A cat mom and her four kittens were brought to a shelter in East Tennessee. They were in poor shape and desperately needed rescue.
The kittens had severe upper respiratory infections, and their eyes were going blind. The shelter didn't have the resources to provide proper care, so they transferred the little family to Neonatal Kitten Rescue in Johnson City, Tennessee. Sadly, two of the siblings didn't make it.
"The rescue called me and asked if I would be willing to foster since I'm a pretty determined foster mama, and I agreed," Sarah Foster told Love Meow. "When I got them, mom was just skin and bones, and the babies were severely underweight."
The little gray kitten, Lily, was just 1/3 of her normal weight. She couldn't see through her eyes and was very lethargic and barely had any strength to lift her head up.
"Dominic (the tuxedo kitten) is fully blind but seemed to thrive immediately."
Sarah worried that Lily might not survive but she wanted to give her a fighting chance. "Two of her heavier and sturdier siblings passed away but she didn't - which has always told me that she really wants to live," Sarah said.
"I held her and told her that she'd been through so much, and I knew she could fight."
The cat mom, Penelope, had stopped producing milk due to stress, and Lily couldn't eat on her own.
Sarah syringe-fed her around the clock and started both kittens on antibiotics. "Each gram was a struggle with Lily and we celebrated every time she passed another 100-gram increment," Sarah told Love Meow.
"Poor Lily has just struggled every step of the way but always pushes forward."
Mama Penelope was constantly doting on them. She gave her little girl extra cuddles to help her recover.
Penelope was very scrawny and her fur was patchy and dry when she was rescued. "She was trying so hard to produce milk for the babies and take care of them, but being near them 24/7 in a tiny space and losing two of her babies had her melting down," Sarah said.
After she arrived in foster care, she could finally relax and start to take care of herself a little.
"It was quiet and peaceful and away from so many stressors, she was able to care for the babies the way she wanted to."
Watch their rescue journey in this video:
Loving cat mom and her blind kittensyoutu.be
Despite having no milk, the sweet mama will lie down and let her kittens nurse on her for comfort.
"The babies would just purr instantly the second they got near her," Sarah said.
Penelope keeps them clean and showers them with love.
"You can see a visible difference in her demeanor and coat now that she knows her babies have made it over the hump and are safe. She is happy."
"She's now working on teaching them how to cat - she gets in the playpen and uses the scratcher and will bat toys around and even gets in the pop-up cube with Lily."
Lily has regained some of her vision in her left eye. She follows her mom everywhere she goes, mimicking everything she does.
"Lily loves chasing her mama's tail. Her sight seems to be gone in her right eye but her left eye is doing double duty. She has turned into my purr machine and eats like a champ and loves to snuggle on my lap and play."
She's still much smaller than her brother but can take him in a fight and outrun him when they play.
The two kittens and their cat mom are ready for their next chapter of life - to find a forever loving home they so deserve.
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Related story: Cat Mom Keeps Her Kittens Safe in Wood Pile Until Rescue Arrives