The 14 inches of snow stacked on the lands of Campbell County, Virginia, was simply an inconvenience for many people. However, for 12 little kittens, it was the matter of life and death. Once early evening last week, just before it got dark, someone came across a metal crate within a snow mound. There were no houses around, which made the good Samaritan suspicious and she went over to take a look.

Upon arrival, he saw six cats, trembling inside the crate and four tiny kittens outside the cage in the snow.

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

The person called Melissa Labryer, an animal control officer, and she arrived at the scene quickly and immediately spotted the babies. They looked like they were not more than 5 or 6 weeks old, lying lifeless in the cold, white stack. After moving them all into dry carriers, Labryer set off to the nearest animal shelter.

“‘I need help! I have frozen cats and I need some volunteers to help me back at the shelter,’” Labryer told a shelter volunteer, according to Barbe Shackelford, director of Friends of Campbell County Animal Control (FOCCAC).

“[Labryer] mentioned there were 12 cats in need of revival,” Shackelford said. “So the volunteer who got the call quickly put out a request for assistance from any other volunteers who happened to be currently logged in to the Facebook Messenger chat group.”

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

The volunteers immediately got into work to treat the cats’ hypothermia and collected as many towels as they could.

“Within minutes of our arrival, we had a triage area established for the cats,” Shackelford said. “We started drying them immediately, but were really concerned about the four babies, who were under 1 pound each, and were so cold and wet. They were not moving.”

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

Some of the volunteers even untucked their shirts to put the kittens next to their skin with hot water bottles, hoping the temperatures of their bodies start regulating. Soon, some signs of life started showing within the towels and underneath the clothing.

The abandoned cats were now safe, dry and grooming themselves—all thanks to the officer’s immediate actions.

“All the cats were purring and enjoying attention by the time we had cleaned up and were ready to leave,” Shackelford said.

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

The group has now been named “the frozen 12” and one of them has already been adopted! Three other cats, namely, Frenchie, Ring and Swan are also ready to go to their forever homes.

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

However, it’s not sure where the four little kittens would be heading to.

They are eating well, but the tiniest one, the little black one with such expressive eyes, had a setback and is very fragile,” Shackelford said. “[He] will need TLC for some time before we feel confident he will survive his ordeal.”

Friends of Campbell County Animal Control

Once healthy enough, rest of the kittens will also need families to keep them safe and sound forever!

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