can attend in person or virtually. No matter where you are, you can take part in the online auction and support our no-kill mission while having fun. The array of items up for bid is fantastic, everything from a weekend at Lake Tahoe to a gourmet three-course vegan dinner for 10 in New York to jewelry and tickets for Billy Joel in The Garden! The auction closes on November 27 at 11:59 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to place your bid.