Story of kitten from a feral cat colony in West Valley City, Utah

For every sweet, heart-tugging story shared from the archives of Best Friends Animal Society–Utah's trap/neuter/release program (TNR), there are hundreds more that could easily fill many editions of the popular "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul" book series. Annie the kitten's story is one such inspirational tale from West Valley Animal Services that helps keep volunteers focused on the prize of their efforts: healthier, happier and markedly declining community (feral and stray) cat populations.

Kitten from a feral cat colony

As a true feral, Annie's mom had little, if any, chance of acclimating into a home environment, where she wouldn't be in a constant state of stress, but eight-week-old Annie was still young enough to easily coast right into being someone's adored companion. So in a way we humans may never understand, it was actually a blessing in disguise when Annie's mom first nudged her into a waiting live trap and then rejected her once they were both at the veterinary clinic. Autumn Wagner of the Best Friends–Utah TNR team points out that while mother cats will show their kittens how to survive in a community setting, Annie was not releasable back into the colony once her mom clearly indicated she would no longer care for this particular kitten.

Kitten socialization

Annie spent some quality time with Jamie Annis from Orchard Animal Hospital, where she learned to eat, play, socialize and get comfortable with her indoor digs, an essential skill set for leaving her community cat past behind and finding a perfect forever home – which she found shortly after her capture.

West Valley City TNR program

Before West Valley implemented the Community Cat act, Annie and her mother would have had only a small chance for survival, much less any type of quality life. Now, community cats (homeless and/or feral) are spayed, neutered, vaccinated and returned to their colony sites, where reproduction rates are zero and life quality is improved. Kittens like Annie who haven't yet crossed the line into feral existence are socialized so they can be adopted into loving families, illustrating just how valuable and necessary the TNR program is for saving both community and domesticated lives.

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Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society-Utah