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Neighbors bond after rescuing cat, kittens
Judy Borowski holds “Mama,” a cat she found with two nursing kittens in Bald Ridge Campground. She and her neighbors came together to help rescue and find homes for the felines. - photo by Autumn McBride

It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, in this case, it took a neighborhood to rescue some felines.

When Judy Borowski found a stray mother cat and two kittens, she couldn’t leave them out in the cold.

She didn’t know the first thing about cat care, she said, but soon found some help close to home.

Her neighbors, though merely acquaintances or even strangers to her before, pitched in to prepare the kittens for adoption.

“Who knew one act would result in meeting all the neighbors and everybody working together,” said Borowski, who’s lived in her home near Bald Ridge Campground for nearly three years.

“The whole community was involved in this. It was wonderful,” said neighbor Elinor Hurkmans, while visiting Borowski on a recent afternoon.

Borowski found the female kittens and their mother during a walk through the nearly empty campground in November.

“I knew they couldn’t survive in there, so I had to do something. I didn’t know what at the time,” she said. “I also didn’t know it was going to involve the whole neighborhood. That’s the cool part.”

Borowski knew one of her neighbors was involved in dog rescue, so she thought the woman may know how to help cats.

That neighbor pointed her down the street to Harvey Wilson, who has fostered more than 100 kittens.

“I guess I’m the resident feline expert,” he said.

Wilson gave medicine to one kitten that was sick, and coached Borowski on how to get the cats ready for adoption.

At that time, he said the kittens were about 10 to 12 weeks old and in good health due to Borowski’s care.

Across the street lived another woman who is also involved in pet rescue. She pitched in to feed the cats and helped Borowski set up spaying.

Others pitched in donations for food and medical costs, Hurkmans said.

Hurkmans had her daughter list the kittens for adoption on Craigslist. Soon, the requests started pouring in.

Borowski, waiting for someone who would take the two kittens together, found them a home in time for Christmas.

A friend of the adopting family found the ad and connected them with Borowski.

“There’s this big chain of events for these two little kitties,” she said.

Wilson said their neighborhood may have many animal lovers, but it’s not too unusual these days for people to pitch in to care for pets.

Borowski acknowledged that she could have called animal control.

But after learning of the waiting list for space at a local shelter, she decided to find the kittens a home on her own.

Their mother, whom she’s been calling “Mama,” is staying at her house for now.

Borowski hopes to keep her as an outdoor cat who comes indoors during colder months.

Though Mama sat by the door looking for her babies the day they left, the former stray seems to be settling into domesticated life.

The memory of her kittens will remain, especially on a slideshow of digital photos in Borowski’s living room.

“She opened her heart and her home, and it was very gratifying for her and the kittens,” said Hurkmans, holding a holiday card from Borowski.

On the front photo, the two kittens stared up from underneath the Christmas tree.