There were an abundance of stray cats in my aunt’s neighborhood. Several of them had had kittens one spring, and the little ones would hang out under her car sometimes. She called me for help. When I got there, we could not find the kittens. Then we heard a noise. I opened the hood of her car, and there were about eight kittens in there! We grabbed as many as we could, receiving many bites and scratches for our efforts.
Over the next couple of days, we managed to catch them all. We used a baby play area with a piece of plywood over it to keep them contained. I went over as often as I could to help clean it out and try to socialize the kittens over the next couple of weeks. Most of them tamed down enough to start finding them homes.
But then there was Yoda, a beautiful tortie. We named her Yoda because she was so frightened and mean that she always had her ears down when we were near her, and she looked just like the Star Wars character! She was the last one left, and nobody wanted her because of her temperament. I refused to give up on her, so I took her home.
Now a day or two prior to me bringing Yoda home, one of my other rescue cats came limping home from an adventure with a broken front leg. Both bones were broken clear through. The emergency vet, and our local vet, agreed that surgery would be a waste of time. They concurred that splinting it and absolute rest and time were our best bet. So Justine was unhappily on bed rest in a cage in my garage.
I knew if I turned Yoda loose, she would disappear, and she would not make it on her own. So I put her in a cage right next to Justine. I was making very slow progress trying to win her over. She still scooted to the back of the cage and growled when I tried to pick her up, but at least she had stopped biting and scratching. The other cats and my large dog, Joe, came and went, stopping to sniff or stick a paw through the bars and play. Yoda became used to the other animals and family members and started to calm down.
Justine had never been a mama, since I had her spayed when I adopted her as a half-grown kitten, but she developed a heart-melting maternal bond with Yoda as they spent time side by side in the garage while her leg healed. They would play and give each other baths through the sides of their cages, and nap back to back. After about four weeks, I was able to take Justine’s splint off and let her out. Holding my breath, I opened Yoda’s cage as well. She slowly came out and went straight to Justine.
That was about five years ago, and they are both happy and healthy. Justine’s leg healed well and she can run, climb, and hunt like the other cats. Yoda is still somewhat skittish, but occasionally lets me pick her up and love on her for a few minutes. She knows her name and comes when I call her. The two of them often sleep together in the same bed in the garage. If I call them at dinner time, one will pace back and forth and look for the other until they are both there. It warms my heart when I see them together in the yard sunning themselves or playing. It’s hard to say who saved who that summer they spent a month in the garage, healing and learning to love each other.
Story submitted by Anna Balduff.
This story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!