On October 26th, 2018, kitten foster mom Mitzi Castiglione had a problem on her hands. She and her husband were a few weeks away from embarking on a cruise for their 10 year anniversary. But as fate would have it, her friend had just discovered 5 kittens on her porch and needed help. She posted a plea for assistance in the St. Francis Society Cat Foster Team.
“Team, I need some help. A friend of mine had 5 kittens show up on her porch a couple days ago. Apparently the mom feeds and then leaves and the kittens hang around her porch. She lives in an apartment and can’t foster.”
Mitzi would normally have welcomed the litter, the most she’d have had at one time, but didn’t want to leave them when their vacation started.
She had a pet sitter that would be attending to her resident felines twice a day. Her concern was that if the stray/feral kittens became sick, the pet sitter wouldn’t be experienced enough to handle the issue.
The dedicated rescue team was able to coordinate so that the kittens would be taken care of while Mitzi enjoyed her vacation. Overjoyed and relieved, Mitzi set out to trap the stray kittens and assess the mom’s “feral” personality. If she was able to be caught and socialized, they’d put her up for adoption as well.
Sadly, by this time, the mom had not been seen in over a day and they feared the worst. Mitzi’s friend searched for her and continues to keep an eye out, but has not seen the mama again.
They located the kittens under the porch and began pulling the scared, filthy fluff-balls to safety. The kittens were only about 3-4 weeks old and should have been nursing still.
That is when a 6th pair of tiny paws dropped down from their hiding place! Appropriate for the upcoming Halloween season, they were all black, orange or tortoiseshell colored.
Getting them back to her house, the first thing the kittens needed was a bath. They were all so covered in fleas that the bathwater ran a rust color from the poor babies losing blood to the parasites. Other than the flea infestation though, they were all healthy. I mean…look at the smile!
Once they were clean, she checked the sexes of the kittens and named the cuties. Meet 1) Maui, 2) Rocco, 3) Massimo, 4) Cosmos, 5) Sunflower and 6) Cherry Blossom.
“There were 3 torties in the litter and I figured they were female as a male tortie is extremely rare.”
There was something bothering Mitzi though. She knew 2 of the torties were for sure female, but little Cosmos was showing a “bit” more. At that young of an age, sometimes it’s very difficult to determine the sex of kittens.
“I thought I was mistaken, so I checked him another 10x and took a picture to ask the other fosters what they thought on our group page. “
The consensus was mostly female but no one could be sure. Could it be an elusive male tortie!!?? They would have to wait for a medical check or for him to grow up a bit more.
“I must have checked him everyday for 3 weeks straight several times a day as if it would suddenly stamp out his sex.”
Mitzi knew in her heart she was seeing a boy, but her brain was puzzled. Male torties have an extra chromosome that makes them tortie colored, making them rare. She figured when she took him in to be fixed at 2 months of age, she’s receive confirmation then.
But about a week before the sterilization surgery was to be scheduled, Cosmos began vomiting. His weight dropped under the 2 pound minimum mark so she had to cancel the appointment. She called Kathy Walvoord, the president of the St. Francis Society Animal Rescue. Kathy provided medication and Mitzi had to syringe feed him for a week to ensure he stayed hydrated and nourished. Thankfully, the vomiting subsided and she was able to book him in for his surgery.
Arriving at the appointment, she found a humorous note in his vet documentation.
“I read his paperwork and the medical office wrote, “rescue says this is a male tortie.” I chuckled as if they were also saying it’s unbelievable.”
When she picked him up later that day, one of the vet techs confirmed what she’d known in her heart all along. Cosmos was definitely a male tortoiseshell kitten!
“She said the vet who did his operation also said he never had seen a male tortie!”
During the time Cosmos was recovering from his illness, his siblings were being adopted out.
After everything they’d been through though, Mitzi couldn’t make herself add him to the “ready for adoption” list. Cosmos became a “foster fail”.
“Just when I said no more keepers, I get a male tortie with tons of ‘tude. I don’t think he’d let me adopt him out if I had to. Lol
I felt he is my lucky charm. I’ve never even seen a 4-leaf clover! His personality fits in with our bunch so well. He’s funny, sassy, chirps, and plays fetch! He loves playing with his adoptive brothers and sisters who are all rescues too. Not only is he a male tortie, but he’s got such a unique look to him. My favorite part is the black gloves on his front paws .”
Congrats to Mitzi’s family and to Cosmos for picking just the right human! <3 Regardless of how rare he may be, Cosmos was just one of the many lucky kitties rescued from the street life by fostering.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: Rescued Tortie Politely Asks Adopters For A Loving Home