Happy birthday, Shadow and Spider!
On October 12, 2019, at about 4:00 PM, a pregnant tuxie cat cautiously stepped into a humane trap we set just for her, and her life changed forever.
Mama Salem was a 5-year-old stray cat wandering the Federal Hill area of Providence, RI. She was probably abandoned when her people moved out around January 2019, when she first showed up on the back porch of a kind young woman who knew she needed help.
Over the course of a year, this young woman, named Nadine, tried desperately to help Salem, who gave birth to 2 litters with only 1 survivor among them. Nadine read about a method called "trap-neuter-return", or TNR, for community cats. She bought a humane trap and tried unsuccessfully to TNR Salem herself. She also contacted the local ACO, who was unable to help but didn't give her any ideas of who could.
It was by sheer coincidence that Nadine came across PUFF -- a new rescue at the time -- and would finally be able to save her feline friend. With the help of some yummy fried chicken, we were able to safely trap Salem.
And 12 hours later, on October 13, she gave birth to 2 healthy, fuzzy baby boys.
Shadow and Spider were just 12 hours away from being born into the cold of mid-October. Temperatures plummeted below freezing only a week later. But because of a young woman's initiative, they were born into warmth and comfort.
Being a pair, Shadow and Spider quickly became inseparable.
We knew it was important to keep these babies together. They cried whenever they were apart, always looking for one another. They just couldn't stand to be away from each other, so we made sure they would never have to be.
On December 22, 2019, their wish came true: they got their together-forever home! They have 2 gentle giant dog brothers, a human brother, and 2 twin human sisters- and they love each and every one of them!
Today, Shadow and Spider celebrate their 1 year birthday, a milestone they may not have reached without TNR and foster.
We don’t know much about Salem’s history other than she was likely abandoned when her humans moved away. She was very wary of humans, and didn’t really want to be touched or even acknowledged- she acted like a feral cat who wanted nothing to do with us.
So a plan was made to let her nurse her babies safely indoors until they weaned, then spay her and bring her back to her outdoor home in Providence. For community cats, outdoors is home. TNR lets them live in the home they know, but without continually making babies who may or may not survive.
But the second day, her foster mom discovered something: Salem was really, really food motivated!
She eagerly ate her breakfast, lunch, and dinner straight from the hands of her foster mom -- literally. We thought that with plenty of food and treats, Salem just might be able to be a house cat again, so we committed to gaining Salem’s trust step by step.
Salem hit milestone after milestone. First it was initiating pets and scritches, then it was begging for belly rubs. She was rewarded with lots and lots of her favorite kitty treats.
And in 9 months, she went from being so scared of humans she froze like a rock, to a purring lap cat who couldn’t get enough attention.
Salem was adopted on July 12, 2020. She loves her forever family, and shows them every day how grateful she is to be welcomed into their home.
All she had ever wanted was love and now that she's getting it, she doesn’t want it to stop.
She used to have to beg for food and try desperately to keep her babies alive.
Now, she can enjoy just being a pampered house cat!
The Spooky Scaries are an example of TNR and fostering saving lives. Shadow and Spider likely would have frozen when temperatures plummeted just a week after they were born, and so would have countless more kittens.
Their mama made the right choice when she walked into that trap.
Even though she was scared at first, she realized she suddenly had a good life, and she showed us every day how thankful she was for that chance.
Salem’s story has a happy ending and we are grateful to have played a part in it, but our work doesn’t stop with her. There are thousands more Salems, Shadows, and Spiders out there who need our help.
They’re in all of our neighborhoods, whether we see them or not. There are so many cats in our communities and they’re struggling as much as Salem was, and more. But we can help them -- all of us, together.
Our goal is to find rescues in your communities and connect you with them, so that when you find a cat in need, you know exactly who to turn to and your neighborhood Salem can have the same chance at the good life.
Together, we can slow the ever-growing population of community cats and change their furry little worlds for the better.
Happy birthday, Shadow and Spider. You are so loved, and we are so lucky to have crossed paths with you and your mama!
PUFF Cat Rescue, Inc. Is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We are a foster-based rescue, 100% donor-funded and volunteer-run. To support our efforts, make a tax-deductible donation today with PayPal!