There’s nothing we love more than a heartwarming animal rescue story, and one man from Israel helped a group of abandoned kittens out of the kindness of his heart. However, he soon found out the kittens weren’t what he thought they were in a shocking discovery…
A normal drive home
The man in question was Hamdan Shibli, an 18-year-old man who embarked on a normal drive home from work. Hamdan was known amongst his friends for being extremely selfless and would help others whenever necessary.
The side of the road
Soon enough, his regular drive home turned into something much more extraordinary. As he was driving along with his windows down, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He looked out of his window and saw a group of kittens wandering across the tarmac. Although there were few cars around, Hamdan knew he couldn’t just leave them – so he scooped them up and took them into nearby bushes. It was at this point Hamdan noticed something odd…
As Hamdan continued to look at the kittens, he began to realize that they didn’t look like your average household kittens or stray cat. Instead, they were extraordinary. Their fur was longer and fuzzier than any other cat Hamdan had seen, and it was adorned with unique markings and patterns that looked similar to those of a tiger. With their sky-blue eyes looking up at him, Hamdan started to wonder whether these were kittens were actually wild cats.
Taking a picture
Hamdan didn’t really know what to make of the situation but decided that his best bet was to get them out of harm’s way and leave them to their own devices. However, before he left, he took a picture of the kittens as they frolicked in the bushes. When he got home, Hamdan uploaded the picture onto the internet, hoping that someone could recognize the species. His picture was soon inundated with people offering their advice, and the answers were shocking.
Alongside their suggestions at what the kittens could be, many internet users also commented on the photo to share their concerns; for the kittens did not look healthy. Hamdan was in two minds. On the one hand, the kittens would have hopefully found their way back to their mother if they were wild cats. On the other hand, he didn’t know if they were wild cats at all. Hamdan began to feel guilty and wondered if he had done the right thing.
Couldn’t take it anymore
As Hamdan continued to go about his life, he just couldn’t get the kittens out of his mind. As the days passed, he began to worry more and more about the health and livelihood of those poor kittens – and he just didn’t know what to do. If they were unhealthy, did that mean they had been abandoned? Did they have anyone to look after them? Hamdan couldn’t take it anymore and drove to the same place he had left them.
They were still there
When he reached the spot where he had left them, Hamdan was overwhelmed to find that they were still there and had not been harmed further. However, he was also very worried. The fact that the kittens were still there meant that they had no mother or owner and that they were all alone. Hamdan knew he couldn’t leave them this time, so bundled them up in his arms and took them to safety – hoping they would survive the night.
As soon as Hamdan got the kittens back to his house, he realized that they were in worse shape than first thought. He could tell just by looking at them that the three kittens were extremely under nourished and were in dire need of food and water. That wasn’t all. He soon noticed that their fur was infested with parasites, and their skin was sore from their constant scratching. One of the kittens was so sickly that he was incessantly shaking.
One didn’t survive
Hamdan continued to care for them at his house, but he didn’t quite realize how sickly the kittens really were. After two days of constant care, the kitten that was incessantly shaking sadly passed away. Hamdan was distraught, and couldn’t believe the kitten had died in his care. Although he was saddened by this development, the kitten’s death pushed him to get the proper help the remaining kittens needed. He was going to make sure the other two survived.
Getting the help they need
Hamdan knew that he could no longer give the remaining kittens the care they needed in his own home – and he knew they needed professional veterinary care. Hamdan knew what he had to do, so bundled the adorable kittens into a basket and took one last photo of them before they went on their way. He then took the kittens to his nearest veterinary surgery, hoping that he would be able to save their lives.
As the vet took a closer look at the kittens, they were able to determine more about the little kittens and their horrific ordeal. From the weight and size of them, the vet could tell that they were just five weeks old and were in an incredibly vulnerable situation. The vet also congratulated Hamdan, as he had brought them in in the nick of time. Because of their poor health, the road to recovery wouldn’t be easy – but they were determined.
Struggling back to health
Although the kittens were now in the safe hands of the vets, they were struggling back to health. Because they had been so close to death, the kittens needed extra special care, attention, and food to ensure that they could fight off the parasites and grow to be strong and independent. However, Hamdan didn’t leave them. In fact, he returned to the vets every week to make sure the kittens were happy and was overjoyed to see that they were recovering.
