On the morning of Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, Anita McMillen found a box with five kittens on the porch of her veterinary hospital. The temperature that night had been around 30 degrees and she didn’t know how long the cats had stayed outside.

“I was disheartened because that happens to us so frequently here,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s because we’re a veterinary hospital. I don’t know if it’s because we’re kind of far out, but people have a tendency to dump cats on us quite frequently.”

The McMillens took the kittens inside Braden Run Animal Hospital and, upon checking up on them, felt even worse. The veterinarian explained they had severe respiratory tract infections and probably a virus based on the condition of their eyes. One of them didn’t survive. Another one would probably need surgery, she assumed.

“We were open Friday, they could have brought them then, they could have taken them to the shelter but they decided to dump them on a Sunday because who knows, they might have been there all night,” McMillen said. “I don’t know what the situation was, (but) I was very disappointed that someone would do that.”

McMillen proceeded to treat the cats with antibiotics and viral medication but they still needed a place to stay, so she called Toni Ferencak, adoption coordinator and fundraiser at Catnip Acres. The rescue organization said yes and took in the animals alongside medication donated by the vet, who also offered to perform the surgery pro bono.

Ferencak and Catnip Acres manager Tanya Minardo found a place for the kittens and continues to treat them. The four warriors, as they have been calling the kittens, received names – Bianca, Bridget, Bennett and Barrett – and are continuing to take medication and gain weight.

“They look 100% better than they did,” Ferencak said.

Bridget, the smallest of the litter, also had the most issues and ended up needing an emergency eye removal surgery. Minardo explained they were hoping to wait until she weighed three pounds and then take on McMillen’s offer, but the eye ruptured and she had to be taken in. Even though the cat was half the indicated size, the surgery was successful.

Minardo estimates the kittens are currently three months old. They have been doing much better and are a playful bunch, running around their cage and stopping only to pose for photos. She said they still need a little time before they are ready for adoption.

“We don’t like them to leave here with any health problems,” Minardo said. “So first we’d like to see if we need to take anybody else’s eye out before they go to adoption and they still need to be spayed and neutered.”

Both the Braden Run Animal Hospital and Catnip Acres crews agree that people still too often abandon and mistreat their animals in Greene County. Luckily for these four kittens, humans were able to come together and save them.

“My goal is to open communication between the vets and the facilities we have in the county to take care of these animals to try to stop them from being left (out in) the cold,” McMillen said. “People just need to realize that those facilities are there, they’re there to be utilized in these situations but they obviously need to take some responsibility, too.”

You can learn more about this litter of warriors and other adoptable cats at Catnip Acres by contacting the rescue at 724-833-0954 or visiting catnip-acres.com.

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