Sadly, this rescue story begins like many others: An irresponsible person finds out their cat is going to have kittens. They don’t want to deal with feeding and taking care of a bunch more cats so they take the very pregnant mother cat to a field, drive off, and leave her there. Out of sight . . . out of mind . . .
Luckily, the cat was discovered by the land owner, a kind-hearted woman named Jeanne, but not before the cat gives birth to a litter of five kittens. Jeanne tries repeatedly to trap the mother cat and her kittens but, one by one, they begin disappearing until only one little tortoiseshell kitten remains. Jeanne tries to catch the kitten continually for more than three months, setting traps and bait until, one day, the kitten is nowhere to be found. Jeanne lives in a rural area and there are many coyotes nearby so she assumes the worst has happened and gives up hope of finding and rescuing the poor kitten.
Some weeks later, Jeanne was locking up the house to go to bed when she heard a cat crying outside. When she stepped out on to her porch, she saw it was the tortoiseshell mother cat. It ran up to her and rubbed all over her legs but then, just as quickly, ran off again. Jeanne stood there for a few minutes calling to the cat when she saw it coming back toward her with something in its mouth. It dropped the little black bundle at Jeanne’s feet.
It wasn’t moving and it was dark so Jeanne couldn’t tell what it was. After retrieving a flashlight from inside the house, Jeanne inspected the bundle more closely. It smelled terrible and, though it was covered in fur, it was singed. When she reached out to touch it, it hissed at her. Jeanne then realized it was a kitten and that it was alive! As it was late and Jeanne was afraid to separate the kitten from the mother cat, she put together a makeshift bed in one of the window-wells of her farm house. She laid the kitten on soft blankets and momma cat jumped right in to the new bed to lay next to her baby for the night.
Early the next morning, Jeanne took the kitten to the vet, who quickly agreed with her diagnosis of the kitten being burnt. Thankfully, the only part of the kitten that had been literally burnt was his tail. The rest of the kitten had only been scorched by intense heat which left him with singed fur and whiskers. The sensitive tissues of his nose and mouth had also been affected by the intense heat, as well as his paws and paw pads.
The vet cleaned the wounds and prescribed antibiotics and discussed a recovery plan for the poor kitten. The vet worked closely with a lovely woman named Susanne, who often fostered cats that needed extra special care. Jeanne handed the kitten over and told Susanne his name was “Burnie” – or “Bernie” as he would come to be known.
It was a long, tough road of recovery for Bernie but he was a truly strong kitten with a determined spirit.
How could he not be?? Just look at his mother.
A true “wild” cat, who wanted nothing to do with humans, she knew when to overlook her fears and ask for help when her kitten needed it most. With a will that strong, how could her baby not have some of the same?