An abandoned cat and her two kittens were discovered in rough shape at a Twin Cities cemetery where they struggled to stay warm before a spring storm.

An anonymous good Samaritan came across the kittens huddled atop a mausoleum while walking her dog through St. Paul's Calvary Cemetery on May 19. Panicked about the incoming downpour, she called Pet Haven rescue, said its Executive Director Kerry D'Amato.

Though the shelter is at capacity, vet tech and kitten care manager Stephanie Di Lorenzo Sawyer quickly headed to the cemetery to respond to the emergency. When Sawyer arrived, the adult cat went straight into a crate, D'Amato said.

"They were just sitting there waiting for [Sawyer]. I mean, really amazing. The babies couldn't see because their eyes were completely crusted shut. They were just completely dependent on their mom. They were huddled so close to her," D'Amato said.

Staff put the kittens in alongside their mom and took them to Pet Haven for treatment for their eyes and for serious dehydration. The cats couldn't find enough food and were very thin, D'Amato said. If the rescue hadn't received the call, it's unlikely they would have survived, she said.

"Even though we may be at capacity, when something comes up that just is really an emergency — kittens in a cemetery, dog tied up in the woods with a bag of food next to it — we never say no. We say yes and we figure it out because those are the animals that need us most," she said.

The shelter's phone line for cat concerns receives up to a hundred calls per week from people looking for services, searching for missing animals, or needing to surrender their pets. The warm winter means many litters survived and shelters are overwhelmed with kittens, D'Amato said.

The kittens have been nursed back to health and were named for the unconventional place they were discovered: atop the mausoleum belonging to the St. Paul Pfifer family. Mom Kathrina and kittens Rosa and George are greatly improving and are with a foster care provider.

The three will likely be ready for adoption in two to three weeks, D'Amato said. However, a cemetery employee is just "dying" for first dibs, she said.

For those looking to help, Pet Haven is seeking volunteers, fosters and donations of any size, she said. Interested people can attend an adoptable cat meet-and-greet at Pet Haven, 505 W. Minnehaha Ave. in St. Paul, from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.