The cats were brought to the Neonatal Kitten Rescue in Johnson City, where the four kittens were found to be suffering from severe upper respiratory infections – and losing their sight, fast.
Two of the kittens soon perished, but in the meantime serial cat adopter Sarah Foster was brought into care for the survivors.
“The rescue called me and asked if I would be willing to foster since I'm a pretty determined foster mama, and I agreed,” Foster told Love Meow. “When I got them, [the cats’] mom was just skin and bones, and the babies were severely underweight.”
One of the kittens, a grey thing called Lily, was one-third of the weight she needed to be and barely had the strength to move.
The other, a tuxedo-flavoured specimen named Dominic, had lost his sight entirely – but was generally healthy.
But Foster wouldn’t give up on Lily:
“Two of her heavier and sturdier siblings passed away,” she continues. “But she didn't - which has always told me that she really wants to live."
“I held her and told her that she'd been through so much, and I knew she could fight.”
The needle and the damage done
Penelope, the mother of the kittens, was too stressed to give milk – so Foster gladly took over.
The human cat-mother syringe-fed Penelope and have the kittens antibiotics as she tried to build their weight.
“Each gram was a struggle with Lily,” she continues, “and we celebrated every time she passed another 100-gram increment.”
"Poor Lily has just struggled every step of the way but always pushes forward."
But they seem to be over the worst of it, and Penelope is bonding closely with her sick kittens.
“You can see a visible difference in her demeanour and coat now that she knows her babies have made it over the hump and are safe,” says Foster. “She is happy.”
Foster will now focus on finding a new family to take over caring for Penelope and her wretched brood.