On a cold and wet winter’s day in December 1998, a woman was taking a walk along an Oregon country road. She was alerted to a box on the side of the road by some squeaky, muffled meows. She approached the box, opened it up and to her horror she found eight dead, badly beaten kittens. Then to her surprise, a ninth kitten came out from under the bodies of his siblings. He was very cold, bloody, but seemed like he was alright. She wrapped him in her sweatshirt and took him right home.
The woman took him home and right away she cleaned him off to make sure he was OK. Amazingly he was completely unscathed. He was just a very small, hungry and cold little kitten. She took him to the vet and he was given a clean bill of health. The vet confirmed that he was about two to three weeks old. She named him Moses, because he was a miracle from God. She bottle fed him the first few weeks that he was with her.
Years later Moses started coming up to the front porch of Suzanne Marie Martinez-Timmerman and would sit at the stairs meowing. After a few days of this behavior Suzanne started to put out food for him, thinking that he was a hungry stray wanting a meal. “He’d always eat some of the food that was set out for him, but he’d leave some, like he was leaving it for a friend”, she said. It was true, he was leaving for a friend, actually two; Napoleon and Spunky. “They were too shy yet to come up to our porch to eat. After a week of feeding Moses on our porch, I enticed him to come into our home. He was shy at first, but started to come in and make himself at home. But he’d always be looking outside the window, like he was missing something.”
She began to go around the neighborhood, looking to see if she could find Moses’ parents. “I went door to door in our mobile home park and had luck in finding Moses’ human mom. She was VERY ill, dying from cancer. She explained to me that she had stopped being able to care for the three cats a couple of months. She asked me to please take her cats. It was then I knew that Moses had adopted me, not the other way around.”
After a few months of feeding Napoleon and Spunky outside, they slowlybegan gaining their trust. Napoleon was the next to move in, but Spunky has never come in the house. “We don’t force him either. We’ve always made sure he has food and shelter outside.”
Moses and the gang became part of a cat family. “When we adopted Moses, Napoleon and Spunky, we already had four rescued kitties in our household; Patches, Sassy, Oreo and Gizmo.
Patches was born to a stray pregnant momma cat that one of my good friends took in when she was pregnant. My friend gave the momma cat a permanent home, as well as one of her brothers, Murphy. The rest of the litter was adopted out to good homes.
Sassy was born to a stray kitty in Gresham and was trapped and rescued by the Multnomah Animal Shelter. She was only a couple of weeks old when she was rescued. After staying with a wonderful foster mom, we adopted her at an adoption event at the Gresham Petco.
Oreo was found at about two weeks of age, under a car, in the snow, screaming for her mother. My husband heard her cries and when he couldn’t find the momma cat anywhere around, he brought the kitten home. I bottle fed her for a couple of weeks and we decided to give her a forever home with us.
Gizmo was brought home to our neighbor’s house by his then teenage daughter, without his consent. He’d been born to a barn cat at one of her friends’ houses in Boring, Oregon. He was four weeks old when she brought him home. When her dad didn’t let her keep him, she brought him over to us, asking us to take him. We took him in and gave him a home.
With the addition of Moses, Napoleon and Spunky, that brought our total to six indoor rescues and one outdoor rescue.
Moses’ story inspired Suzanne and her family to rescue stray cats and help to care for feral cats. “When I found out from his first mom that he was strictly an outdoor cat from the time he was six months old until when we rescued him, it broke my heart. He basically had lived the life of a stray or feral cat for 12 years, dealing with the cold, wet weather we have here in Oregon.”
For the first three years, Suzanne and her family concentrated on getting the word out about doing TNR, (trap-neuter-return) for the strays/ferals in the two mobile home parks where they live. “But then, this past March we trapped a very pregnant cat, Tabitha. We took Tabitha into our home and a week later, she gave birth to her litter of kittens- five of them! My daughter’s bedroom turned into a cat nursery with five very cute kittens taking over her room as they got a bit older to run around. We found them very wonderful homes and continue to keep in contact with their adoptive families.”
During the course of this year they have rescued another two pregnant cats and have taken care of them, their litters, and adopting them out as well. “We are currently looking for forever homes for the Moma cats, after they have had some time to socialize and learn how to use litter boxes. We are hoping to find homes for them by the end of January to give us room again to rescue other cats that may need us. We love all three momma cats very much, but feel that they would be happier in homes with less cats and being able to be the alpha female. The position that Patches holds in our household.”
The Timmerman household now includes a total of 10 indoor kittens and cats and the three momma cats that had litters.
“Six weeks ago we helped rescue 32 kittens and cats that had been housed inside the home of a cat hoarder that abandoned their trailer with 40 kittens and cats in and around the trailer. Since six weeks ago we are caring for the colony of 12 stray cats that are left, providing outside shelter, food, water and love for them. This bring our total of outdoor cats to 13. So in total we love and care for a total of 26 cats from our home.”
Moses is in remarkably wonderful condition for being 15 years old, twelve of those years spent living outdoors in the cold and wet Oregon weather. He does have arthritis though that at times flares up and slows him down for a day or two. But he always seems to bounce back from the aches and pains.
Sounds like me on a good day…
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