One day last summer, during the cleanup of an oil spill on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, a security guard heard tiny cries coming from a roadside ditch. When he went to investigate, he found a Turkish Angora cat lying there, barely alive.
The cat had apparently been hit by a truck near one of the cleanup sites and had been in the ditch for at least 24 hours.
Soon Darlene Smith, a local fire department captain and expert in rescuing animals from walls, drains and trees, was on the scene.
The cat was one of the worst cases Smith had ever seen. Unable to move and in shock, the feline was barely alive. She was emaciated, bleeding from her nose and ears and covered with maggot eggs.
After stabilizing the cat with fluids, Smith took her to the wildlife rescue center set up by Enbridge Energy Corporation, the company responsible for the oil spill. An exam by a vet revealed that she had suffered a skull fracture.
“I’m not sure why she was still alive,” Smith said. “She only weigh 2.3 pounds and was definitely at death’s door.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worker Scott Berg, who was working at the rehab center, fell in love with the rescued cat and named her Kali after the nearby Kalamazoo River.
Berg followed Kali’s progress after she was moved to Wildside Wildlife Rehab in Eaton Rapids, Mich. Still too weak to eat, she was fed with a syringe for three days.
“She looked like death warmed over,” said the rehab center’s founder, Louise Sagaert. Every morning she worried that she’d go to work and find that Kali didn’t survive through the night.
But the tough cat did survive, and after two weeks at the rehab center, Kali moved into the Berg home.
“She’s fit in perfectly here,” Berg’s wife Brenda said, adding that she often wonders what kind of stories Kali would tell if she could speak.
At the Bergs’ home, Kali continued to grow stronger, putting on weight and gradually joining the family’s two dogs and two other cats as a full-fledged four-legged family member. Scott and Brenda noticed that Kali loved to listen to their daughter Lindsey play “Claire de Lune” on the piano.
The only sign of Kali’s traumatic past was her tendency to walk with her head tilted to one side due to her brain injury.Or so the Bergs thought.
Then one day they noticed that the cat’s abdomen was moving.
Kali was pregnant.
The family began to worry that in her weakened state, Kali wouldn’t survive labor and delivery. But once again, the personality trait Scott refers to as her “catitude” saw her through, and on Oct. 15 she gave birth to five healthy kittens.
Today, Kali and her kittens are thriving. One of the five has already been adopted by family friend Jenny Rokosz and named Emmett.
Rokosz and her daughter Hannah recently brought Emmett over for a visit.
“You won’t get invited back for a play date,” Rokosz jokingly told Emmett as he play-wrestled with his littermates and jostled through the four-legged mob to get his share of the cat food dinner.
Meanwhile, Hannah and Lindsey posed for photos with their arms full of kittens. It was obvious that Lindsey had her eye on what she hoped would become the ninth member of the Berg family — one of the kittens she’s already named Mike.
That wish came true on Christmas, when the Bergs agreed to let Lindsey keep her little Mike.
“[Kali is] kind of a miracle cat,” said Scott. “She took on a truck and won.”
And now the other survivors of Kali’s ordeal are well on their way to finding loving, safe homes of their own.
[Source: Lansing State Journal]