Mother cats will abandon their newborns if they’re not strong enough to survive. That’s exactly what happened in 2017 to a 30-day-old calico kitten, the runt of the litter who found herself without a home or a family.
Fortunately, an Imgur user named Alan found this kitten and brought her home. But the story doesn’t end there, because caring for a new kitten is much harder than Alan ever anticipated. Can he manage to save this calico’s life?
But why would a mother abandon her kitten in the first place?
Mama Cat Abandons Her Kitten
Feral cats have strong maternal instincts. But they will abandon some kittens out of fear for the rest of their litter. Since kittens have to fight for milk, small or sickly ones don’t have the strength to survive.
As a result, a tiny calico kitten found herself alone in the summer of 2017. Her mom had a large litter, and the calico, being unusually tiny, couldn’t receive the nourishment she needed.
The Calico Was Left Alone
This calico was a really, really tiny runt. The mom realized that this kitten wouldn’t survive, so in order to provide more milk for her kids who would, she abandoned the calico.
Oftentimes, kittens stay together alone while the mother hunts. But this kitten had none of her siblings near her. She was left on her own, crying for help, and would have died had she not run into luck.
Her Savior Arrives
In August 2017, an Imgur user named Alan ran into the scrawny little calico. She was the tiniest thing he had ever seen, and as soon as he realized she was abandoned, he took her in. “Her mother doesn’t like her as the others,” he wrote.
The kitten began clinging to him almost instantly. He got her food, toys, and a bed. He walked her around his apartment. Eventually, she fell asleep at Alan’s feet.
Unfortunately, Alan was entirely unprepared for handling a newborn kitten…
Welcome Home, Sansa
Alan decided to name his new kitten Sansa. Her bulging blue eyes reminded him of Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa in Game of Thrones. Her patches of ginger fur also mirrored the actress’s auburn hair.
Her appearance was the only similarity, however. In the HBO show and books, Sansa was a princess spoiled and decorated with lavish garments. The kitten, however, was scruffy, ragged, and visibly malnourished.
Did Alan Bite Off More Than He Could Chew?
When Alan took Sansa home, he snapped plenty of photos and posted them to Imgur. Users with cat knowledge responded with concern. “I’m pretty sure she shouldn’t have been taken from her mother yet,” one commenter expressed.
Kittens need to stay with their mothers until they turn ten weeks old. Sansa was only about 32 days old, and she needed the nourishment that comes from a mother’s milk. Did Alan have the necessary supplies to care for this kitten?
Health Risks For Kittens
After Alan updated Imgur, several users requested that he take Sansa to the vet. Young kittens, especially those as small and malnourished as Sansa, face the risk of several illnesses that could kill them very quickly.
Kittens can develop worms, feline distemper, and even immunodeficiency viruses similar to HIV. Alan followed the internet users’ advice and got Sansa vaccinated for everything. Still, he had to do everything right to ensure that Sansa wouldn’t get sick.
How can Alan care for a kitten who won’t even eat?
In Over His Head
On Imgur, Alan admitted that he “didn’t prepare all the things she needed.” He assumed that he could leave her some kibble, water, and some toys, and that she’d grow up fine. Thanks to the Imgur community, he realized how wrong he was.
Young kittens can’t eat regular adult cat food, since it doesn’t supply enough nutrients. They need a diet rich in protein and calcium to grow properly. But Alan didn’t know any of that yet.
Sansa Wasn’t Eating
When Alan first brought Sansa in, he noticed that she wasn’t eating. Imgur commenters advised him that the calico was too young to eat solid food. Kittens can drink only milk until they are about eight weeks old.
Alan soon discovered that kittens require much different care than adult cats. They can’t drink cow’s milk since it’ll give them dysentery. They also can’t feed themselves. Alan had to step in for Sansa’s mother.
Sansa’s kittenhood required much more than Alan originally signed up for…
Alan bought a special kitten milk mix that he had to blend into a sludge himself, and he had to bottle-feed Sansa through a syringe. Since Sansa’s tummy was so small, she needed to eat every couple of hours.
Imgur users also alerted Alan that as a young kitten, Sansa couldn’t retain body heat. Because of this, Alan provided his kitten with plenty of blankets and beds to cuddle in.
Alan’s Attention Will Define Sansa’s Life
Cats are incredibly social animals. Being around other animals gives them a sense of security, which allows them to be playful. Kittens who are handled continuously from the age of two weeks tend to be less aggressive and friendlier.
