Cotillion had just given birth to two kittens when she heard a faint meow she didn’t recognize coming from another room.

She started pacing around the house, agitated. She was sure that just beyond the door, there were more babies who needed her help — needed a mom.

She was right.

Cotillion had been living at a San Bernardino shelter when she reached her extra-toed paw toward Jamie Gothro. Charmed by the pregnant cat’s boldness, Gothro started fostering the soon-to-be mama.

Cotillion quickly gave birth to two kittens. When the kittens were almost two weeks old, the San Diego Humane Society reached out to Gothro about a litter of four orphaned kittens with no one to care for them.

Gothro hoped Cotillion might raise these abandoned babies as her own, but she was wary. She kept them in another room until she could be sure.

As soon as the kittens arrived, Cotillion heard their faint cries and began trying to find them. She seemed worried for their safety and, as soon as she located them, she started nursing the newcomers right along with her own babies.

“Cotillion didn’t get overwhelmed by the sudden tripling of her nursing load,” Gothro told The Dodo. “She seemed overjoyed to have them.”

Gothro, who has fostered many cats, said that not all of them are especially motherly. Cotillion, though, is unique. She genuinely cares for the babies. She keeps them close, she retrieves them if they wander too far and she plays hide and seek with them.

“It has been a blessing to the four bonus babies, who were lucky enough to be raised by a cat, and not strictly by a human,” Gothro said. “I think that makes the kittens grow into well-adjusted cats.”

Once the kittens are stronger they’ll all be available for adoption through San Diego rescue organization, SPOT. Cotillion will be available for adoption there, too.

Until then, they will all be safe and happy, enjoying their newfound family.

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