From alley cats to fat cats

They moved out of the seedy alley for a nice seaside address – the black kitten is Bomber, the shy tabby is Spitfire, aka Spitts, and the playful tabby is Chester.

Bomber, Spitfire and Chester have lucked it.

They’ve gone from sleazy alley cats with a potentially life-threatening disease, to fat cats living the high life in Papamoa.

One minute they are living off street smarts, and now they’re beach siders with two sachet meals a day and lashings of love and attention. They’re purring all the way to the nearest warm lap.

“We took all three kittens,” says new owner Lee Young. “We’re keeping the family together. We’re the suckers.” 

Remember, Bomber, Spitfire and Chester were riddled with cat flu when we met them in The Weekend Sun six weeks ago. Wild Whiskers, a bunch of volunteers committed to the well-being of ‘wildies’, had rescued the kittens from a Mount Maunganui industrial site. They had ‘icky’ eyes, runny noses and the sneezes. Cat flu can be a killer for kittens.

The cats had been fostered out when Lee Young read about them in the paper and contacted Wild Whiskers. The family decided to take over the fostering.

“The ball was rolling,” says Lee, “and there was no stopping it and no way out.” Four or

five days later they decided to keep the cats. Ten days later they had set the adoption process in place, and two weeks later the cats had gone beachside and moved to Papamoa permanently.

“It’s a bit of a gamble. Is it going to work or not?” asks Lee.

History was repeating itself. That’s because a cat is already in residence – Bubba, 19, who’s also of dubious origins. She is the survivor of three ‘wildies’ taken in some years ago. Bubba will be introduced to the new kittens over time, when they’ve finally stopped sneezing and they feel at home.

Four cats in one house? “That’s okay, because we have done it before,” says Lee. “The kittens are so little, they’re eating just one sachet and a few bikkies twice at a sitting. But eventually, as they get older, I suppose we will have to send them out to work.”

There’s also a couple of rabbits skipping around the back yard. It’s a menagerie. Meanwhile Bomber, Spitfire and Chester are thriving. “Two are ultra-friendly,” says Lee, “but little Spitfire is still a spitfire and has got a long way to go. But she is getting better.”

And the kids are besotted. Emma, turning 14, Josh, 11, and Samuel, 5, have learned to be calm and quiet around the kittens. Then the cats will come running. Except Spitfire of course – she’s still stand-offish and a bit skittish.

“But it’s all worked out brilliantly,” says Lee. “They’re beautiful, and it was just something about their story in The Weekend Sun that made us contact Wild Whiskers. I don’t know what it was.”