A passerby found 12 abandoned kittens trapped in a cage and shivering in the snow.
14 inches of snow recently fell in Campbell County, Virginia, and while many people hid in warm houses to avoid the cold weather, the helpless cats had no choice but to face the freezing conditions.
On December 12 a woman walking by spotted the wire cage sticking out of a mound of snow. As the crate was located far from any houses, she knew something was off and went to investigate.
As the passerby approached the cage she saw the collection of shivering cats and kittens trapped inside, with snow piled up on the side of their metal enclosure.
The woman called animal control and Melissa Labryer arrived at the scene. Almost immediately she saw some of the tiny kittens, who appeared to be only 5 or 6 weeks old, lying still on the freezing ground, the Dodo report.
Melissa quickly moved the shivering animals into dry carriers and headed to the nearest animal shelter.
According to Barbe Shackelford, director of Friends of Campbell County Animal Control, Melissa called for assistance, saying:
I need help! I have frozen cats and I need some volunteers to help me back at the shelter.
Barbe explained to the Dodo how the volunteers jumped into action, saying:
[Labryer] mentioned there were 12 cats in need of revival.
So the volunteer who got the call quickly put out a request for assistance from any other volunteers who happened to be currently logged in to the Facebook Messenger chat group.
The volunteers quickly taught themselves how to treat hypothermia and gathered towels to help warm the poor felines.
Within minutes of our arrival, we had a triage area established for the cats. We started drying them immediately, but were really concerned about the four babies, who were under 1 pound each, and were so cold and wet. They were not moving.
In order to warm the cats as quickly as possible the hardworking humans untucked their shirts and put the kittens next to their skin along with hot water bottles to try and regulate their body temperatures.
Incredibly, before long the little fur babies started to show signs of life. Thanks to the volunteers the formerly freezing cats were soon warm and dry, and started grooming themselves as if nothing had happened.
All the cats were purring and enjoying attention by the time we had cleaned up and were ready to leave.
Four of the lovely felines from the group, which has been dubbed the ‘frozen 12’, have already been adopted, while a couple of others are ready and waiting to find their forever homes.
The babies who were found lying on the ground still have some way to go in the way of recovery, as Barbe explained:
They are eating well, but the tiniest one, the little black one with such expressive eyes, had a setback, and is very fragile. [He] will need TLC for some time before we feel confident he will survive his ordeal.
Hopefully they will all make excellent recoveries and will soon find loving homes!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.