The tiny mew that came from somewhere inside Melody Isvik’s Jayco tent trailer didn’t make sense to her partner, Jerry Deleeuws.
They didn’t have a cat at their Rose Hill ranch, largely because of the coyotes and foxes in the area.
They had closed up the trailer in Nanaimo three days before, on the Friday leading up to the October Thanksgiving weekend. It was now Monday and they had reopened the trailer to air it out before winter.
“We opened it up and luckily my partner heard this meow. We don’t have cats at the ranch. We looked, it was coming from inside,” she said.
The couple searched the trailer to find the source of the weak meows. Under the sink, beside a water tank, in a separated area that never got used, they found four kittens. Two and a half weeks old, their eyes just opened. Cold, dehydrated, hungry. Motherless.
“They were really teeny and they had been in there since Friday without their mother so we realized they needed quick attention. I didn’t know what to give them. We gave them water,” she said.
Then she got on the phone to a Kamloops pet store. She was referred to the Kamloops and District Humane Society. Within an hour, a volunteer was at Isvik’s home, ready to take the fuzzy black orphans in and give them around-the-clock care.
KDHS president Barb Zibrik said the furry foursome were lucky to survive three days without food and the cold trip from Nanaimo to Kamloops.
“They're like little miracle kittens,” she said.
Zibrik placed the kittens with a foster family experienced in hand feeding kittens too young to eat solid food.
“They were very hungry, they scarfed as soon as the foster began feeding them. It was late Monday afternoon when the foster picked them up. They were cold. They all pulled through,” she said.
A couple of the kittens became sick for a day or two, but other than needing fluids, the vet couldn’t find anything wrong with them.
QUARTET OF KITTENS DOING MUCH BETTER NOW
All four kittens survived, and thrived. All are female; two are solid black and two are black with spots of white.
Now they’re spayed, vaccinated and ready for adoption.
Isvik and Deleeuws went up to the pet store where the kittens were on display to potential owners for a visit.
Isvik was struck by how friendly and affectionate the felines were. And how they almost didn’t make it.
She has pieced together how they got into the tent trailer after contacting her Nanaimo neighbour.
“It was the neighbour’s cat. He wasn’t letting her out because she wasn’t spayed. A roommate let her out and she was gone for months,” she said.
“I contacted him on Facebook. He had let her out months ago and she didn’t come back until that (Monday) night. She looked like she’d had kittens.”
She and Deleeuws had seen the mother cat around off and on while they were cleaning up Isvik’s property and putting the trailer together to haul to Kamloops.
“We didn’t think anything of it. we were putting the tent down. Gerry noticed it was odd this cat had her eyes on him the whole time.”
The mystery was solved, the kittens were saved and Isvik was glad it had a happy ending.
The what-ifs come to mind. What if she hadn’t opened up the trailer to air it out one last time before winter? What if Deleeuws hadn’t heard those faint mews?
“If they had been quiet we wouldn’t have found them.”
While she has considered adopting one or even two of the kittens, she has opted not to, because life on the ranch would mean the threat of coyotes, foxes and even hawks. And those four kittens have had enough danger for one lifetime already.