The Animal Friends Project in Florida was founded by the lovely Carmen Weinberg, while she was working on a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program she spotted a scruffy tabby kitten wandering around in the middle of the road all by himself.
This area had a very large feral cat population but she did not recognise this little kitten. As she moved closer to see if he was friendly he started to run away.
Carmen followed him all the way to an apartment block and there she saw more cats hanging around in the yard.
She spotted about six or eight cats there, she never seen this colony before and felt that they needed her help.
A lot of them had the same markings as the kitten in the road so she felt they were all part of the same family.
So she went back to her car to get some food and a humane trap in the hope that she could catch some of them and give them the vital help that they needed.
Sadly, she couldn’t get the mother cat into the trap even after her kitten had walked in to eat the food, so she decided to take the little one back to her car as she knew the best thing would be to find someone to foster him.
Poor little thing was covered in fleas and needed treatment for worms so once they were back at the rescue she gave him a bath so that he was all clean and then used a comb to remove all of the fleas.
“He purred while I combed him,” she explained to Love Meow. “I was surprised at how friendly and relaxed he was since he had run from me when I had tried to approach him.”
She hadn’t realised before but the kitten was a polydactyl – which meant he had extra jelly-bean toes!
Carmen and a local carer will be going back to the same yard with the hope of trapping his mom and the rest of the cat family. If they can get them all spayed and neutered, they will have a chance at stopping the cycle.
It didn’t take long to find a suitable foster family, he settled in quickly and they named him Santiago.
After spending most of his life on the streets, he is now part of a loving comfortable home with a family that give him constant attention.
See Santiago’s journey in this video:
Carmen continues to do as much as she can for the community cats in her area. She wishes she could do more TNR as there are so many cats that need to be fixed but sadly there are not enough people to help.
“Most towns have shelters or organizations that loan traps and offer free or low-cost spay/neuter programs. You can also use social media to connect with people or groups that do TNR to help with the cause.”
But she feels good about rescuing the little kitten she found in the middle of the road and also helping out his family to live the best life they can on the streets.