Thirteen kittens were found left inside a duffel bag outside a PAWS Chicago Medical Center parking lot during a blistering summer weekend in the city.
A worker with Feral Fixers, an organization dedicated to practicing and promoting trap-neuter-return, discovered the kittens Sunday when she passed a fabric bag on her way out of the facility and noticed something was moving inside.
She looked inside and saw several kittens before bringing the bag in to shelter workers.
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“Kittens die quickly in the heat and thirteen little bodies and 80+ degrees and humidity is dangerous,” a post on Feral Fixers’ website read. “This definitely falls into the land of "meant to be" and its [sic] wonderful that Debbie was in the right place at the right time and was observant enough to rescue these guys.”
PAWS said the kittens are “all safe and sound relaxing in foster homes.” They are expected to be available for adoption in two weeks at the Lincoln Park Adoption Center.
The kittens, which have since become known as the “Top Gun duffel bag kittens” were each named after “Top Gun” characters, including Iceman, Maverick, Sundown and Wolfman, among others.
The discovery comes just as PAWS launched its summer kitten adoption challenge, a challenge they initiated to help aleviate an “over-abundance of kittens on the streets of Chicago.”
“The warm summer months bring an influx of homeless kittens into the city pound where each are at risk of being euthanized because of space,” said Sarah McDonald, a spokesperson for PAWS. “There are too many kittens and not enough homes.”
The organization said it’s challenging the community to help it find homes for 350 kittens “in hopes of making a life-changing difference for both homeless kittens and our community.”
As part of the challenge, those who adopt two kittens at PAWS Chicago will receive 50 percent off the adoption fee for the second kitten. The challenge runs through Aug. 31.
The organization also plans to launch a “kitten cam” in the coming weeks, which may feature some of the “Top Gun” duffel bag kittens.