There must have been some extra love in the air during the recent Valentine’s Day holiday. Two female cats were being held at a local Southern California shelter. Their time was running out quickly. One was very pregnant and ready to go into labor any day. The other, a gorgeous semi-feral Tortico girl, a mix between a calico and tortie cat, was accompanied by her three 8-day-old kittens.
February 12th, the call went out to the local rescue groups regarding the cats facing certain doom.
Hearing of the situation, Amanda Hodder of Kitten Rescue Life accepted the tortico mama and babies into her foster home. The pregnant mom was taken in by another of the KRL experienced fosterers, Suzanne. Amanda wasn’t sure how the new mom would react to human love or help, but she was resolved to try. Then she received a warning.
When she first got to my home, the transporter advised us to not put our hands in her carrier because she was exhibiting some possible feral characteristics.
Her first night with us she hissed anytime we checked on them. I had to use a spatula to move the babies to her.
The next morning, Amanda received quite a shock.
It seemed that a good nights sleep in a safe environment does a kitty-body good.
By morning time she reached out to me and rolled on her back. She started purring the minute I touched her!
Amanda named the now surprisingly sweet girl, Squishy Mama. It was beautiful to see how loving and gentle she was with her babies. Sad to think that this may not have been her first litter. It would certainly be her last though and she’ll be spayed after the kittens are done nursing.
When they arrived, they all were suffering slightly from Upper Respiratory Infections. One of the poor little babies had some more serious eye issues that thankfully later cleared up.
On Valentine’s Day itself, everyone in the household received another surprise.
Squishy Mama was settling in with her brood. The tortico had clearly decided that Amanda was a worthy servant for her babies.
Happy Valentine’s Day from us and this cuddle puddle of love. They’re all doing really well. Mama is now super friendly and scarfing down food and water. Each time I weigh the babies (multiple times a day), they have steadily gained each time.
But then, Amanda was contacted about another SOS situation. There were some issues with the 2nd cat that had been pulled from the shelter. As fate would have it, the very night they were saved, she had given birth to 9 babies.
However, she had already smothered and killed 2 of the infants within those first two days. The tiny, 2-day-old runt of the litter was about to be next. The foster mom had separated the runt and knew the little girl couldn’t return to the dangerous situation. She would benefit the most with another lactating mother cat who’d accept her. It’s not always guaranteed that this will happen, but they’d bottle feed her if absolutely required.
With Squishy Mama still nursing her babes, at least they had the option to attempt an introduction! Amanda knew this was the ideal scenario, so she made the 60 mile drive to pick up the lonely little girl.
Squishy Mama didn’t hesitate to welcome the newest baby into her furry arms!
Look at how absolutely sweet this photo is of Mama holding her newest close!
Now, tortico Squishy Mama and her FOUR kittens are thriving in Amanda’s care.
She happily officially introduced them to her Facebook and Instagram followers. The entire litter was given sweet and petite “s” names.
Meet Sprout, an early bloomer who is already peeking at the world through both eyes. She’s a stunning 12 day old Tortico.
Meet Sprinkle, who has one peeper opening up. She’s another gorgeous Tortico just like her mama and sister, Sprout.
Meet Shrimp, the smallest of mama’s birth babies. She’s a beautiful Tuxedo who has always been smaller than her siblings (Sprout and Sprinkle). At yesterday afternoons weighing she was down some grams from the previous weighing. I kept a close eye on her, made sure she had a chance to feed from mama and supplemented with syringe feeding. She’s gained it back and then some!
And then there was their adopted sister.
Introducing, baby Strudel. You may remember her from a few days ago. She was only two days old and weighed 100 grams. She was half the size and eight days younger than my three other baby fosters.
Now she’s five days old and already 146 grams! [Tortico] Mama Squishy has been taking amazing care of her. I’ve been doing one syringe of formula a few times a day just to make sure she’s getting enough milk.
