A wild mother cat with four kittens was found living under ramps and in drain pipes at Creekside School in Lincoln, California. We received a frantic voice mail from three girls: Samantha Kelly (11) and her sisters, Jenny (12) and Sam Keck (11). They were eager to trap the whole family and bring them into FieldHaven Feline Center. They arrived in the driveway ten minutes later via bicycle. We supplied them with a trap, two carriers, and food, as they wanted to trap the felines themselves.
The girls managed to capture all five kitties, all of which were rather feral. The hissing and spitting kittens were estimated as being roughly five weeks old. We met with the girls to discuss how much time and socialization it would take to make them friendly so that people could adopt them. This was the beginning of Project Orange.
First, we had the mother cat spayed at Animal Spay Neuter Clinic in Auburn, California. Upon recovery, she was placed at a ranch. The four Project Orange kittens were named Blossom, Poppy, Julius, and OJ (Orange Juice). Samantha, Jenny, and Sam participated in the daily care of the kittens, including flea baths, nail clipping, and cuddles/hugs. As weeks passed, each kitten started to show their personality and they became more receptive to cuddling.
On their third week at FieldHaven, the kittens came down with an acute case of upper respiratory infections in spite of our sanitation procedures. Volunteers worked hard to pull the kittens through. Kerrie Johnson acted as nurse and monitored them in her home-based ICU while Dr. Campbell at Bayside Animal Hospital managed their treatment. While things were uncertain for a few days, they turned around and were soon back at FieldHaven to recover before their next big event: spaying and neutering.
OJ and Julius were neutered at Animal Spay Neuter Clinic, while Poppy and Blossom received their spay surgeries from the Blue Ravine Vet Hospital in Folsom, California thanks to a generous offer. The hospital hosted a spay day where the Project Orange team could come to the clinic to observe the procedures from start to finish. We received a guided tour of spay surgery, from anesthesia to recovery, by the wonderful staff at Blue Ravine.
After recovering from surgery the Project Orange team moved into the Marketing phase of our plan. Since it was now the holiday season, we incorporated our marketing plan for them into the Home for the Holidays Adoption Campaign we were promoting for all our FieldHaven adoptables. Blossom, OJ, Julius, and Poppy all got decked out holiday scarves and romped through a holiday set for their photo shoot.
Through the holiday season Julius was adopted as a surprise for a good friend who had recently lost her beloved cat, Poppy met her new mom under the tree on Christmas morning, and OJ went home just in time to ring in the New Year. Blossom, our little princess, was being awfully picky about who she would accept to share her forever home with. We couldn’t close the Project until Blossom found her family. She kept us in suspense until early February, when she decided to go home with Lyndsey and Ken to meet her new brother, Frank.
Samantha, Jenny, and Sam continue to be among our most faithful volunteers. When we organized FieldHaven we determined that one of our goals would be to educate children on responsible pet ownership, especially spaying and neutering. The Project Orange team is proof positive of the importance of this goal. They are dedicated and relentless ambassadors of our mission as they spread the message among their peer group.
Many thanks to FieldHaven’s volunteers, Lara Fairchild, DVM and the staffs of Blue Ravine Animal Hospital, Animal Spay and Neuter, Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital, and Bayside Animal Hospital for their contributions to Project Orange and all our rescue efforts at FieldHaven.