Whether or not Alan knew at the time, his care for Sansa defined the cat’s future. Had he not picked her up or fed her daily, she would have become aggressive and isolated.
…but it was all worth it.
Growing Up Stronger
After a couple of weeks of bottle feeding, Sansa grew stronger and more active. She no longer looked like skin and bones and was able to explore the apartment fully. Eventually, she could even eat solid food.
Alan’s online advisers recommended some kitty formula that would have the protein Sansa needed. While he waited for the shipment, Alan cooked her scrambled eggs to give her healthy fats that she could handle.
Sansa’s New Father
Sansa, who after several weeks was still half the size of Alan’s foot, became infatuated with her new caregiver. She often sandwiched herself between Alan’s feet and purred. She constantly fell asleep on him.
Sansa also became more playful and often followed Alan around the house. He gave her plenty of toys but decided that wasn’t enough. Lucky for her, Alan dedicated an entire room to the kitten.
When Alan’s her only source of entertainment, how will Sansa ever let him be?
From Stray To House Cat
As Sansa gained strength, she adapted to the ways of a house cat. She explored the finer things in life such, as cardboard box mazes, trash-tipping, and swiping at random trinkets strewn around the house.
Sansa also began learning how to use the litter box. Although Alan had already bought her a litter box, most kittens won’t understand how to use it until around three months old. Sansa was well on her way, though.
Sansa Starts Fighting
As kittens grow, they begin to stalk, bounce, scratch, and bite each other. With no siblings to play with, Sansa began grappling with Alan. Her primary opponent was Alan’s hand, which offered Alan cute photo options for a while.
However, cat’s teeth and claws grow, and Alan soon turned to his online friends for help. “She [began] to bite me,” he said on Imgur. “Need a way to stop [her] from doing that.”
Handling His Feisty Kitten
Imgur users praised Alan’s efforts since Sansa’s grappling indicated that she was growing up strong and healthy. “Kittens need to be socialized,” one commenter said, and her fighting was a normal way for kittens to socialize.
Users told Alan to make a high-pitched yelp to signal to Sansa that her playing got too rough. They also suggested they he buy a scratch post. He followed all instructions, and eventually, Sansa’s rough-housing became more manageable.
Sansa grew so rapidly that she’s nearly unrecognizable.
Bye-Bye, Blue Eyes
Sansa’s enormous blue eyes that inspired her name didn’t stay blue for very long. At around 50 days old, she developed yellow-green eyes instead. This color change happens in almost every kitten.
Most kittens are born with blue eyes. After about three months, however, their eyes change to copper, brown, or yellow-green. Her new eye color illustrated that Sansa had grown big and healthy enough to make it to adulthood.
Sansa’s Battle With Water
As Sansa grew older, she became bigger and more independent. She no longer required consistent cuddling and blankets to remain warm. Alan resolved to give his kitten her first bath. Kittens don’t usually need baths (beyond bottom wiping) because they instinctively clean themselves.
Either way, Alan had decided that Sansa got too dirty. She reacted poorly to the water. Remember when Sansa scratched and bit at Alan’s hands? This time, it was much worse.
The Cat She Was Always Meant To Be
On December 1st, almost four months after Alan adopted Sansa, he uploaded a bunch of photos to Imgur to display how much she had grown. The once scraggly and miniature kitten had transformed into a healthy, fluffy cat with plenty of sass.
Alan also clarified that he encountered no major health problems throughout Sansa’s kittenhood, which came as a relief to the many users who tracked the calico’s progress. After months of intensive care, Sansa became the royal beauty that her name implies.
Since Alan found her, Sansa has become the luckiest cat in the world.
Alan’s Growing Kitty Family
Around this time, Alan gave Sansa the best gift of all: another calico cat named Arya. Sansa bonded with her new sibling quickly. Although they are the same age, Arya is much smaller than Sansa. So Sansa took charge and showed the newbie around their home.
Kittens who are raised alone tend to be hyperactive in playing with objects and their owners. So providing a new sibling for Sansa will make her less shy and more playful.
Sansa’s Life Now
Nowadays, Sansa spends her time playing with her toys and sitting on Alan’s lap when he works on his computer. She continues to act just as snuggly as when she was a kitten.
Although once Sansa had no family, she now has a sibling and a loving father. Despite being a rookie, Alan did a phenomenal job of turning Sansa’s life around. She’s currently the happiest cat in the world.