The Accidental Rescue

On September 16, 2014 my friend, Lorraine, and I transported about 30 kittens to the Seattle Humane Society for the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary. Although we hadn’t done a transport together for almost a year, it’s something we have done as a team and separately, dozens of times. This transport was particularly draining emotionally and physically because 9 of the kittens were Lorraine’s foster kittens and had been really pampered. If you know Lorraine, you will know what I mean. Four of them that she had the longest absolutely could not understand why this was happening to them and cried almost the whole seven hour drive. Lorraine was the driver and I was trying to soothe them with chicken baby food and loves. They weren’t having any of it and our hearts just broke for them. Finally, the last hour, I held them on my lap and they quieted down.


After helping to settle them in the capable and compassionate hands of Jessica and Julie at Seattle Humane, we had a bite to eat and headed back home. We spent the night in Ellensburg and make it back to Spokane by noon. Lorraine wanted to show me a group of feral cats that she had discovered the previous week after a birthday luncheon at a nice restaurant in Spokane. The cats came out to beg in a corner of the parking lot as people left. They had learned that there might be leftovers to be had. Lorraine had dropped off cat food and water for them the day before our trip to Seattle and she had another bag of cat food for them with her.

Initially I saw just three kittens there and I was smitten. One was a Russian Blue and another was a long haired buff. Both were about 3-4 months old and extremely thin. We both agreed that we needed to do something to rectify this situation. Lorraine got the contact info for the assistant manager at the restaurant and we put together a plan.

Since Lorraine lives an hour and I live an hour and forty-five minutes from this restaurant, we knew we could really use some local help. We called Sue Anderson at Pet Savers and she gave us a couple names. We were lucky; the restaurant gave us permission to trap and remove the kitties and one of the ladies whose name we were given agreed to help. Her name is Kathy and she was a godsend! I also called my niece, Dawn Kiki, who has a real heart for kitties. She owns The Brambleberry Tea Cottage in Spokane and has spent the last 10 years doing TNR on feral kitties in her neighborhood. Recently a couple kittens had wandered into the yard there. One walked right into the cottage and “told” everyone that she needed a home. The other was shyer and couldn’t be touched. She became the Brambleberry Cottage “Kit Tea”. Dawn agreed to take a couple adults from the restaurant to add to her feral colony if we would take the shy kitten, work with it and find it a home. Dawn also offered to swing by the restaurant several nights a week to feed extra food until we started trapping.

We had a plan and a team. We did encounter a few problems with a family of raccoons that also live in the area. Their presence pushed the cats out of the food bowls and trapping area. Turns out they love cat food so we finally started feeding the raccoons their own food on the opposite side of a fence that cut through the area. We still caught raccoons in the trap twice though. I would jump out of my vehicle to wave the raccoons away and they would disappear into the rocks. When I would get back in my pickup and turn around, I would see three little masked faces peeking over the rocks waiting to see if the coast was clear and they could continue their investigations. It held us up some but I have to admit that they were pretty darn cute.


A few raccoons did manage to get themselves trapped instead of the kitties we were trying to catch.

Lorraine, Kathy and I took turns trapping and caught our first kitties on August 21. By August 29 we had trapped 4 young adults and 5 kittens. All were spayed, neutered and vaccinated at Pet Savers. Two adult males were added to the Brambleberry Tea Cottage colony and one went to CVAS. One young adult, five kittens from the restaurant and the Brambleberry Cottage “Kit Tea” came home with me to my guest bathroom. Kathy continues to set traps a couple hours a week to make sure that we have all the kitties.

As I brought these kitties home by ones and twos and threes, I was absolutely amazed. Although they were all very scared, there was not a hisser, a biter, a wall climber or a scratcher in the bunch. I have worked with a lot of feral kittens but never had such an easy group to work with.

It is so much easier to show kitties that people can do good things for them when they are not trying to bite, scratch and get away from us. The kittens range in age from 2 ½ months to 4 months. The first day all licked chicken baby food from my finger and all purred within a couple days. I guess when kitties are nothing but skin and bones all the good food they can eat and a safe warm place make a difference.

Brambleberry Cottage "Kit Tea" aka Faith is ready for adoption.

Brambleberry Cottage “Kit Tea” aka Faith is ready for adoption.

The “Kit Tea” who is named Faith is absolutely ready for adoption. She purrs at first touch and plays like a maniac. She loves to sit in my lap and get her pets and rolls over so I can rub her belly too.

Anthony the Russian Blue and Autumn the Tortie/Calico

Anthony the Russian Blue and Autumn the Tortie/Calico

Anthony, the Russian Blue that I first spied at the restaurant, is the “mommy” of the group. Russian Blues are known for their good temperaments and he is a testimonial to that. He washes all the kitties and the shyer ones snuggle close to him. He purrs, plays and readily accepts my loves. He too loves his belly rubbed.



Cleopatra, a short haired black female, and Avista, a short haired torti, are the shyest (and youngest) of the group. They both love to snuggle with Anthony. After lots of chicken baby food on my finger when they are safely enveloped in the warmth of their group, they purr and purr. They are learning to play and each day they get braver. It’s a joy to watch their progression. A home together with Anthony would be “purrfect” for them….if only all my dreams could come true!



Monroe, the little long haired buff male, is quite the player. He is still a little shy but doesn’t hide and likes his pets (especially chin rubs) and gets more comfortable every day. He is ready for a quiet home where his person understands that he still needs some time to completely trust. He is a beautiful little doll.

Autumn, the last kitty caught, is a beautiful little Torti/Calico combo. Kathy said she fought the trap pretty bad after she caught her so I was surprised when she purred immediately!!! She too is ready for a quiet home. She will be somebody’s little lover! Loves to play too.


People asked Lorraine why in the world we were trapping kitties in Spokane when there are so many homeless cats in Stevens County. She emailed me this:

Because….they were there…they needed us…they were starving…and much more. We weren’t looking for this….but it happened…thank God!

She went on to say that rescuers aren’t stopped by a county border, a state border or a foreign border. Just look at what Spokane Humane, Seattle Humane, Noah, Pet Savers, Homeward Pet, The Seattle Persian and Himalayan Society and all the other groups outside of Stevens County have done to help CVAS. This is about animal care and compassion WITHOUT borders!

It is our prayer that some wonderful families step forward to adopt these very sweet kitties and complete the “Accidental Rescue” that started with a birthday luncheon. If you’ve got the heart and the home for some of these sweeties or know someone who does……..please call!

Pam S.


About colvillevalleyanimalsanctuary

The Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned, neglected, and otherwise homeless companion animals. We provide both crisis and long-term sheltering, medical care, fostering, and adoption services - all with the goal of placing our animals permanently in safe and loving homes. We spay and neuter all of the animals in our care and actively promote, through financial donations and community support, the effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Stevens County. By example and through education, we promote and advance the values of responsible pet ownership and the humane treatment of animals.
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