It's a terribly unflattering picture, I know, but what are you gonna do?
The little kitty that pressed herself into my neck is a perfect spokescat for the dozens that were victims of a Davenport animal hoarder. More than 50 of them ended up at King's Harvest Pet Rescue, 2504 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport.
Despite what has been described as truly horrible living conditions, this collection of kittens and young cats is as sweet and affectionate as they come. Maybe it's because they've been starved for attention.
I hope to bring the little neck grabber in the picture home this weekend. I didn't think I was ready. It hasn't even been a full month since we had to put little Lee to sleep.
But this is a cat crisis, and I'm an animal lover, so it's time to get ready. Thankfully, I'm not alone.
As of 2 p.m. Friday, King's Harvest had more than 30 adoption applications on file for the hoarding bunch. Potential parents were waiting in the parking lot a half hour before the shelter opened on Friday.
By afternoon, in the newcomers room, it looked like the scene of a gas leak. On nearly every surface was an out-cold kitten.
"The new mamas are especially tired, because everybody's been looking at them and wanting to see their kittens," shelter worker Dionne Bergeson said.
The next hurdle for Bergeson and the rest of the King's Harvest staff is making people understand they can't simply walk in and walk out with a free cat. The adoption fee is, in fact, $60. But that includes the spay/neuter, first shots, flea treatments and deworming. The shelter can't possibly handle all the veterinarian expenses for 50-plus cats when they already had dozens.
Depending on the circumstances, some of the kitties who are not yet big enough to be fixed (the minimum for surgery is 2 pounds) may be available for adoption. But the new parents have to agree to bring them back when they reach surgical weight.
"With the little Siamese one, which we have several people interested in, we won't let her go until she's been spayed," shelter director Terri Gleize said. "People could be tempted to breed her."
And that's the last thing these cats need. In fact, in a depressing bit of news, Gleize said she learned Thursday that there are several pregnant cats still living with the hoarders. A couple of cat-rescue missions heard about the overcrowding at King's Harvest and offered to take some of the estimated 50 cats that are still with the hoarders.
"They evidently said they'd be willing to let some of the pregnant ones go," Gleize said of the people responsible for the irresponsible breeding.
She also asked that potential parents try to understand the application process isn't intended to slow things down.
"We just ask that people please be patient and understand we want to make sure the animals are going to good homes," she said. "People aren't always honest on their applications. For instance, they'll say they own a home, rather than renting. We look into all that. The thing is, there's nothing wrong with a rented home or apartment. It's important to be honest, though.
"We have a lot of (adoption) appointments set up, so we should get through the applications pretty fast."
I submitted mine on Friday. This should surprise no one.
Contact Barb Ickes at 563-383-2316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.