Foster Mom Pours Heart into Saving Kittens, Chokes Up as She Hands Them to New Family


When Nikki Martinez received the call about three kittens in desperate need of her help, she raced to the scene.

The tiny kittens were found with their placenta and umbilical cord still attached, but no mother in sight, when a woman discovered them in a shrub while out on a walk with her dog.

Nikki soon got the call, and she and her husband drove straight over to pick up the kittens. The couple then sat in the parking lot of an AM/PM store warming the freezing kittens up near the car’s air vents.

At just one day old, the kittens were defenseless, never having the chance to know their mother. Before rescuers arrived, their future wasn’t looking bright.

While Nikki knew their chances of survival were uncertain, she knew they deserved the chance to try.

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So Nikki and her husband brought the kittens home, knowing they had a tough road ahead. And when one kitten named Bagel wasn’t making progress like her siblings, things began to look grim.

“I didn’t get really scared until Bagel stopped eating,” Nikki said. We thought we were going to lose her. Her weight was drastically going down. It just… killed me.”

But the foster parents weren’t going to give up on the furry babies so easily.

“I thought ‘I can’t. She has to live. She HAS to live.”

So they began tube-feeding Bagel. While the tiny kitten’s life seemed to be hanging by a thread, Nikki held out hope that she’d make it through.

“I promised in the middle of the night when I was tube-feeding her that if this baby made it, we would have the biggest party,” Nikki said.

So she and her husband continued to tube-feed Bagel for a few days and tried to give her a bottle every so often to see if she was improving. And finally, it began to work.

“I texted my husband at work. I was so excited and I said, ‘She’s eating! She’s eating!'”

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The weak kitten had finally taken to eating again, eventually even becoming quite the messy eater.

Nikki realized how incredibly strong the kittens were, and soon began celebrating every important moment in their lives.

“So I celebrated every milestone. When their eyes opened. When they gained weight. Even when they started grooming themselves, we celebrated it, because it was a milestone we didn’t even know if they would have.”

The once-uncertain future of Bagel and her siblings continued to brighten until finally, it was time for them to be adopted.

Weeks before the adoptions began, Nikki was already emotional about letting the kittens she’d nursed back to health go out on their own.

But as kindhearted families came along to take them home, she remembered why fostering animals is so important to her.

“My heart may just break a little bit so that theirs will never have to break again,” she said. “It’s hard for me, but it frees up my home for others that need me. If I didn’t say goodbye to the ones in the past, then I would have never had these babies. So I have to say goodbye.”

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Health, Entertainment, Faith