When Daniel, a local animal rescuer in The Bronx, New York, spotted a tiny ball of orange fluff in a crowded precinct parking lot, he knew that he needed to get a closer look. He took a few steps in her direction when the orange cat popped up and immediately ran over to him.
Daniel gave the cat some much-needed love, then quickly contacted his rescue partner, Suzy, who founded the Saving Belladonna rescue group.
“He called and said, ‘There’s this really skinny, incredibly friendly ginger cat,’” Suzy told The Dodo. “So I drove over to get her.”
When Suzy got to the busy one-way street, she didn’t realize that the orange lump of fur was a cat at first.
“I thought she was a bird because she was so skinny,” Suzy said.
Suzy whistled over to the cat, who popped her head up and made eye contact with Suzy. Before long, the cat was running over to Suzy, just like she’d done with Daniel.
“She came running up to everyone on the street like that,” Suzy said. “She was begging to be rescued.”
Within seconds of meeting her, the orange cat started rubbing against Suzy’s legs and asking to be petted. After a few loving strokes, Suzy grabbed her cat carrier and set it down next to the cat.
Suzy tried to put the cat in the carrier herself, but her efforts spooked the cat, causing her to run off. To Suzy’s surprise, the cat came right back just a few moments later.
The rescuer then put a bit of wet cat food in the back of the carrier and patiently waited for the cat to go inside. Finally, the cat made her way into the crate and settled down long enough for Suzy to close the door behind her.
Suzy brought the cat to a foster home that same day, where she was placed in a big, sunny bathroom for quarantine. She showered the cat with love and cuddles, then gave her a name.
The rescuer gave Flamingo the typical medication for worms and fleas but decided that she was still too skinny to be spayed. Her plan was to put Flamingo on a strict feeding schedule to help the cat gain 2 pounds before undergoing anesthesia.
But one night, a few days after her rescue, Flamingo’s foster mom reached out to Suzy with shocking news.
“She called and said, ‘I think she’s pregnant,’” Suzy said.
Suzy went to check on Flamingo the next day, and sure enough, she was expecting. But, she was still pretty small for a pregnant cat and remained that way for the next few weeks.
“I saw her the day before she gave birth and she really wasn’t that big,” Suzy said. “I thought she’d have 2-3 kittens.”
But the next day, Flamingo gave birth to six healthy kittens.
Flamingo’s babies were a welcomed surprise in her foster home, and her rescuers were so thankful that she’d had a safe place to give birth instead of the busy street where she was found.
Today, Flamingo and her babies are thriving. The kittens are all still very little, but they are growing more and more each day.
“They’re doing great,” Suzy said. “They’re even starting to wobble.”
Flamingo is still on a feeding schedule to help her gain weight, but her progress has been slowed due to nursing her babies. Once her kittens are weaned off of her and her weight goals are reached, Flamingo will be spayed, then placed for adoption.
“She’s a top-notch cat,” Suzy said. “She’s really friendly and loves to have full-on conversations with you. She’s going to make someone so happy.”
Flamingo’s kittens will be available for adoption, too, in about two months. Once they’re big enough to eat solid food, they’ll be vaccinated and fully vetted before going to their forever homes.
In the meantime, Flamingo and her babies are enjoying their time together in a warm and safe home. Suzy and Flamingo’s foster mom are so thankful that she’s OK, but, in the rescuer’s opinion, they’re not the only ones who feel that way.
“Flamingo is so grateful,” Suzy said. “She’s just so grateful and happy.”
To help cats like Flamingo get the care they need, make a donation to Saving Belladonna.