Inmates nursing kittens. No kidding!

Published: Apr. 28, 2016 at 2:02 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Things got a little more crowded in the cell George Greene and Terrence Jones share at the Warm Springs Correctional Center with the recent arrival of two tiny cellmates, Smokey and Feisty.

Victor Meden shares another cell down the hall with three cellmates and three kittens.

All three men are there because their lives took a seriously wrong turn. George and Victor are serving time for robbery, Terrence for theft.

The kittens haven't had time even for mischief, but they've arrived at a very vulnerable time in their short lives.

"They're too small and their immune systems aren't fully developed yet," says Nevada Humane Society spokeswoman Kimberley Wade, "so we don't want them to stay in the shelter. We want to get them out to foster homes."

But there are few such homes available in Carson City, so they come here and here they get the kind of care frankly, they couldn't get elsewhere.

The program was named, appropriately by the prisoners themselves--INK-Inmates Nursing Kittens.

"I have to get up at two o'clock in the morning," says Meden, holding a little Siamese female he's named Freya. "I have to keep a schedule to keep them fed properly. I have to clean them up. Basically, I'm their mom. It's kind of cool."

"They are spoiled with a lot of caring and love," says George Greene. "That way when they get to a family they are more people-oriented and they can get along a lot easier than they would normally."

That love and care apparently goes both ways. It brings out a side of these men which often stays hidden behind bars.

"When you get these guys it feels like you have something in your heart,' says Terrence Jones, like you feel like a little bit more worthy in your heart compared to being in a cell."

"I can't really put it 100 percent into words except for that I don't feel like I'm in prison sometimes when I get lost a few moments with these guys," adds Meden.

This week frolicking in the grass in the prison yard, the kittens got their first look at the world outside.

In a few weeks they'll move on, hopefully to loving homes. It will be some time yet before these men can follow, but the experience may have changed the lives of both.

"We will be getting out of here better not bitter and the kittens are making a great change in our lives as well," says Greene.

"They do," adds Jones. "They do make a difference, especially for the simple fact that we're being their mother because they don't have one. So it gives them a chance, just as they are giving us a chance."

All the men involved in Inmates Nursing Kittens are veterans and are part of a larger program aimed at rehabilitating veterans behind bars.

If you'd like to know how you can help or perhaps become a foster home yourself, click on Hot Topics on this website.