Back in 2008, my parents had a stray female cat show up at their house. My mom—who works with Pet Promise—captured her to have her fixed and released back into the wild afterward (which is a common practice). Before she could take her to the vet to have the procedure, she started having kittens. Because of the situation and the stress of being in a cage, the mother seemed to have issues during labor. The mother birthed her first kitten in the litter box, and it got covered in litter. And she wanted nothing to do with it, but my mom tried to remedy the situation and make her more comfortable. My dad and I told her she should stop trying to remedy the situation, let the mother have her privacy, and we would check on her later.
They left to run some errands and asked me to keep an eye on it, so I did. An hour or so passed, and I went out to check on both. The mom was still terrified and still wanted nothing to do with her newborn. At this point, the kitten was shaking, barely breathing, and meowing faintly in the litter pan. So I sprung into action. I grabbed a heating pad, a towel, and some rubber gloves. I picked it up and took it inside. Once inside, I laid it on the heating pad, wrapped it in the towel, and proceeded to stroke its head to simulate a mom licking her young. It started perking up, and as it got warmer, it started meowing and moving more. It had some litter stuck in its nostril and on its body, so I took a toothpick, dislodged the litter from its nose, and wiped the rest off with a paper towel. I then cut off the afterbirth and umbilical cord from its stomach. I called my mom and told her what was going on; she picked up some kitten milk replacement formula from Petsmart and rushed home.
We put it in a shoebox with a heating pad overnight and periodically woke up and fed it. By morning, we checked on the mother in the garage, and she had birthed three more kittens, but they were all stillborn. We sadly gathered them up and gave them a proper burial in our backyard. We determined the sex of the kitten (female), and we then re-introduced the mother to her lone surviving kitten, and she took her in with open arms. We watched as the once barely alive kitten became the cutest little black and white ball of life with so much spunk throughout the week. Given my history with her and what we went through together, I decided I would keep her.
About a month later, I brought her inside and named her Rascal. She started following me around the house, insisting I hold her while sitting at my desk (something she still does daily), sleeping with me, cuddling with me, and being an amazingly awesome furry friend.
Our relationship continued to blossom, and we've been inseparable ever since. There's not a day that goes by that I don't laugh at something she does or let her nuzzle my beard.
Say what you will about animals, but the bond we can make with them is a genuinely fantastic thing; I see it every day in the way she interacts with me. She's not just an animal I saved from the brink of death, she's my best friend, and I would do absolutely anything for her.
But most of all, she's fuckin' rad.