After being plucked from a dumpster on the north side of town, seven kittens now sit in a green carrier in the Chickasha Animal Shelter with a new found sense of hope.
Just days before, their cries were heard coming from the most unlikely of places: the trash at Whispering Pines apartment complex. At the time, Animal Shelter Supervisor James Kasper was less than optimistic about their chances of survival without a mother and after an unknown amount of time without food or attention. Fortunately, their high-pitched cries from inside Kasper's office are a sign that they may one day become an adored pet.
"We've had numerous calls, even some from Norman, about adopting them or taking them in to help care for them," Kasper said. "But, I'm not at a point where we can let them go to anyone."
The situation is a strange one, given that Kasper believes it is unlikely any mother cat would have her children inside a dumpster that is regularly visited by humans and changing on an almost daily basis.
"The thing is, they want a place that is safe and out of the way where there is not a lot of traffic," Kasper said. "That dumpster looked like it had recently been cleaned out, since there were only a couple of bags in there. I'm not saying she didn't go in there to have kittens, but my opinion is someone had the kittens, didn't want them and just dumped them off."
It's a thought that is difficult to process for Kasper, even with years of watching animals come in and out of the shelter for various reasons.
"For me personally, its' kind of hard to trust anyone anymore," he said. "It is hurtful knowing that, if they were abandoned, it seems there was just a lack of compassion. The fact that someone would do this…I mean, it seems to be the way society might be going these days. No one seems to really care."
On the flip side, there are people out there willing to adopt, but Kasper said it will be another month or so before any of the seven kittens get a permanent home away from the shelter.
"In another five weeks, they should be at the point where they are lapping milk," Kasper said. "At that point, we can see about adopting them out."
Shelter animals are better in his opinion, because after spending so much time in a small cage, to be freed by a loving individual really means something.
"They know the feeling of compassion and love. They know you're doing something for them."
As for solving the mystery of how the kittens got in the dumpster, authorities will need help from the public.
"There's not a whole lot we can do right now unless someone comes forward and says they saw this person doing it," Kasper said. There are abandonment issues and issues with cruelty. I mean, all they had to do was call us up. We would have gladly taken them in."
The situation also comes at a time when the Animal Shelter operation is being reorganized. It is now coupled with code enforcement in the Neighborhood Services Department and is employing new positions. Amy Jackson, one of the new Neighborhood Services officers, helped Kasper on the call about the kittens.