If the cat carried contact information, they tried to reach the owner. If it had no collar, they took it to the nearby Ann Arbor Cat Clinic to have it scanned for a microchip ID.
About a third of their rescues resulted in happy reunions. However, many owners didn't respond to phone calls--and others made it clear they didn't want their cats. Those cats, and the ones without microchips, the couple usually turned over for adoption--but Sasha stole their hearts.
A two-year-old dilute calico with dabs of peach and gray on her gentle face, frail from starvation, she wore a tag with her name, her owner's name, and a phone number. But the number was disconnected.
"We think it was a student who left the country," he says. "Either Sasha had got lost during the move or was dumped. We were in love with her and thought we'd found a cat to join our other two, so we took her to the Ann Arbor Cat Clinic to get her checked out."
Veterinarian Tina Kaufeld took blood tests and found that Sasha had the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) an immune-suppressing retrovirus that leaves cats vulnerable to anemia, lymphoma, and other fatal infections. There is no cure, and eighty-five percent of cats infected die within three years.