Anna Purrna and a Tale of Two Kitties

A chilly May morning, two newborn kittens lie outside a cat shelter barely clinging to life. A bewildered wild young mother wanders about, innocent of the consequence of her absence. Mary chances upon the scene and recognizing the peril, returns with a heating pad and blanket, administering a resuscitating massage. One kitten responds. The search for a surrogate begins.

Twenty-five miles to the north, an abandoned Himalayan female, starving and afflicted with a severe case of ringworm, shows up at a shelter nursing three day-old kittens. A fortuitous call and some generous veterinary staff help unite the parties. The struggling newborn is whisked off to the Animal Health Clinic in Blackfoot where it finds an amenable host.

The Portneuf Animal Welfare Society accepts guardianship of the clan and though the surrogate accepts the newcomer, it does not survive. After a two-week stay at the clinic, the quartet arrives at its new home, a modified pump house at the home of the society’s administrator. They remain there for more than a week awaiting warmer weather and a more habitable environment.

The troupe arrives at its summer residence in early June complete with an assemblage of kennels, cages, tarps, litter boxes, cat food, dietary supplements, and medications. Mother, who we named Anna Purrna, was well into recovery from her affliction yet still had to be administered to several times each day. Kittens, cute and animated as they always are, receive most of the attention. Abe, the alpha male, is the lone short hair tabby while Frankie and Jonny, virtual twins, resemble gray furballs with legs. None remotely resemble Anna Purrna.

Ironically, several days pass when P.A.W.S. receives a call that a month-old female had been nearly run over and picked up by the driver who cared for it for a few days. Requiring a surrogate, the kitten arrives to be nursed by the accommodating mother.

A short time later we stumble upon the idea of replacing the unsightly and burdensome cage assembly with a camp tent. This, we determined, would at the minimum provide us more convenience. As things worked out, it proved the perfect solution. The continuous wet weather had made it nearly impossible to maintain a dry environment but the new accommodations provided not only that but comfortable confinement with a view.

A week passes with our hands full of rambunctious playmates whose only other interests are sleeping and eating. Mother doesn’t seem to mind how often they interrupt her solitude and accommodates their every desire.

I’m spending the morning on my bike and decide to take 1st street toward Ross Park. As I approach the Benton overpass I notice scurrying streaks of furry felines bolting in and out of the basement windows of an abandoned warehouse. Stopping to investigate I could get no closer than a few yards of the diminutive clutch. As I prepared to leave I happened to notice a bedraggled bundle of hair and grime sitting in a window well, motionless. I approached expecting it’s quick departure. It did not move. Only looked at me. I reached down to pick it up. It sat in my hand. Soiled, stained, blackened soles for paws, bones in a scraggly coat, smelling like wet dank fur. A homeless indigent. I stroked him. His eyes never left mine.

I set him back down on the sill and asked if he wished to come home with me. I walked back to my bike. I reached to pick it up and there he was behind me. I returned him to the sill. He followed me again. I then knew his answer was yes and I could not leave him. He was the smart one. I road back to my car and returned only to find him gone. I searched to no avail and was disheartened when I prepared to leave. I returned to the sill where I had left him and called out. A disheveled lump somewhat alive appeared. Slumdog had been rescued. And now there are five.

A few days later on her way to the same Blackfoot clinic where this saga began this same PAWS administrator stopped along the highway to assist a vehicle in distress.

Upon arriving she discovered it wasn’t engine trouble. It was kitty trouble. A traveler had spotted kitties along the road and stopped to help. One had stowed away in the engine compartment. She eventually coaxed, pulled and convinced a feisty ball of energy from within the confines and into a legion of forsaken misfits. Having been found on the reservation we found it appropriate to call him Frybread.

There was to be one final addition to our menagerie when a coworker called that her grandson had discovered a tiny month-old golden kitten inside a box tucked in an alley. Inside the box along with the little critter was an unopened can of cat food, a baggy of dry food, kitty treats, and a toy. What more could any self-reliant-month-old ask for?

Our band of 7 kittens and a now totally healthy mother were too numerous for that two man dome. Remarkably a donation appeared in the form of a large 4 man tent with 6-foot clearance. Large enough to house a large kennel, lawn chair, play house, two litter boxes, collapsible stool, a hanging mobile, a cardboard play pen and food and water dishes. We recently installed an air conditioner. Really!

