Cleo - aka Cleopatra, Miss Fluff, The Queen, or Mercury
Cleo was a part of a large colony of feral cats and kittens. A kind elderly lady was feeding cats outside without providing spay or neuter. As you can imagine, feeding a few cats quickly turned into feeding a LOT of cats. These cats became in great danger when neighbors started taking things in their own hands, by harming and actually killing some of the cats. We were asked to assist with trapping and quickly got to work!
Cleo was not able to be trapped right away because we noticed she was lactating, and did not know where she was keeping her kittens. Because of this, she watched all of her family and friends be trapped, and she became very trap weary. Eventually, her kittens grew old enough to venture out of their nest, and she brought them up to the feeding station. We were able to contain all 7 kittens, but Cleo outsmarted all of our trapping techniques. It's no surprise that she quickly became pregnant again. We were stuck in this cycle of gathering her kittens, litter after litter, and not being able to stop them at the source. But we did not give up.
After 453 days, and 4 litters totaling 24 kittens, we finally trapped Cleo!!!
Once we had Cleo in custody, we saw the harsh reality of chronic pregnancy paired with life as a feral cat. She was very skinny, barely 7 pounds from giving everything she had to her kittens over and over. Female cats can get pregnant as young as 4 months old, and give birth as young as 6 months old, when they're still just a kitten themselves. Cleo never got the chance to be a kitten, and getting pregnant so young stunted her body greatly. She also had an extreme amount of fleas, ear mites, and worms, which made her fur coarse and dull.
It was an amazing moment to finally give Cleo the gift of being spayed. After several months of good food, parasite control, and lots of love, Cleo's body and heart started to heal. She was no longer a fearful or broken cat. We also discovered that she is a beautiful long haired cat! She was just in such poor health, her fur could never grow to it's full potential. Now that Cleo was healthy, she was in a unique situation. She was not quite socialized enough for adoption, but she also could not return to her unsafe home outdoors. We pondered what her future would look like for a long time, and then something remarkable happened. An amazing family stepped up to take Cleo into their home, and she was reunited with FOUR of her family members. Two of her kittens, and what we assume to be two of her brothers. We could not be more thrilled for Cleo, now lovingly named Mercury. She is doing great in her forever home and is finally living her best life in retirement.