Growing stronger by the day
The kittens began to grow stronger and healthier by the day, and the vets were incredibly impressed with how well they were doing – considering the condition they came in. Hamdan was also relieved that they had managed to survive their ordeal and knew that the time would soon come where they could be released into the wild once more. However, Hamdan wasn’t ready for what the vets had discovered, and what they had to tell him next…
Time had passed since Hamdan stumbled across these kittens by the side of the road, and it became more and more obvious to him that these weren’t your usual domestic kittens – he didn’t need his Facebook friends to tell him that. Nevertheless, he still had no clue what they could be. After a while, the vet answered his questions, and told him once and for all what he had saved that day while he was driving home from work…
A rare breed
Hamdan couldn’t believe what the vet had told him. Hamdan did not pick up a group of kittens from the side of the road. Instead, he picked up a trio of Jungle Cats. Jungle cats are incredibly rare but can be distinguished by their stripes – which Hamdan was floored by when he first laid eyes on them. Their names are often deceiving, as Jungle Cats do not live in the jungle. Rather, they prefer to live in open plains and swampy areas.
An endangered species
Despite their beautiful appearance, Jungle Cats have had an unfortunate history – and the species are currently endangered. The cats are native to Southeast Asia and the Middle East but have been targeted thanks to their natural instincts to kill animals. As carnivores, these cats will go anywhere to find their next meal, and will often kill farmers’ livestock across these regions. Because of this, they are often illegally shot by farmers looking to protect their livelihood and their own animals.
Jungle Cats as pets
As well as this, many people are keeping these Jungle Cats as pets. Unlike many other cats, Jungle Cats are friendly and get on well with humans. This, teamed up with the fact that they look like domesticated cats and are relatively similar in size, means that more and more people are taking Jungle Cats as pets – without thinking about the consequences. Because so many have been removed from the wild means, their numbers are dwindling.
A small number
Because of their dwindling numbers, there are only 602 Jungle Cats left in the world – which is saddening and shocking. Many of these Jungle Cats are left to fend for themselves after they are abandoned by their human owners – who realized that Jungle Cats are not the same as domesticated cats. It is likely that this is what happened to the kittens that Hamdan found. Now that they were healthy again, what was he supposed to do with them?
Too young to survive
Unfortunately, the Jungle Cat kittens had been abandoned too young to survive by themselves. In the wild, the babies rely on their mother and their mother’s milk to get them through the first eight weeks of their lives – but the vets had no idea how long Hamdan’s five-week old kittens had been abandoned for. In fact, the vets were worried the kittens would not make a full recovery without the aid of their mother’s milk to help them.
A new formula
Thankfully, the vets had made a discovery that would help Hamdan’s kittens return to full health. They had created a formula that was as close as they could make it to the Jungle Cats’ mothers milk. The milk contained essential nutrients that kept them alive. Without it, they was no chance they would have survived the ordeal. Thanks to Hamdan, he got them to the vets and to the milk before more harm could get to them.
Getting back to normal
The milk did the trick. Just one week after Hamdan had found the Jungle Cat kittens at the side of the road, they were getting back to normal. Their health and strength had improved, and they were slowly but surely gaining the nutrients they would have got with their own Jungle Cat mother. Finally, at six-weeks-old, the kittens were able to eat soft foods as well as the milk and had become extremely popular in the veterinary center.
Headed to the zoo
After a couple of weeks of constant care, the Jungle Cat kittens had made a full recovery – and the vets had to make a decision on where the kittens would be going next. After careful consideration, they were taken to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. The kittens were given their own enclosure all to themselves so they could roam free. Rats were also placed into their enclosure to entice them to hunt on their own, just like they would in the wild.
A strategic plan
With a dwindling number of Jungle Cats in the wild, the zoo planned to get the kittens ready for life in the wild. To do this, they limited the amount of human interaction the kittens had in the enclosure and decided to watch from afar – with the use of cameras. This meant that the zookeepers could still keep an eye on them, without intruding on their natural instincts. Once they had matured, they would be released into their natural habitat.
