Walter and Grace Hackett have nine feline lives at their home.
That’s because in addition to the three cats they own, they’re currently caring for six socialized feral kittens that Grace rescued earlier this year.
Now, the kittens love to play and be petted, and the Hacketts hope other loving households will adopt them.
Grace Hackett first noticed a skinny gray cat in March, while jogging on Longboat Key, that reminded her of her old cat, Sister, who liked to eat corn on the cob. From friends, she learned about the Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC), which offers trap-neuter-return programs. She borrowed a trap in hopes of catching the cat, whom she nicknamed “Mama Grey.”
She caught the cat once and rushed home to get a towel, but when she returned, someone had released the cat, probably thinking she was caught in a trap meant for a raccoon.
Throughout the spring and summer, Hackett continued setting out the trap but only caught opossums and raccoons before eventually trapping a few tabby cats.
Mama Grey finally surfaced with six kittens in a neighbor’s backyard in the fall. With help from Mimi’s Rescue founder Emily Aftandilian, Hackett was able to capture five of the six kittens and begin the process of socializing them. She also captured Mama Grey and took her to a veterinarian to be spayed.
The Hacketts purchased a cage, meant for a dog, and started taking the kittens outside on field trips to visit Mama Grey. Three weeks into the socialization process, a neighbor spotted Mama Grey with a sixth kitten.
Hackett released the five kittens onto her lanai, and Mama Grey came to the front door. Hackett scolded the cat for not bringing the sixth kitten and told her she would leave the lanai door open all night.
Mama Grey didn’t disappoint: The kitten was waiting for Hackett at 6:15 a.m. the next day.
At press time, the kittens were approximately 14 weeks old and available for adoption, preferably in pairs.
Hackett thinks that they’re bound to be special, given Mama Grey’s personality.
To inquire about adopting the kittens, email Hackett at [email protected]. If you have questions or concerns about other animals in need of help, contact the Animal Rescue Coalition, animalrescuecoalition.org, for local resources.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]