When Tara Kawczynski, founder and president of The Odd Cat Sanctuary, learned that Dot, a 10-year-old cat who was suffering from a broken pelvis, was due to be euthanized by a local kill shelter, she decided that she had to rescue the grey and white senior feline.
“Tara saw her and knew she was worth saving and that we had to save her,” says Sandra, a foster carer for The Odd Cat Sanctuary. “She is a true ‘odd’ cat.”
The Odd Cat Sanctuary, a rescue based in Salem, Massachusetts, is dedicated to helping animals who are often overlooked by other organizations, including elderly, injured, feral, and disabled felines, as well as those who are at risk of being put to sleep, making Dot a perfect fit for the non-profit. “Dot was a stray living on the streets when she was hit by a car; she was brought to a kill shelter after being found,” explains Sandra.
When The Odd Cat Sanctuary rescued Dot in May 2018, they immediately placed her on cage rest, knowing that it would probably take several weeks for her broken pelvis to heal. While Dot was recuperating, everyone at the rescue — especially her foster mom Sandra — worked to gain her trust, doing their best to let this grey and white girl know that she was finally safe. “She had been through a lot of suffering and we all just wanted to love her and show her all the love that she had been deprived of for so long,” says Sandra, Dot’s foster mom.
While Dot seemed to be improving both physically and emotionally, when she went for a medical examination, everyone was shocked to learn that had been keeping a big secret. “Dot being pregnant was truly a surprise,” says Sandra. “I mean, she’s ten years old — that’s crazy!”
Incredibly, Dot was pregnant at the time she was hit by a car, and no one — not even the staff at the shelter — knew, and everyone at The Odd Cat Sanctuary had attributed her weight gain to a combination of inactivity and generous portions of food. To add to the shock, Dot was very far along in her pregnancy when everyone realized she was about to have a large litter of kittens. “We found out she was pregnant two days before her emergency C-section,” remembers Sandra.
On July 2, 2018, Dot’s kittens were born via caesarean section, and while no one at The Odd Cat Sanctuary was entirely sure how this timid senior would respond to the challenge of caring for eight newborn cats, everyone at the rescue was relieved when she quickly proved to be a wonderful mother.
“She’s taken on the role so amazingly, and with eight babies, she loves them so much,” says Sandra. “She’s a great mom! This definitely isn’t her first litter; she’s had many babies before this.”
Even though Dot and everyone at the rescue loves the eight adorable kittens, they are a reminder of how important it is for cats to be spayed and neutered, especially kitties who are living on the streets. “I think about them outside and how many strays like Dot we could help save simply by spaying and neutering and practicing TNR (trap-neuter-return) in the community!” says Sandra.
It’s been several weeks since Dot gave birth, and she and her kittens are doing extremely well in their foster home. “She is so attentive and nurturing and is a great mother!” says Sandra. “She loves her alone time and laying back to watch her kids play.”
Dot is still a bit nervous around people, but this senior cat has developed a good relationship with Sandra, her foster mom, indicating she will almost certainly be a candidate for adoption at some point in the future.
However, everyone at The Odd Cat Sanctuary is content to give Dot all the time she needs, no matter how long that might be. “She does amazing with me, but like any good relationship, trust takes time!” explains Sandra. “She is so deserving of time! She is such an amazing and resilient cat who has been through so much, so it is truly an honor when she trusts you.”
Being an older cat who has experienced a lot of trauma and stress during her 10 years on earth, Dot isn’t exactly playful, but this stunning senior is known to get excited, especially around meal times. “She loves to eat!!” says Sandra. “She hears the can open and she comes right up to eat!”
While some people might wonder why The Odd Cat Sanctuary has chosen to use their resources to rescue a cat like Dot, a nervous senior feline who was pregnant and living on the streets when she was hit by a car, the answer is obvious to everyone at the rescue.
“She deserved to be saved and rescued from her life on the streets,” says Sandra. “Stray animals have stories and a past, but their future can change simply by someone taking a chance on them and choosing to help them. Strays are capable of so much love!”
Judging by the bond Dot has developed with her foster mom, as well the affection she’s shown her eight kittens, this 10-year-old cat has plenty of love to give. While it hasn’t always been easy, seeing Dot transform from a battered and broken cat into a sweet and stunning feline who is getting stronger by the day — both physically and emotionally — has been an amazing experience for everyone at The Odd Cat Sanctuary.
“She is a miracle and her babies are little miracles too!” says Sandra. “She is everything that The Odd Cat Sanctuary stands for. We are so honored to have her here with us and to be able to tell her story. She is strength and resilience.”
To learn more about this gorgeous cat, you can follow Dot on Instagram.