A lucky escape
Luckily, the Jungle Cat kittens were rescued by Hamdan in the knick of time, and they made a full recovery after their ordeal. However, the story shocked people across the world and brought to light the horrific lives of wild animals who have been taken from their homes as pets, or abandoned by their mothers. Although human interaction saved these kittens, humans were ultimately their downfall in the first place. We need to know that wild animals belong in the wild.
However, there are instances where humans feel compelled to help those animals in need. In 2016, Darius Sasnauskas, who lived near to the famous Yellowstone National Park awoke to a beautiful sight in his backyard. That morning, a Doe gave birth to two beautiful deer at the bottom of his backyard – and Darius was lucky enough to witness it all. However, Darius could tell one of the deer was injured, for it was limping and struggling to walk.
Couldn’t keep up
Because of its injured leg, the baby deer just couldn’t keep up with its mother or sibling – and was sadly left behind in Darius’s back yard. The Doe and the healthy fawn went on their way, and the injured deer was at risk of being eaten or further injured by the bears and other predators that roamed the National Park. Darius knew that he had to help, so he took her inside his house, and made her a splint for her leg.
Caring for the deer
Darius knew that it would be hard work to help the deer, but he wanted to do it. He spent the next few weeks feeding her every 4 hours and caring for her. Darius’s dog also knew that the deer needed help, and formed a close bond with her. He would lick her face and clean her, just like her mother would have done. After a while, the fawn began to gain strength in her legs and learned to walk.
Wouldn’t let go
The fawn was so thankful to Darius that she wouldn’t let go of him. She would follow him all around the house and his backyard – but Darius knew that it couldn’t stay that way. He tried numerous times to release her back into the National Park, but she would always come back to Darius and his dog. Finally, a grown deer appeared in his back yard, and she knew who it was instantly. It was her mother.
Finally letting go
After spotting her mother, the fawn finally let go of Darius and ran off into the National Park. In the following months, Darius would often spot the Doe, the fawn and her sibling running through his back yard, and was pleased to know that she was living her life the way that she should. Although he lost his best friend, Darius should always be proud of his efforts. Without him, she may not have survived after her mother abandoned her.
Bear cub rescued
Wild animal rescue isn’t as uncommon as many would think. In 2017, a hiker and photographer by the name of Corey Hancock was trekking through the woods of Oregon when he spotted something on the floor. At first, Corey couldn’t believe his eyes. He was shocked, he was saddened, and he was scared. In front of him was a four-month-old bear cub. Corey could tell the bear needed help – but was it right to interfere with nature?
Not knowing what to do
At first, Corey didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, he didn’t want to interfere – especially if its mother was close by. On the other hand, the bear was visibly in bad health, and he didn’t want to leave it in case it died. Corey made the executive design to wait for a while, and see if the mother bear arrived. After a while, the bear stopped breathing. It was then that he knew he had to intervene.
Taking it to safety
Corey took off his flannel shirt and wrapped the bear in it – and he immediately knew he had made the right decision. As soon as the bear warmed up, he slowly but surely began to breathe again. However, Corey had no idea what to do with a bear cub, so reached out for help on social media. Soon enough, the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center got in touch and asked Corey to bring the bear cub to them.
As soon as the bear cub entered the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center, it was taken off for emergency care. He was placed on a warming pad and given vital nutrients that he was lacking. He was barely breathing; he was alive. Members of staff at the center took it in turns to watch over the bear cub that night, to ensure he didn’t come to any more harm. By morning, he was able to move and was starting to be more vocal.
Members of the public were outraged over Corey’s decision to take the bear cub away from his natural environment – and believed that he should have just left him there. However, the animal center confirmed that the bear cub was suffering from intense dehydration which showed that it had been abandoned for several days or weeks. Thanks to Corey, the bear cub was still alive and was making a full recovery in a zoo, where he will soon be released back into the wild.
Stories like Corey’s, Darius’s and Hadnam’s bring to light an important question – how far should humans intervene in the natural world? For many, their decisions to save these animals and take them into their homes was the wrong decision. However, animal experts widely believe that people who see animals that are on the brink of death should intervene, but get the necessary help from animal shelters, veterinary clinics and zoos to ensure they are well looked after and do not come to more harm.