The picture shows the happy ending, but it was work, luck and perhaps divine intervention to get there!
My friends D & S from work were looking for a friendly, "working" cat that preferred to live outside at their rural home to keep the littlest varmints at bay. Their outdoor cat of many years had recently died of cancer and this time they wanted to get a pair to keep other company. I immediately started asking around, but couldn't find just the right pair. D&S also went looking but hadn't found the right pair either.
I had taken a spur-of-the-moment vacation day last week and decided to take my Golden Valley Animal Humane Society feline foster family (Calliope and the May flowers) in for a routine check-up. While I was waiting there, a couple came in with two cats carriers bearing a mom cat who was a calico (that looked astonishingly like my Calliope) and her big kittens. I heard the woman explain that while she fostered for Golden Valley, this cat was a neighborhood stray that she took in and raised her kittens on her own. The kittens were ready for adoption, but she couldn't keep mom and couldn't bear to just put her out again. She said the cat would really prefer to live outdoors.
I jumped up and offered to take her for my friends. I couldn't reach them, so I had to pray it would work out. The woman cried she was so happy and we exchanged information. Turned out we lived near each other. My friends called as I was driving home and they would stop by after work to pick up the cat. She was called Squeekers for her funny meow.
Here's where it really gets interesting. My friends had already offered to take in some orphaned kittens from an acquaintance who had been bottlefeeding them. I told them that Squeekers had just weaned her batch of kittens, but was extremely maternal, according to her rescuer. I thought she might just take over care of those little kittens.
Well, as you can see in the photo. They are one big happy family now. Squeekers has a new name, Pebbles, and she is scheduled for her spay surgery in about a week. She is taking great care of the kittens and will teach them all they need to know. They have a cat door to come and go from the garage where they have a beautiful cat shelter that's heated in the winter. Until the kittens are older and Pebbles has had her surgery, they are just staying in the garage and the cars stay outside.
Since D&S's indoor cats are elderly now, they have not had kittens around in 15 years and are really enjoying the young family. Happy ending for Pebbles, the kittens, the two sets of rescuers, my friends and me. I was glad I was there to help put it together.