A police bomb squad doesn’t know what to expect when called to inspect a suspicious package — but the contents of one Cincinnati-area bag contained a unique su-purr-ise.
This winter, members of the bomb squad opened a bag that someone had left outside the door of a church, and out popped a kitty’s face. Upon further inspection, they found six more tiny faces — the cat’s newborn kittens!
“She just kind of popped her head out and looked at them,” says Tara Bowser, executive director of Animal Friends Humane Society in Hamilton, Ohio. “There were kittens moving around, and they thought, ‘This is definitely not the kind of emergency we thought it was.’”
Whoever abandoned the cat family enclosed a note in the soft cat carrier that said the mother cat’s name was Sprinkles, and that she began giving birth around 2 p.m. on February 17. The carrier also included an unopened bag of kitty treats.
The poor kitties were soaked with urine and shivering. Thankfully, Animal Friends came to the rescue and took care of the mother and babies. Staff members bathed the animals and warmed them up, which was a delicate process for newborns.
From the beginning of the ordeal, the brown tabby Sprinkles — presumably someone’s abandoned pet and about a year and a half old — was very friendly, and a very attentive and protective mother cat.
“She was just the sweetest thing … just so, so affectionate and sweet, which isn’t always the case when you find abandoned moms with kittens,” Tara says. “We were very fortunate that her temperament was as good as it was.”
A happy outcome Sprinkles and her six babies — a Brady Bunch with three boys and three girls — went to a foster home in West Chester, Ohio, where Alexandria Horne and her husband, Phillip, took care of them until they were old enough for adoption.
“Oh my gosh, she was the sweetest cat, especially given what she’s been though,” Alexandria says about Sprinkles. “The second you open the door, she is purring and head-butting. It was amazing.”
Meanwhile, Animal Friends asked the public to suggest names for the kittens as part of an online fundraiser. These are the names that won: Donut, Muffin, Cupcake, Boris and Excalibur, who are tabbies like their mother. Then, there was Sadie, a black kitten who stayed with the Hornes for a longer period to recover from an illness.
All of the babies have been adopted, and someone fell in love with Mama Sprinkles and brought her to a home with another adult cat. The two are getting along well, Alexandria says.
Animal Friends has been unable to locate Sprinkles’ original owner, who probably meant well but was overwhelmed and unable to care for the kittens, Alexandria says.
The whole bomb squad ordeal could have been tragic but, thanks to rescuers, turned out to be an entertaining and sweet story, Tara says.
“We get a lot of abandoned animals, but ones that came in in this fashion … it was quite comical,” she says. “Any time we’re alerted by a bomb squad … it was definitely a first.”