Lifestyle & Human Interest

Orphaned Kittens Found in Street Have Claimed Burly Man with Beard as Their New Mother


Gil Nunes is a veterinary technician in New York who never shies away from animals in need. On top of managing two veterinary clinics, he also rescues animals and has adopted 14 cats and four dogs in the past 17 years.

Instead of adopting animals from shelters, he takes in animals in danger of being euthanized because of health issues or other issues that deem them “unadoptable.”

Nunes nurses many animals back to health until they are ready to find a forever home.

This is probably why when three tiny kittens were found on the street next to their four deceased siblings after a storm, Gill received the call.

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“They appeared to have drowned the night before, during the storm we had. The surviving kittens were only two weeks old,” Nunes told Love Meow. “They arrived at the hospital in horrible shape, dehydrated, malnourished, runny eyes and nose, soaking wet and shivering.”

These kittens were in desperate need of a mother’s love, and Nunes was perfect for the job. He agreed to foster the kittens and bottle fed them back to health.

On that first night, Nunes kept the kittens on his chest to keep them warm and continued to feed them so they could regain their strength.

“It’s moments like this that makes me so happy to be able to save and protect them. They no longer have to feel cold and hungry,” he said.

He named the kittens Gianni, Donatella, and Santo. Sadly, things took a turn for the worst and an upper respiratory infection put two of the kittens in critical condition.

Gianni passed away after five days of intensive care, but Nunes was able to nurse the other two kittens back to health and they now rely on him for everything.

“They react to my voice even if I’m in a different room, they like to sleep on my chest and under my beard,” he said.

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Nunes takes his little fur babies to work with him so that he can keep up with their demanding feeding schedule and play with them between appointments.

He also makes sure that they get lots of snuggles and kisses every day, and he has admitted to getting attached to the little ones.

“It’s almost time to put them up for adoption. It’s so hard for me to even think about them leaving,” he said. “Santo likes to look into my eyes while playing with my beard till he falls asleep. Donatella screams for me to pick her up and rub her belly.”

“I have so much joy seeing them running around my room playing. Knowing that I was able to save them and now seeing how happy they are is an amazing feeling of accomplishment.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith