When a woman walked into the Paris Animal Shelter in Texas and said she had some kittens to surrender, the staff and volunteers didn’t think much of it at first.
It’s currently “kitten season,” the time of year when shelters take in the most kittens, so this wasn’t an unusual thing — until the woman handed over a box filled with 39 very tiny kittens.
According to the woman, she had found all 39 kittens abandoned near her greenhouse while she was out in her yard doing some work.
The kittens all ranged in age from around 3 to 8 weeks old, and their conditions varied as well.
Some were dehydrated, underweight, flea-ridden and suffering from diarrhea, but some were surprisingly healthy considering the situation.
Regardless, the shelter knew that taking care of 39 newborn kittens was a very tall order, and that they were definitely going to need some help.
“We’re used to a high intake but obviously something of this magnitude is extremely hard and sparks panic,” Stephanie Ann, a volunteer at the Paris Animal Shelter, told The Dodo.
“I knew that social media was going to be our best bet at getting these kittens to safety as quickly as possible.”
The shelter wasted no time reaching out to as many rescues in the area they could think of — and it wasn’t long before nine different rescues had stepped up to take a share of the kittens, including Paws of Love Animal Rescue, Awwdoptables, Kaley’s Place Cat Rescue, A Voice for All Paws, Home Rescue, Texas Little Cuties, Saving Hope, East Lake Pet Orphanage and Hearts of Life.
“The rescue offers came flooding in pretty quickly,” Stephanie Ann said.
Within only a few days of arriving at the shelter, all 39 kittens were safely with their respective rescues in foster homes, getting the care they desperately needed, and the shelter is still so grateful to everyone who stepped in to help.
“We just couldn’t leave them behind to an already overwhelmed shelter,” Nancy Berryhill, of Kaley’s Place Cat Rescue, told The Dodo. “We played just a small part in this whole crisis.”
So far, all 39 kittens are doing surprisingly well and are recovering from their various issues.
They’re all a little confused and shocked by their new surroundings, as they’re very young, but their rescuers are doing their best to help them settle in, and they’re becoming more and more comfortable and playful by the day.
Every single rescue that took in these kittens was already overwhelmed themselves with kittens in need — but they knew they couldn’t turn these little guys away.
“We are so full right now, but a box of 39 black kittens in a shelter that has no room for them — we find room somehow,” Berryhill said.
Once the kittens are well-adjusted and old enough, and have been spayed, neutered and vaccinated, they’ll all be up for adoption through their respective rescues and can go off to find wonderful forever homes.
Someone abandoning 39 kittens is tragic, but luckily they’re all safe now — and all of the publicity on social media actually ended up helping the Paris Animal Shelter find rescues and homes for their other cats and kittens, too.
“A total of almost 75 cats went to rescue this weekend,” Stephanie Ann said.
“While this was a scenario that could have been terrible, thanks to the rescue community many more lives were saved than we anticipated due to that box of little black and white kitties.”