The sad fact is, there are a lot of cats that are feral. They roam city streets looking for food and are busy raising litters of kittens that many of us don’t even see until they become feral adult cats themselves. On March 30, 1996, a feral cat was taking care of her litter of five kittens just as she did every other day. She was living in Brooklyn, New York in an abandoned garage that was also an alleged crack house. It was a cold day and momma cat (named Scarlett) nestled closely with her litter, trying to keep them warm.
Soon a bystander noticed flames coming from the abandoned garage and made a call to 911. The New York City Fire Department responded to the call and quickly extinguished the fire. As they began the tedious clean-up process, one of the firemen, David Giannelli, noticed Scarlett carrying her kittens away from the garage one by one.
It was clear to David that Scarlett suffered from severe burns. Her eyes were blistered shut, her ears and paws burned, and her one-soft coat highly singed. Most of her facial hair had been burnt away by the intense flames.
The most heart-wrenching moment came when bystanders noticed Scarlett touching each one of her kittens with her nose. Because the blisters on her eyes had taken her sight, she was essentially “counting” her babies to make sure they were all safely near her. It was at this point that poor Scarlett collapsed into unconsciousness.
The same firefighter that had first spotted Scarlett took her unconscious body, along with all of her kittens, to a nearby veterinary clinic. There, they received treatment for injuries they had suffered from the fire. Unfortunately, because they were feral, they had other health issues that needed to be treated as well. The smallest, weakest kitten in the litter suffered from a virus that the veterinarian was unable to treat. The poor creature ended up dying a month after the fire.
Fortunately, the ending was much happier for Scarlett and her remaining kittens. The staff at the vet clinic cared for the feline family for the next three months and every day they got healthier and happier. During the three months it took for Scarlett and her kittens to recover, the story of her loving heroics created a media sensation. By the time the feline family was well enough to be adopted in to their forever homes, the clinic had received over 7,000 letters offering to open their homes to Scarlett and her babies.
The clinic staff decided to divide the kittens into two pairs each pair was adopted in to their own special families in Long Island. Scarlett was adopted by a woman named Karen Wellen, a loving woman who had recently lost her longtime feline companion and was ready to open her home to a new cat. Though Scarlett required ongoing care as a result of her injuries, she lived happily with Karen for over twelve years before she passed away on October 11, 2008.
It’s true what they say. A mother’s love has no limits.
No matter what species it may be.