In the midst of hurricane season in June of 2020, an Arkansas woman received a video message depicting a mother cat and her kittens in dire need of rescue.
A mother cat was in the middle of giving birth in a rapidly flooding field.
Keep reading to discover the heartwarming story of how one kitten’s strong will to live changed her life forever.
The Storm Rages
Stephanie Pinkerton, an Arkansas cat rescuer, was shocked when she received an alarming video from a concerned resident.
The video showed a freshly born kitten with its umbilical cord still attached.
The kitten appeared to be lying down in a field that was quickly flooding due to the storm.
The video then panned over to the mother who was still in labor!
The resident sent Stephanie the video seeking help because the mother appeared to reject the kittens.
If they were not rescued immediately, they would suffer a terrible fate.
A Shocking Discovery
The woman who found the kittens kept looking around the field to see if there were other kittens who had been rejected and displaced.
“She at this point had found two that the mother had rejected,” Stephanie shared. “They weren’t together when she found them. They were scattered.”
It was clear each of these kittens was from the same mother when the woman noticed they each still had umbilical cords attached.
She kept looking and eventually found two more kittens.
There were a total of four kittens who desperately needed help.
Rushing to Safety
While Stephanie wanted to take the kittens, she was fostering and bottle feeding several kittens of her own.
She wanted to help, but she didn’t have any room for new fosters.
However, Stephanie was determined to do something. She had a plan.
“I reached out to another rescuer named Maree Coats,” Stephanie said. “I know her through other cat rescues on Facebook.”
Maree had plenty of experience with bottle and tube feeding, so Stephanie knew she would be an excellent foster.
She brought all four of them to Maree who gladly accepted them with open arms.
A Tragic Loss
After the kittens arrived at Maree’s home, their health continued to decline.
They were fighting for their lives because they had spent too much of their short lives malnourished, wet, and cold.
Over the next few days, Maree selflessy devoted herself to giving these kittens a fighting chance.
She bottle fed them every hour while keeping them warm and clean.
Despite Maree’s heroic efforts, three of the four kittens passed away from fading kitten syndrome, a set of life threatening symptoms from a kitten’s failure to thrive.
Maree was devastated. As an experienced kitten rescuer, she knew this was a grim possibility.
Neonatal kittens are very fragile and the odds are against them when they fall into such difficult circumstances.
Maree was devestated. It was a tragedy, but not all hope was lost.
There was one surviver and Maree was going to do whatever it took to keep her alive.
The one surviving kitten of the litter was named Barbara.
Barbara tragically lost her siblings, but they still live through her.
Barbara would honor her siblings through her survival. She is a true warrior!
Road to Recovery
Barbara’s condition slowly improved as Maree continued to bottle feed her.
It helped that the original rescuer found Barbara first, so she probably spent the least amount of time in the flood.
This gave Barbara a better chance of survival.
On top of this, Barbara had good genetics.
She was already a healthy size for her age and continued to gain weight.
At only 8 days old, Maree is hopeful and continues to keep a very close eye on Barbara.
Barbara is very lucky she has someone as kind and committed as Maree on her side.
Barbara is so young that her personality hasn’t quite begun to shine through, but she has won over many hearts with her free spirit and strong will to live.
A New Family
Maree worried that Barbara was lonely after the loss of her siblings.
It’s also important to note that infant kittens are healthier and have better chances of survival when they are in groups.
Maree had the perfect solution; she took in another foster kitten, Prather, that was close to Barbara’s age.
Now, Barbara has a new brother to snuggle with!
It was a beautiful moment. They immediately curled up together in a welcoming embrace.
Barbara and Prather are so thankful for each other’s company.
Two kittens from a broken family made a new little family of their own.
Knowing they’ll never be alone or neglected again, they snuggle and nap from the comfort of Maree’s home.
About Our Heroes
Both Stephanie and Maree are kind-hearted individuals committed to rescuing suffering cats and kittens in life-or-death scenarios.
Doing what they do isn’t easy. Only very special people have what it takes to rehabilitate kittens.
They make enormous sacrifices to conduct their live saving missions.
Maree and Stephanie spend many sleepless nights bottle feeding to give these kittens a fighting chance.
All of their rescue cats, including Barbara, are spayed/neutered before finding their forever homes.
By doing this, they hope to prevent the vicious cycle of suffering caused by overpopulation.
In fact, they have made arrangements to trap Barbara’s feral mother and get her spayed.
Both Maree and Stephanie are entirely self funded. They are just regular people on a quest to save the lives of helpless animals.
They rely on people like us to donate food, kitten formula, and other essential supplies for them to continue rescuing cats.
Please consider donating items directly to them through their Amazon Wishlist.