Eight lives left.
By Michele Young
The neighbour’s black cat popped out of Melody Isvik’s tent trailer as she packed it up to haul from her Nanaimo property back to her ranch in Kamloops.
It was Thanksgiving weekend. The trailer had been put up for a while to breathe and on the Friday, Isvik and her partner put in whatever they wanted to take to Kamloops and folded it all up.
On Monday, they headed to Kamloops, crossing on a ferry and driving through the high, cool mountains at the Coquihalla summit.
When they reached the ranch, Isvik decided to air out the tent trailer a bit more before leaving it for the winter.
“We opened it up and luckily my partner heard this meow. We don’t have cats at the ranch. We looked, it was coming from inside,” she said.
The mother cat had moved four kittens inside the tent trailer, near a water compartment under the sink. Even if she had been inside the trailer, Isvik wouldn’t have seen them.
That meow saved four kittens’ lives.
“If they had been quiet we wouldn’t have found them,” she said.
While she has had cats in the past, Isvik has never had to deal with four dehydrated, starving and cold two-week-old kittens whose eyes were just starting to open.
“They were really teeny and they had been in there since Friday without their mother so we realized they needed quick attention. I didn’t know what to give them. We gave them water.”
It was a holiday Monday, so Isvik called a pet store. She was referred to the Kamloops and District Humane Society, a small, entirely volunteer non-profit agency that rescues animals and fosters them in people’s homes.
Within an hour, society president Barb Zibrik was at Isvik’s and was getting the kittens to a foster home with experience in hand-feeding such young creatures.
Zibrik called the foursome — all females, two black, two black and white — “miracle kittens.”
The kittens guzzled the formula the foster home gave them. A couple of them were sick for a day or two, but the vet couldn’t find anything wrong with them. They were given fluids and around-the-clock care by the foster home and they all pulled through.
Isvik said she contacted the neighbour via email to let him know about the kittens.
“He had let her out months ago and she didn’t come back until that night (Monday). She looked like she’d had kittens. He wasn’t letting her out because she wasn’t spayed. A roommate let her out and she was gone for months,” she said.
“He didn’t know about the kittens, but he did find the mother hanging around nearby.”
Isvik has a renter at her property who said the cat was distraught.
“I have a tenant there who said the mother cat was looking around and crying.”
The kittens are healthy, spayed and vaccinated and ready for adoption now. The society put them in a pet store to show them off to potential adopters. Isvik couldn’t resist visiting.
I went down to see them They are the nicest kittens,” she said.
As big as the temptation is to take back one, or maybe two of the young felines, she’s not likely to do so because she lives on a ranch where coyotes, foxes and even hawks would be a threat.
But she is warmed by the knowledge her quick action saved the lives of those four “miracle kittens.”