My name is Pandora, and I've been asked to be spokeskitten for my litter (me, my sister Piper, and our brothers Paul, Peter, and Preston). This is our story. We're only a few days old, so you wouldn't think there would be much to tell. But we've already had enough drama, suspense, heroes and villains in our story to last a lifetime, so we've decided to start meowing about it now.
First, the cold hard facts. We were born. We were put into an old shoebox and thrown into a dumpster. You read that right. Minutes old, and we were garbage. We were cold, hungry, alone, and very close to becoming a permanent part of a landfill. Then our first miracle happened. The man collecting the trash heard tiny sounds coming from the shoebox and opened it. There we were, umbilical cords still attached, crying for food. That fine gentleman (Mr. Dominic Perri of Roy Strom & Co.) quickly got us to the Animal Care League, hoping it wasn't already too late. If there is an award for Trash Collector of the Year, I have a nominee.
The people at ACL immediately sprang into action with another miracle when they produced tiny bottles with warm kitten formula for our very empty tummies (ACL must have some wonderful donors to keep the shelter so well equipped: kitten formula—who knew there was such a thing?). Within minutes, we were all being bottle-fed. Shelter staff knew right away that we would need to be bottle fed every three to four hours for several weeks if we were to survive. They never skipped a beat and several staff members volunteered to take us home, even though it meant they would need to get up at least once or twice every night to see that all five of us were properly fed.
The humans were doing their best for us but there was a problem - they weren't cats. We had lost our mother and needed a mom to show us how to grow up. The people at the shelter wondered if there was a new mother cat in residence at the shelter who would take us in. You've probably seen stories on Animal Planet where one animal takes in another animal's babies. But the truth is, that doesn't happen all that often. New animal mothers are fiercely protective of their newborns, and other animals know this. They stay away from each other's newborns out of self-preservation. So even if there was a new mom cat at the shelter, there was a good chance she wouldn't want anything to do with us. But it was worth a try.
Dr. Mary, the shelter vet, suggested a beautiful black cat named Pam as a potential surrogate mother. Pam had been pregnant, but she lost her litter and had been very recently spayed. Dr. Mary thought there was a chance she could possibly feed kittens. Pam was brought in, and she studied us. She watched intently when the humans handled us, frankly interested. She came closer, closer. And then, can you believe it, we had yet another miracle. She started to lick us and did it feel good! In good time she laid down (which is Mother Cat for "I'm ready to feed you now"), and we instinctively squirmed over to her. She couldn't make milk right away so we still needed our bottles, but Pam kept us warm and made us feel safe. Within a few days everything maternal in her had shifted into gear, and she was able to feed us and watch over us. Our future suddenly looked quite a bit brighter. We had just been blessed with the most essential factor we needed to thrive: we had a mother.
So now we spend our days eating, sleeping, and growing under Pam's watchful maternal eye. Although we're not out of the woods yet, I think we're going to make it. We had a rough start, but then we had a series of miracles: an alert trash collector, Animal Care League and its humans who know exactly what to do with kittens in trouble, and our own dear Pam.
So that's our story, full of more excitement than most babies could handle. I'll write again in a number of weeks, when we're old enough to be adopted. You'll be able to come to ACL to see us; by that time we'll be big and strong enough to be playing in the kitten room. You'll be able to visit with Pam too. Although she should be sitting on a throne in the Motherhood Hall of Fame, she'll probably be lying in the sun in the cat room, dreaming of kittens. Talk to her softly and pet her gently, be very good to her please. She's our mom.
Answer Book 2016
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