Candy, compassion, and a cat named Briana


Jill Ingber always knew she wanted her life to be full of sweet things. She lives in an Uptown apartment near downtown Minneapolis, MN, and works full-time as a candy sales analyst for a food distributor that sells tootsie rolls. But in early February, while pondering her future, she decided it was time to take her love of everything sweet and combine it with some responsibility and compassion.

She made an important decision at that moment: it was time to get a cat.

“I always grew up with cats but they were my family’s pets. I wanted to be responsible for a cat I could call all my own,” said Jill.

Much to her surprise, a few hours after making her decision, she received an email from Animal Humane Society. “When I read the story about Briana, the six-pound kitty who was found frozen to the ground, I was heartbroken. Something tugged at my heart.”

The stray feline was brought to Animal Humane Society’s Woodbury shelter a few weeks before by Cottage Grove Police Officer Travis Mulvihill.  He was called to a home by a family who noticed the cat outside their house. At first they just saw a dark spot in the snow, but after driving past it twice they decided to take a closer look. That’s when they saw the small cat’s paws and tail frozen to the ground. They bundled her up and waited for Officer Mulvihill to arrive.

“When I got there I didn’t know if she was alive, but I could feel a heartbeat so I knew I had to get her to Woodbury as soon as possible. She was so cold. I wrapped her in the blanket and kept her in my lap all the way to the shelter to keep her as warm as possible,” said Officer Mulvihill.

When Briana arrived AHS veterinarians discovered she was dehydrated, lethargic, couldn’t move her legs and was infested with fleas. For a few weeks, Briana was treated with heating pads and intravenous fluids. She also had part of her tail amputated due to hypothermia. Her vision was impaired by her outdoor trauma, but vets don’t think she is fully blind.

Briana after intake

Photo was taken shortly after Briana was brought to AHS.

Jill was so bothered by the story she kept thinking about Briana all week. “I knew my home would be perfect for her — she’d be the only animal so she’d get a lot of attention. I have the time and patience for her.”

So on her birthday, Valentine’s Day, she called AHS and asked if Briana was still available for adoption. She learned the very young cat was going to be ready for adoption the very next day.

Jill fell in love with Briana instantly. “At first she was scared and hesitant to come out of her cage. The adoption specialist had to coax her out, but once we got her in a room she warmed up to me. She started cuddling and purring. I knew I wanted her right there and then.”

During the meeting, Jill also consulted with AHS adoption specialist Lena Atchan, who spent a lot of time helping guide her through the process and answering all her questions. It was just the kind of advice this soon-to-be pet mom needed. Briana was a special needs kitty and she wanted to make sure she had the right information to take care of her. The next day, Briana came home to live with Jill.

The new cat mom admits she was a nervous wreck the first week she brought Briana home. “I was constantly worried that she wasn’t eating or drinking enough. She would hide under the bed for long periods because she was so scared.” But Jill’s worries are easing. Briana now comes out within two minutes when called and slowly ventures out to other parts of the apartment. She also naps all day and plays with toys in the evening.

What amazes Jill the most is Briana’s ability to trust. “I don’t know her background but I know she went through an awful trauma. I can’t believe how trusting she is of me. She makes me happy.” 

The Minneapolis resident believes her life is now complete: she’s got a sweet job, compassion to care for another living creature and a wonderful obsession for a cat who loves her back.

Briana and Jill

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