If you see something, say something

By Denise LeBeau

Rachel McCrystal, major gifts manager for Best Friends Animal Society, is a frequent customer at her local Enterprise Rent-a-Car just outside of Philadelphia. She travels often for work and has made friendly acquaintances of their staff. When she noticed some free-roaming felines (aka community cats) on their property, she asked the staff if they were aware of trap/neuter/return (TNR) and shared some TNR pamphlets with them, along with local spay/neuter resources.

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Mama cat, Brandi

Dan, Rachel’s husband, stopped by the car rental place in November 2011. He discovered that a beautiful gray cat on the property had six kittens who were two days old. The mother cat, dubbed Brandi, was a youngster herself, and the office staff was concerned about the welfare of the feline family. Brandi had had a previous litter that perished during Hurricane Irene, and the staff didn’t want a repeat incident. While Brandi and her new litter had upper respiratory infections, they would recover just fine if they had a warm, safe place to go.

Finding a good foster fit

Dan quickly scooped up Brandi and her brood and took them home. There he made sure they were comfortable for a short-term stay in their basement. Dan and Rachel’s rambunctious, dog-abundant home wouldn’t be a good fit for a long time, but it was fine in this pinch.

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A box full of kittens

As a quiet long-term space was being located, another short-term foster home was secured. A post on Facebook was pretty much all it took for the next rescue angel to swoop in.

Krista Peel saw the post and knew she could help. She and her husband run an artists’ residency, and for a few months of the year, they have extra rooms that can be used for fostering. So the "Joads" — Upside Down, Fatty, Runty, Skunky, Philosopher and Turtle, along with Brandi — all headed out for deluxe accommodations. Rachel cleverly named this cat family as an homage to the famed family in the John Steinbeck book "Grapes of Wrath." Fittingly, the Joads were looking for a better way of life.

Making a difference through fostering

Krista is no stranger to the world of fostering — in fact, she’s admittedly addicted. Though she is a young, first-time mother herself, she could not turn her back on this feline family in need.

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These kitties still need homes!

"We have three cats already and that’s a good number for our home," says Krista. "But if you love cats, you want to help them, but you can’t take them all in. Fostering feeds that need to make a difference while not overstretching your own resources." She goes on to explain: "We’ve had quite a few fosters, but there’s something so special about Brandi."

There’s a lesson here for all of us on the road to No More Homeless Pets: If — like Rachel and Dan — you see something, say something. And — like Krista — then do something.

Help save a life

Brandi and a few of her kittens are still looking for their forever family. If you are interested in adopting one of these cats, please email kristapeel@gmail.com for more information.

Get involved

Want to help the community cats in your neighborhood? Find out more about trap/neuter/return.