22nd Feb, 2023

Written by Nicola Kruger, Co-Founder of Bella’s Guardian Angels

Professional photography by elysian

Luna’s story is one of resilience and hope. And her happy ending was the direct result of so many good people fighting on her behalf.

One Friday night we were contacted by a young man from Wallacedene, a severely impoverished community outside Cape Town.

He rents a room in a shack and came home to find that a mommy cat had given birth in his gym bag. She had six baby kittens. I’d like to think she knew on some level that this man would try to help her. He called us in a panic because he didn’t know anything about cats and was worried for their safety.

You see, many people in these impoverished areas believe cats are bad luck or the devil’s animals and they want to hurt or even kill them. He was worried that the people he was renting from would throw them out on the street when they found them.

We had to help

When he contacted us late that Friday night and sent photos, we knew we had to help him, and most importantly, help Luna and her babies. The first thing we needed to do was get him to close up the room so she couldn’t get out, or catch Luna. The moms have to leave their babies every day to go and find food and usually return at night time.

We knew we only had one chance to get them all to safety, because if you sent someone in to get them, then the homeowners would have been made aware of their presence. But if mommy wasn’t there at that time, we’d have to only take the babies. The problem with doing this was that once the babies were gone, it would make it so much more difficult to catch mommy.

More kittens

We had some amazing people offer to fetch Luna and her babies for us, and on Sunday afternoon, after confirming that Luna was closed up, they drove out there to fetch them. Unfortunately, just before they arrived, Luna made a break for it and ran off. They brought her babies through to us and left a cat carrier in case Luna returned.

To make the moment even sweeter, on their way to the car with all six baby kittens, a neighbour gave them a bonus kitten who also needed a new home. Little Sunny was about five weeks old (much older than Luna’s babies) but ended up in the box with them and together they travelled to the farm (rescue centre).

And mommy too

When they arrived with the babies and Sunny, it was bittersweet. We so badly wanted to save Luna too and hoped we still could. Luckily, our prayers were answered and, only two hours later, just as it was starting to get dark, we received the message that Luna had returned for her babies and the awesome young man managed to get her in the carrier. She was caught and safe, and we could go and fetch her. Again, the amazing couple got back in their car and, no questions asked, drove back to the township in the dark to fetch her.

The moment we reunited Luna with her babies, we all cried ugly tears. She immediately started nursing them and they were so happy to see their mom. The tears just kept coming after we put down some food. Luna was so malnourished. She was thin and hungry, dirty and badly sunburned. She attacked the food and swallowed the pellets whole while nursing her babies.

We’re so thankful to have found an amazing foster home for Luna and her babies who took care of them for six weeks. The entire family was involved in their care, and while foster mom Jackie Brunwin ultimately decided to adopt Luna, her daughter Tammy adopted two of her kittens.

From rags to riches

Luna struggled a bit with adjusting to life inside a home. She’d spent her first few years surviving on the streets, having babies, and trying to keep herself and her babies alive. She had more than a few baths to get the many layers of dirt clean. Luna was finally sterilised once her kittens were weaned, so she’ll never have to have kittens again.

Unfortunately, because of years spent in the sun, she’d developed cancer on her ears. Our team had the spots treated with a freezing technique to stop the progression of the cancer, but the likely scenario is that Luna will need to have her ears amputated in the future. This will slow down the cancer, but the likely outcome is that it will resurface. It’s sad to know that, despite her best efforts to survive, she might not have the long life we wish for her.

Luna is now living the life of luxury with a family that loves her very much. Jackie saw the potential in her and gave Luna a chance when no one else would. We’re forever grateful for her love for Luna and her kittens. And we know Luna is in the best hands and will be endlessly loved until the end of time.

We’re also so incredibly thankful for everyone who made this possible and gave Luna and her kittens a new future. They got their happily ever after because a few good people decided to make a difference and save a life.

Jackie Bruwin, owner of Luna, shares...

Luna has brought me so much joy, tears and laughter. My dogs, however, have had to learn that Lady Luna believes she’s the boss and instils this leadership with many slaps. She’s extremely vocal and lets me know in no uncertain terms when and what she wants.

It’s an absolute delight watching her get the zoomies and play and jump like a kitten (she’s then known as lunatic Luna), and then the next minute she’s fast asleep on her favourite chair inside or outside. She follows me everywhere (even the loo) and cries if I lock her out. She sleeps on my bed with her brother and sister – Dinkie, my Dachshund, and Bella (my other dog from Dachshund rescue who most certainly doesn’t resemble a Dachshund in any way whatsoever).

I couldn’t have done it without the incredible help of two other ladies, Leona and Janca, who live at our estate. They came every single day to entertain the kittens and give Luna love when I had work to do. I’m indebted to them, together with my daughter Tammy.

Tammy Myburgh, owner of Oreo and Pip, shares...

I’ve always loved cats and after my last rescue, Squirt, whom I raised from a few days’ old, passed away from cancer six years ago, I was devastated and didn’t think I could adopt again. However, I then saw the post about Luna and her babies. It was as if Squirt gave me a push and said: you can do it again!

I immediately contacted Bella’s Guardian Angels. I was so fortunate that my mom became the foster for Luna and her babies and was therefore able to be involved with the babies and form bonds from the start. I immediately gravitated towards Pip and Oreo and couldn’t wait to visit them daily on my way home from work. When the time came for me to officially adopt my two babies and take them home, I couldn’t contain my excitement.

I have an elderly Great Dane, Holly-Hope, to whom I needed to introduce them, and I was a little apprehensive as, although Holly had grown up with Squirt, a few years had gone by. My anxiety was unfounded, though, and Holly-Hope immediately took on the role of “helicopter” mom and gives them huge slobbery kisses daily.

They love their big sister and like to give her a few slaps every now and then. Pip and Oreo are adventurous, affectionate and just adorable. They also have my husband, Steve, wrapped around their baby paws! We’re all so happy with the new additions. We want to thank everyone involved in the rescue of Luna and her babies. You’re all heroes.

PS from Jackie...

Of course, I just couldn’t leave the last little kitten of Luna’s at Bella’s Guardian Angels all alone after my “horrible” daughter sent me a photo of her (not that they don’t do an amazing job and need all the support in the world). And so – lo and behold – Casper has joined my fur babies too. He’s such a loving, sweet angel. He recognised mom, Luna, immediately, but Luna didn’t, and kept giving him a slap or two. After all, she now rules this house! Casper… “Hello mom, it’s me, I’m back” – SLAP! However, Casper persevered, and now they’re best friends.

I love happy endings and this, to me, was just that. Thank you to everyone concerned, especially Deon and friends who stood by me and raised the adoption money. My home and heart is full right now, but I know I’ll foster again because no animal deserves to be left abandoned and alone.

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