Two motherless kittens came to their foster home for a second chance at life.
A few weeks later, they met three tinier foster kittens. They immediately became family.
Six weeks ago, Wendy, an avid foster carer based in California, received a call from a county shelter about two orphaned kittens needing bottle feeding.
"I didn't even have to think about it. I had been waiting to help foster more kittens since December," Wendy told Love Meow.
Darby (tabby) and Madden (black), were in good health. After getting some help, both kittens were eating like champs and on the path to good weight gain.
Darby (tabby) and Madden (black)Wendy @foster_furbabies
A week after their arrival, Wendy got wind of another litter that needed foster care. Three 2-day-old kittens couldn't feed off their mother who refused to nurse or care for them.
"The smallest kitten (Cici) was only 66 grams (2.3 oz.), and would not take formula by mouth. None of these three were eating very much, with the smallest one not swallowing formula at all," Wendy told Love Meow.
Cici, Elwood and DudiWendy @foster_furbabies
Cici had to be tube-fed, a feeding technique that requires training by a veterinarian. The others (Elwood and Dudi) were taking small amounts of formula every two hours. After several scares and sleepless nights, Wendy was able to nurse them back to health by keeping them warm and hydrated around the clock.
"I would not give up. By the time the kittens were around two weeks old, I felt more strongly that they were going to make it," Wendy told Love Meow.
When the trio reached three weeks old, they were finally ready to meet their new siblings. (Scroll down for video)
Darby and Madden are about two weeks older than the tinier kittens.
Darby and Madden Wendy @foster_furbabies
The bigger kitties took to the little ones like their own, immediately cuddling and playing with them.
The smaller kittens adored their new siblings and would even try to nurse on them.
"All of them got along as if they were actual siblings. I think because of their young age, they accepted each other really well," Wendy told Love Meow.
The younger kittens follow their older siblings' pawsteps, creating all sorts of antics around the room.
Cici, still the tiniest of her litter, now has two bigger siblings to lean on when she needs some extra TLC.
"She likes to play with all her siblings, but often is drawn to the 'Big Kids'."
Cici (smallest) snuggling with Madden (biggest)Wendy @foster_furbabies
When the five kittens were eating together without assistance, it was pure joy to the foster mom. "A beautiful moment, and at the same time realizing how fast this time with them is flying by."
Darby cuddling with one of her tinier siblings.
"The five of them have been together eating, sleeping, and playing for over two weeks now," Wendy told Love Meow.
"It's exciting to see them run, jump, play, grow and develop into kittens who will be big enough to be adopted into forever families, soon."
Watch them in this adorable video:
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