Those who quietly and unassumingly go about their work often accomplish the most extraordinary things. These unheralded heroes save lives every day – and their work has a powerful impact on their local communities. The dedicated volunteers with the Community Cat Coalition (CCC) have saved countless cats in Washington State, making a difference for these animals one heartbeat at a time.
Last month, the manager for a Washington State mobile veterinary clinic received a call about some kittens who urgently needed help. Like she has so many times before, she stepped up to help them.
“On Saturday, July 12, one of my employees said that someone in her neighborhood found three kittens in a garbage can,” explained Ashlee Lopez with Good Neighbor Vet. “Crystal asked me if I knew anyone who could take them. I told her to meet me and I could take them.”
After meeting up with Crystal, Ashlee examined the kittens, who were approximately three weeks old. The little cats were covered in fleas and were in very poor condition.
“They were just skin and bones – completely emaciated,” Ashlee recalled. “I immediately treated them for fleas and worms and then took them home. I fed them and gave them a nice warm place to sleep.”
Only two days later, Crystal again called Ashlee, stating that she had found three more kittens outside the same dumpster. “I examined the new kittens and they were in even worse condition than the first three," Ashlee recalled. "They were covered in fleas, starving, and dehydrated. I treated them for fleas and worms and gave them fluids with the help of my co-manager, Zoe Scott, and then took them home to get settled.”
Ashlee gave the kittens wet food, which they ate without any issues, but they were unable to drink water yet.
“After a few hours, I hadn't seen them go to the bathroom, so I had to ‘help them’ – luckily, my dog Morgan is very good at helping with the kittens. They finally were able to use the litter box after about one week.”
With Ashlee and Morgan’s care, the little kittens flourished. “They slowly started to gain some weight and become more active,” Ashlee stated. “We had one of our veterinarians, Dr. Shannon, come and check them out and they all got a clean bill of health!”
Only three weeks later, the lucky little kittens are thriving. “They’re plump, happy, loving, and playing everywhere!” Ashlee said happily.
Thanks to a community of committed cat rescuers, these kittens are getting a second chance at life. “These kittens came from a neighbor who’s helping to round up all the feral and free-roaming kitties in her neighborhood to get them fixed and/or fostered,” Ashlee explained. “We believe these kittens were left by a feral momma cat and not by a human."
Being active in animal rescue - beginning in your own community - makes a world of difference. “It’s important to help feral and free-roaming cats yourself,” Ashlee stated. “It’s all of our responsibility to get these kitties off the streets by spaying, neutering, and preventing more litters. In order to do that, we might be ‘inconvenienced’ by kittens for awhile, but really, who doesn’t love kittens? Just make sure they’re fixed as soon as they’re old enough. Always have a plan when starting Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR), especially if you know offhand that you can't care for kittens or sick adult cats who may need additional care before being released/going to a new home.”
The Community Cat Coalition (CCC) was formed three years ago to help people deal with the free roaming cats in Washington State communities by teaching classes in TNR; they currently hold monthly TNR classes at the Everett Shelter, in Everett, Wash. To learn more about their classes, click here.
“We obtained our 501(c)(3) status and do fundraising to provide assistance to those taking care of the community cats,” stated Nancy Wahl of CCC. “We’re an all-volunteer organization, and love to see people like Ashlee stepping up to take care of those she finds; in our society, too many people want there to be an organization who will take care of ‘problems,’ but our mission is to help everyone realize we are a community, and the community cats are the community’s cats.”
She added: “It’s up to all of us. People like Ashlee who involve their children in the process are the best – they’re helping to create a better, kinder and more responsible world.”
Those who quietly and unassumingly go about their work often accomplish the most extraordinary things. One look at these now-healthy kittens shows what we can do if we work together. If you would like to be a hero for the animals in your community, visit CCC’s website here.