When this family decided to go camping, they probably didn’t expect to find a cat on their vacation. However, that’s exactly what happened: a little kitten ran up to them from out of nowhere, crying for food. And it was only when they held the poor thing in their arms that they realized just how hungry he was.
That tale of the kitten and the campers first appeared on imgur in July 2017, uploaded by someone using the screenname rnhed. And it all began with the revelation that their family had decided to go back to nature. They probably wouldn’t have guessed what they would end up finding in the wild, though.
And on the vacation, rnhed and their family had headed off the beaten track and eventually chosen to camp by a beautiful lake. It was a serene location, for sure – but not everybody in the area was having a good time.
That’s because, nearby, there had been a stray kitten who had seen the campers approaching. The little cat then ran up to the family’s truck and caught their attention with his crying. And, as it turned out, they couldn’t just ignore the upsetting noise; as a result, rnhed decided to investigate what was going on.
“We walked towards [the kitten] and found him in the road crying,” rnhed would go on to explain in a July 2017 interview with website LoveMeow. When rnhed took the stray in their arms, though, they got a terrible surprise.
“I picked him up and could feel almost all his bones,” rnhed recalled to LoveMeow. Indeed, although the lake had provided a good source of water for the stray, it seems as if food had not been quite as plentiful. “His hip bones stick far out from him not eating,” rnhed went on.
As soon as he was in rnhed’s arms, however, the cat did something heartwarming. “The moment I picked him up,” rnhed said, “he started to purr.” And as the kitten had touched the family’s hearts, they decided to go on to look after him during their stay.
So, as the family cared for him, the kitten experienced love for perhaps the first time in his life. They cleaned him up and even fed him some tinned cat food to fill his empty stomach, which the little animal spent no time in demolishing.
Then, when he was full and content, the kitten found a comfy spot to settle down for a catnap. More specifically, he climbed up on rnhed’s shoulders and went to sleep. But even after the rescue, the family’s biggest questions about the animal remained unanswered.
They had no idea where the kitten had come from, for instance; there weren’t any signs of other cats nearby, either. However, there was still a possibility that his mother was close to hand. And with this in mind, the family left extra food out for her, just in case she came to visit them.
“We laid food out for four days in hopes that the mother would come back,” rnhed told LoveMeow. “[But] she never did, and, as small as he was, we could tell that [the kitten] hadn’t eaten.” So, the family decided, there was only one thing for it: they had to take in the stray.
And not only did they give the stray a home, but they also gave him a name: Fancy. This was inspired by the lyrics to the song of the same name by Reba McEntire. “We took him in and got all his shots before introducing him to our other cats,” rnhed added to LoveMeow.
And Fancy wasn’t the family’s first rescue cat, either. One of their other felines, for instance, was an ex-farm cat that they had adopted and named Miss Hellen – and, adorably, she would form an instant bond with Fancy.
According to rnhed, “When [Miss Hellen] saw [Fancy], she saw a kitten that needed help and a mama.” And that’s exactly what he got with Miss Hellen, who seemed to be happy to take him under her wing. In fact, she has since given him all the motherly love that he could ever need.
What’s more, Fancy’s touching story has made quite a splash online; it has received over 102,000 views on imgur, for example. And rnhed has been widely praised for saving the kitten. “Fancy is one lucky kitty for having found you,” one imgur user said.
A lot of the credit, however, has gone to Miss Hellen for the heartwarming affection she has shown the kitten. “I upvoted for tiny kitten, but I favorited for Miss Hellen,” wrote one commenter. This was followed by another message reading, “I dunno about you, but I could use a Miss Hellen.”
So did rnhed and their family do the right thing when they encountered the starving kitten? According to experts: yes, absolutely, although this is perhaps thanks to their previous rescue experience. But it’s also worth noting that the correct response to a kitten’s needs generally depends on its age, since younger cats require much more care than their more seasoned counterparts.
Newborn kittens, for example, should be taken to a veterinarian as they need professional assistance. Meanwhile, experts have suggested that when it comes to older cats, you should make sure that they’re not feral before continuing. Aggressive but healthy feral cats, on the other hand, should be left alone as they’re clearly independent survivors.
The most important step, though, is to follow rnhed and their family’s example and take the stray to a clinic. There, the cat can be checked for a microchip ID and given shots. This will prevent possible contagious diseases passing to other animals and ensure that the cat is healthy.
And it’s thanks to rnhed and their loved ones that Fancy now has a great home surrounded by a family of humans and cats. He even has a new mother in Miss Hellen. “When we found him, he was starving and we could feel almost all his bones,” rnhed told Love Meow. “Now, he will be treated like a king.”