Julia Parsons of Carbonear awoke at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8, to the screaming sounds of a young kitten outside her house. She went outside with a flashlight, and tracked down the creature making the sound under her doorstep.
While waiting to rescue the tiny ball of fluff, who is believed to be 10-weeks-old, the screaming and whimpering stopped.
“I thought it had died under the doorstep,” Parsons told The Compass last week.
The kitten was alive, but sustained a severe tail injury. Parsons had no idea who dropped off the kitten, now named Tailor. She was disappointed it was just thrown out like trash.
“My neighbour saw a grey or light-coloured car driving down the road around the same time the kitten had been dropped off,” she noted. “They could have at least knocked on the door.”
The neighbour also saw the three occupants of the vehicle, whom Parsons said were laughing while she was searching for the kitten.
She was fearful at first, because there was a lot of blood coming from the tail. But after a few days, the bleeding stopped.
Parsons owns numerous animals and has fostered many in the past. As a child she would bring home all kinds of wild animals to save them, including seagulls and crows. Many people look to her for advice if they have animals they no longer want or if they find abandoned cats or dogs.
Tailor generally appeared to be OK, but her tail was broken. A broken tail can cause problems for a cat’s spine, bowel and bladder. Sometimes the injuries can heal themselves, but Tailor’s was excessive.
Parsons immediately posted to Facebook. The cost of surgery was going to be $500.
“I would have paid for it myself, but all these people offered to help,” she said.
After an online auction and donations, the surgery was paid in full and there is some money left over to use for other animals.
Last Thursday, Tailor’s tail was amputated at the Baccalieu Trail Animal Hospital in Bay Roberts. She was still learning to balance without it as of Friday.
Injury and abandonment
It was determined her tail was either pulled or squat in a door. It is not known if that is why she was dropped off.
This is not the first animal that had been dropped off to Parsons’ home. In fact, she has come home to find dogs tied to her shed and even a cat she did not own inside her home.
“There’s just no room in the inn,” she said.
Parsons had been rescuing animals for about 10 years, but she gave it up for four years when it became too demanding while also trying toraise two small children. She recently began helping out again.
“I used to get so many calls,” she explained. “I had to change my number three times in one year.”
Since Tailor was dropped off there have been security cameras installed on Parsons’ home. She has confirmed if anyone abandons animals without notifying her, she will have them charged.
It’s not just Parsons that is bombarded with phone calls either.
Denise Sooley-Critch of Cavendish has formed a friendship with Parsons. The two work together often and speak several times a day about abandoned animals.
“I get at least a phone call a day,” Sooley-Critch explained. “And at least a couple of (Facebook) messages a day.”
With Sooley-Critch, there are often times she doesn’t see an animal if it’s dropped on her doorstep.
She has large dogs that often scare away kittens if they’re dropped off. Just last week a kitten was found not far from her home, and she believes there were more.
It’s not a cheap process either. The animals that are found or abandoned need food, shelter and other essentials. Parsons, Sooley-Critch and the local SPCA provide all the necessities when someone fosters a cat.
The number of feral and semi-feral cats and abandoned domestic ones has grown exponentially, according to Sooley-Critch. She believes there is a reason for this.
“I believe it has gotten so bad because of the ‘no kill’ groups,” she said. “We’re living in the real world. We need euthanasia.”
There is a stigma around euthanizing an animal, but both Parsons and Sooley-Critch believe sometimes it’s the only way. Illness and injury is often the reason.
In fact, Tailor was almost euthanized. But the support of the community is what helped save her.
Parsons’ Facebook post was shared far and wide, and people were reaching out from all over with donations for the online auction. But that doesn’t seem to be the case when there are other animals that need homes, Parsons said.
Parsons and Sooley-Critch hope more people will foster animals, especially cats. There are plans for an SPCA shelter for the Trinity-Conception area, but until then, there will be more homes needed. The SPCA also take donations of food, litter and old blankets.
As for Tailor, she has been adopted to a loving home with other animals, and Parsons couldn’t be happier the community came together to save her.