UPDATE: That was the story last summer. By autumn, Frybread had been whisked off to Colorado to accompany a lonely feline female. He has adjusted splendidly to the transition. He lives indoors much of the time but often gets the urge to prowl among the Colorado sage with his pal, Pitch.

Abe and Goldie found refuge with a local gal and two appreciative young children who provide the feline pair with plenty of daily exercise climbing stairs, rifling through the laundry and keeping their claws off the furniture.

As for Anna and the remainder of the clan, following a short stint at a farm in Aberdeen, they returned to Pocatello to join an established colony, sharing a comfortably spacious residence with a convivial variety of welcoming feline colleagues. They spend much of their days relaxing among the many comforts of their accommodations when not engaged in typical feline activities (chasing each other, sleeping, mousing, snacking on their conquests, etc.)

Our First Spring Adoptions

We received a call in early April from a resident who had been caring for a small feral pride on the southwest side. She had discovered five sheltered kittens at the foot of her basement door and a diligent mother cat keeping constant watch. Still only two weeks old, she observed the protective mother relocating the clutch from time to time. A good friend offered to raise and adopt two of the ferals leaving the mother with an easier task. The mother had avoided capture for years relying on cunning and perseverance to survive adversaries and the elements. She had borne previous litters always avoiding capture.

Deciding it was time to separate the kittens and socialize them, the now five-week-olds were captured and forced to live with the annoyance of human habitation. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to mind. Two female calicos and a pitch black male had inherited mother’s while and responded with aplomb to human care and attention, so much so that all were adopted away so abruptly that we were reluctant to let them leave so soon.

Einie, the smallest female, has eyes which appear to understand every spoken word and immediately understood the mechanics of the litter box, hence the name. She currently resides in Syracuse, Utah embellishing a household of delighted children and very accommodating pets, not to mention mom and dad. Her name is now LuLu. The twosome of Humphrey, the black male, and Hannah are inseparable and headed to a life of high adventure on a rural ranch in southern Idaho where we expect they’ll uncover things yet undiscovered in their young lives.

The Tale of Poke, As written in the Idaho State Journal

Sometimes you can see some strange things in the Idaho Outback. A few weeks ago up by Marsh Creek a couple of men in a cement truck watched a little dog covered in porcupine quills come up to them. She was asking for their help. The men named her “Poke”.

They called the Bannock County Sheriff who in turn called PAWS. Arrangements were quickly made and a volunteer met the men at the truck stop and got the little dog. She and another PAWS volunteer then took the dog to the Animal Health Clinic of Blackfoot where she received life-saving help. Because of the quills in her mouth, she could not eat or drink and was thin and dehydrated. She probably would not have lasted much longer.

This is an “Idaho Fairy Tale”. The little dog did recover with the help of many hands including a volunteer foster parent. Shortly after this story appeared in the Idaho State Journal, Poke found her forever home. Truly anything is ‘pawsable.’

This story first appeared in the Idaho State Journal on 7/20/08. The “Tale” was written by Tina Christensen, owner of Portneuf Kennels. To read more “Tales of Tails” written by Tina visit her website,

Rescued Twins

PAWS volunteer Vicki received a visit from a neighbor several weeks back that had spotted a feral mother cat and three kittens in an abandoned barn behind her home. Vicki, the ever-ready pet rescuer, sprung quickly to action trapping two of the intrepid felines. A few calls later and the kittens were on their way to a local kittie nursery to be preened for life in the human realm.

Timid and quite cautious on arrival, the two fuzzy brothers, a soft charcoal with white bib and stockings, gradually adjusted to indoor living conditions with the help of the three resident rescue kittens already ruling the roost. Playful and curious as kittens will be, these two precocious tots are now seeking a permanent residence, following in the footsteps of their adoptive housemates.

Puddy and Tat are two 8 week old longhaired neutered and vaccinated males who enjoy wrestling, eating, sleeping and the great outdoors.

UPDATE: Serendipity ruled on this first Saturday of June as a perfect match materialized out of sheer chance. A trip to the Petco adoption site and a few moments with our young celebrities was all that was needed to whisk the precocious pair off to their new family. Our fortuitous felines now reside among three delighted children and kind parents in their comfortable rural home. When last sighted, Puddy and Tat were cradled in the irresistible snuggle of a child’s embrace. A happy and abundant life surely awaits.