The saga of Pandora and her secrets…
Settle in NEASTers, grab a tea or coffee (white with one for me please!) and check out the story of Pandora… Queen of Cosy Corner.
It all started in mid November 2018 when Dot contacted us to report three approx 6 month old kittens hanging around a popular camping spot in St Helens. Whilst two behaved in the usual less-domestic manner, one was particularly friendly, smooching around their ankles and asking for pats. Dot felt it was clear that they were a dumped litter. The friendly one was very food driven, and Dot kept it around with treats and attempted to catch it twice but unfortunately the kitten escaped both times. We told her we’d keep on it – and we did. There was something about this kitten…
Come early January this year we were contacted once again regarding this friendly kit, this time by Anna. Anna reported a very similar scenario – a friendly cat hanging around camp for food, spending lots of quality time with them asking for attention and treats. We knew precisely who she was talking about! Anna felt the kitten “seems far better suited to a more domestic life than this bush one”. Unfortunately Anna wasn’t equipped to try and catch the kitten, and when a wonderful supporter of the North East Animal Sanctuary Tasmania by the name of Tim went to the camp site to try and catch it, it was nowhere to be seen. So we came up with another plan.
The mysterious kitty!
A poster was created – have you seen this kitty? We were lucky that Anna took a very clear photo of the kitten (as shown here!) and at this point we still had no idea if it was a girl or a boy. Tim distributed this poster, including contact details for the sanctuary, around the campsite and we all waited and hoped that someone would see her again, and contact us. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long.
Come early February, Katelyn contacted us. Katelyn had been spending time with the kitty in question twice a day, and again, we knew exactly who she was talking about! She reported the very same thing that Dot and Anna said – that the kit was very friendly, coming in for attention and food, generally presenting as a domestic pet. Only Katelyn brought some more news – that the puss in question had a large fishhook in their mouth, and that it was a girl… and she looked pregnant or like she’d recently had a litter. Time was no longer on our side, and our rescue efforts had just become both more important and a lot more difficult.
So Katelyn had joined the catch the kitty team! She set up her own crate, but unfortunately the crate wasn’t a great design for the job and after a failed attempt at catching her, Katelyn had to return home. Luckily for everyone, she left her mum and dad Simone and Glenn on the task as they were staying on for a few more days.
By this time, around a week had passed where we were all waiting for news. If this girl was in fact heavily pregnant as we feared, every day counted – she could go into labor and hide out and we wouldn’t see her again before Simone and Glenn left, and every day deeper into the pregnancy would complicate things further as we were worried she’d fight or panic, and handling her would risk the babies. Added to that, stress could cause her to go into early labor and lose her litter, which no one wanted at this point. We may have gone into this to save one life, but now it looked like we had taken on the responsibility for more. And of course on top of that… there was the hook to contend with, and the potential of infection and sedating a heavily pregnant cat (if we ever got hold of her!)
(By now kitty had been given a name – Pandora. Not just because her rescue had opened up a whole bunch of issues, but also because she was sporting a nice bit of ‘jewellery’ that was going to cost us a bit of cash!)
So we waited for word from Simone and… at last! After three months, Pandora was finally caught in a crate borrowed from Dr Jeff! Finally, after so many attempts and after three months of trying, she had finally been secured. So off to Dr Jeff Parsons at the East Coast Veterinary Clinic to have the hook removed, be assessed and to find out what was going on regarding the pregnancy.
The hook is poking out of her cheek, the eye of the hook out her mouth!
Such a big hook for such a little mouth 😦
A phone call from Dr Jeff came with both good and bad news – good news was the hook was removed and everything was ok there, phew. The bad news? Pandora wasn’t pregnant at all – she was feeding a litter. That we’d left behind in the bush. DISASTER.
We at NEAST were left to decide – do we keep her safe, but lose the kittens, assuming they were still even alive at this point? Or do we get her speyed and return her to her babies, knowing that the likelihood of ever catching her again after that is extremely thin, and that she would likely be euthanised come winter anyway? We had some very heart breaking decisions ahead of us 😦 In the meantime, we decided to contact Simone to let her know the situation – she was as emotionally invested as much, if not more so as us – and beg her to keep her ears open for the cries of tiny baby kittens who were wondering where their mumma was. They would surely be close to the camp site, but given their anticipated age we didn’t hold out a lot of hope.
On this occasion, Lady Luck proved she is in fact a cat person, and decided to shine brightly upon us! Simone and her husband Glenn head straight out to look for the litter, and whilst Glenn was searching in the scrub… a tiny little face peeped out at him from under a log. It was a litter of four tiny little kittens, wondering where their mumma went. We wont lie, the news bought at least one of the NEAST team to tears (spoiler: it was me). Glenn bundled them into his tshirt and emerged from the bush in the rain, holding his tiny prize in the form of three boys and a girl. The babies were quickly rushed to the vet and the little family was reunited – and more importantly, they were all now securely in care!
Tim (who you may remember as our enthusiastic local who tried to help catch Pandora, and distributed the posters that helped link up Katelyn and NEAST) was keen to continue helping out, and braved a rainy day and delivered the little family safely to NEAST HQ the following day. They are now settled into care, and getting all the food they could possibly need – Pandora continues to be an excellent mum, providing plenty of nourishing milk to her growing babies, all with their own little personalities. They love to wrestle and are learning new things every day, and Pandora is enjoying lots of pats, scratches and using her squirming children as a pillow. Seriously, she smooshes them with her cheek to sit still so she can rest her head on them? Oh well Pandora, you did all the work, you deserve a rest.
The face of a mum who can’t spend 3.5 hours hanging out with campers anymore – mum lyfe for you for a few days, Pandora!
Never again will Pandora have to beg for food (well not any more than the usual cat anyway!) and her babies would never know the life they were supposed to live. They will all be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before finding their new forever homes, thanks entirely to the band of wonderful animal lovers who supported NEAST in our efforts to secure the safety of this little family. They say it takes a village to raise a child – it certainly took a group of people to carry out this task. Imagine if the person who dumped Pandora had simply bought her and her siblings to us in the first place…?
So we’ve added not one but five little hungry tummies to our sanctuary! And since our last post, eight… yes EIGHT little kelpie x border collie pups. It’s never ending around here.
If you guys would like to support what we do and help us pay our outstanding vet bills (and still afford food, litter and all the other important bits and pieces) then come check out our awesome foster carer and supporter Sarah’s fundraiser at https://www.facebook.com/donate/403284317113675/ or you can donate directly to our bank account as follows:
ACCOUNT NAME: NORTH EAST ANIMAL SANCTUARY INC BSB: 067 407 ACCOUNT NO: 1016 3588
And don’t forget – all donations over $2 are tax deductible!
Until next time…