It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and Alley Cat Allies is happy to say one brave little kitten had the Luck of the Irish on her side! Maybe it was St. Gertrude herself, the patron saint of cats also celebrated today, who led a man to this tiny kitten in need.
Jakob Martin, a contractor who works on a campus of buildings in Bethesda, Md., was walking in a cold, pitch black underground utility tunnel on Wednesday when he heard the echo of a tiny mew cut through the darkness. He followed the cries and found a tiny four-week-old tabby in distress, huddled for warmth alone in a corner.
“My heart melted,” says Martin. “I love cats and I immediately knew she needed help. She was mewing. I think she was cold, but she cuddled right into me instantly and was super affectionate.”
Alley Cat Allies helped Martin care for the kitten, who we dubbed—you guessed it—Gertrude. When she didn’t seem to respond to movement or light, we wondered if she may be blind. Daniel López Breña, our senior national cat help desk specialist and campaigns and Martin rushed Gertrude to get medical attention at a nearby veterinary hospital.
To our relief, Gertrude was given a clean bill of health and her eyesight is expected to return within a couple of weeks. The only thing amiss is her size—she’s as small as a two-week-old kitten and easily fits in the palm of Martin’s hand! Martin, by the way, is over 6 feet tall.
Gertrude is getting the best possible care. An Alley Cat Allies staff member is fostering her until she’s eight weeks old and at least two pounds, when she can be spayed and adopted. We already know she’s going to the perfect forever home—Martin’s!
“I’ve always wanted a cat and I was thinking about getting one in the next few months,” says Martin, who plans to rename Gertrude to Pyramid. “It was like destiny just walked in. How was I going to back down from that?”
You Can Save Kittens, Too!
Now that it’s kitten season, the time of year when most kittens are born, more people will start finding kittens outdoors. Alley Cat Allies is dedicated to educating communities on the best ways to care for those kittens, from their fragile neonatal stage (under four weeks old) to the big eight weeks.
Neonatal kittens like Gertrude need round-the-clock help with their needs, from eating to going to the bathroom. These needs are best filled by their mother so if you find a kitten outdoors, always keep her with mom! If a kitten’s mother is nowhere to be found and you believe she may be in danger, like in Gertrude’s case, then Alley Cat Allies encourages you to help the kitten yourself.
Here are some resources to guide you: Check out Alley Cat Allies’ Help! I Found a Kitten! guide for a walkthrough on what to do if you find a kitten outdoors. Then, see our kitten care information, kitten care webinars, and How Old is That Kitten? guide for information on how to keep a kitten safe and healthy until she is old enough to be adopted. Make sure you read our new kitten care tips, with advice from veteran kitten caregiver Barbara Crawford.
Together, we can save more kittens’ lives this year!