Look at that Strudel belly! I can’t stop blowing raspberries on it. They all got a nail trim today. Hopefully in the next couple days we will see her eyes opening and her umbilical cord come off.
Even though she’s half their size and 8 days younger, Strudel is the boss out of all four.
She wiggles and forces her way wherever she wants to go and she’s the most vocal of them all.
She’s had zero issues since being with us. She’s healthy, chugging milk, gaining weight and meeting all her markers.
Regardless of who is truly in charge here–obviously we can rule out Amanda–they are certainly adorable! Amanda does a wonderful job in documenting the little furry potatoes through video and pictures.
I don’t know about you all, but I don’t feel the internet can EVER have too many kitten photos. Happily, we can all spend WAY too much time “ooohing and ahhhhing” over these purrty special photo shoots.
Look at those baby beans!
As with some females, (no one we know, *cough, cough*), they seem to have a lot to say. HAHA
Those moments of peace and quiet for a new mom–truly a cherished moment for all.
These girls look like they are going to be the best of furriends. Hopefully their eventual adopters consider taking them in pairs <3
Rescues like this aren’t without their hardships and challenges.
Saving lives at the last minute means many times we aren’t prepared for everything unexpectedly thrown at us. This is why Amanda is sure to do all she can to raise funds, stock up and be prepared for those moments. They very well mean the difference between life and death.
Foster kittens are extremely difficult since specialty items are absolutely necessary! Kitten formula, non-clumping litter, bottles/syringes and medications are just the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to donate to Kitten Rescue Life, please visit her Amazon Wishlist HERE.
Be sure to follow their adventure on Facebook and Instagram @kittenrescuelife too. We can’t wait to see what lucky family ends up with these little squishy’s!
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: Neonatal Kittens Saved From Kill Shelter With An Hour To Spare; Seizing Life By The “Paws”!
Related Story: Rescue Cats: Cat mom nurses orphaned kittens
Beautiful family. I’m glad it worked out! ❤
Something is bothering me about though: “…a gorgeous semi-feral Tortico girl, a mix between a calico and tortie cat…” Aren’t torties black and orange, while calicos are black, orange, and white? The mum in this article is clearly black, orange, and white. Why must ppl always try to make everyone/everything more unusual than they/it is in an effort to make themselves appear more knowledgeable than they really are? ? She’s a calico, so say calico.
Micah, As you wrote yourself the article says the mother is a Tortico, a mix between a Calico and Tortie cat. Does it matter so much if she is more one than the other or even just one, really? This article is about how some beautiful people open their homes to small furry babies in desperate need and how the mama, her babies, and one more desperate soul were saved. That’s what is important. So, if you are going to be an ass then say you are going to be an ass.
Cee, Well said. The work that Amanda and in this case, Squishy Mama are doing to raise these tiny kittens is fantastic. Responsible owners of pets neuter and spay their charges. If everyone undertook that responsibility then feral, and homeless cats and dogs would be a problem of the past.
I wish I had some photos handy to show you the difference between a calico and a tortico. There IS a difference
Micah, I wish I had dome photos handy so I could show you the difference between a calico and a tortico. There is a difference
we have done this several times with babies. we had 3 sets of kittens last spring plus 6 rescues. my new mamas took care of them all.
She is actually a Tortus Shell Calico
All are simply beautiful! Mama Squish and babies, too. You probably know this, but little Strudel is a dilute calico. I have one myself. She is sweet, loving, fun, funny, playful, and very vocal. She voices her opinions on everything!
So, see what you may have in store?
I wish your whole family, furry or not, a warm & wonderful summer filled with love, laughter, exploration and lots of little toe beans!
All this talk of tortico, calico and tortoiseshell but I wonder what happened with the other mother cat who suffocated two of her kittens. Also what happened to the rest of her kittens. Another question I have is if mother cats intentionally suffocate their kittens or is that more accidental? I love hearing about rescues like this. I have fond memories of fostering tiny babies, also sad memories too, of course.