Lots Of Love & A Furry Brother Helps This Sad-Eyed Rescue Cat Come Out Of Her Shell

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on December 9, 2017

Mami, the cat with the saddest eyes you’ve ever seen, was rescued as a kitten when she was found huddled in a dumpster in the middle of winter with her mother and siblings.

Mami and her feral family were taken in by a rescue for a chance at a better life. That’s where Sinead Brooks and her then-boyfriend (now husband) Riley come in. The couple, from San Francisco, were living in an apartment building that didn’t allow pets, but Sinead couldn’t resist Mami’s sorrowful eyes. iHeartCats had the opportunity to talk to Sinead about Mami and her younger brother, Morty.

TGIF! Kicking off our Friday morning with a little #fallbackfriday #fbf of a VERY little kitten Mami. This was the first week we got her! She lived in our bathroom for three weeks so she could relax and get used to her surroundings. I am so in love with that face 😍 #babygirl #mybaby #loveofmylife #myfirstborn #furbaby #furbabiesofinstagram #thatface #cutepetclub #pinknose #cutestcat #whorescuedwho #adoptdontshop #rescuecats #catsofinstagram #catstagram #catsagram #catlovers #cats_of_instagram #cat_features #catsrule #catslover #catsoninstagram #catsofinsta #topcatphoto #dailycatphoto #dailymeow #catfeaturedaily #ellenratemycat

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“Once I got the picture [of the rescued family from my best friend], I didn’t even talk to my husband, I just said ‘If the one with white is a girl, I will take her!’ There was just something so special about her. She has had the exact same personality since she was a kitten, so between the face and the charm, I was hooked!”

What causes her eyes to look so sad all the time?

“Our vet said that her eyes are that shape because something occurred during her development that kept her skull from developing and thus created the different bone structure she has. Sometimes [her eyes] cause her issues, though. We are currently monitoring her right eye, which has bothered her on and off her whole life. If it isn’t better by Monday, she will have to go to the vet, which is absolutely a last case scenario since it’s incredibly traumatic for her.”


This is the face that makes any bad day turn to a good day. I look forward to bedtime because I know that’s her and my special time to snuggle and bond without (Morty) interruptions. This baby will always hold a special place in my heart! 💜🐾🐱 #babygirl #loveofmylife #furbaby #soinlove #sweetie #perfect #topcatphoto #dailycat #adoptdontshop #whorescuedwho #catsofinstagram #cutepetclub #catstagram #catlovers #catsagram #cats #cats_of_instagram #cat_features #catlady #catslover #catsofworld #catsoninstagram #catsrule #catsofinsta #rescuecat #iadopted #adoptyes #cutestcat #pinknose #ellenratemycat

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The first few months with Mami were pretty rough. She would hide behind the toilet and hiss any time Sinead or Riley would get too close to her. Despite Sinead’s previous experience with feral cats, earning Mami’s trust was no easy feat.

“I cannot lie, it was tough. There were tears…a lot of frustration! I have had some experience with ferals before, but I had never had a cat who needed us to prove ourselves so much. She really tested me – even peeing on me one time (I think that was our lowest point).

Mami always kept a barrier up with us – cuddling, but not for too long. But we loved her so much! We saw potential in her from the start. It took her at least 10 days to not hiss at us nonstop. We moved homes when she was around one, and that set her back a lot. But, we also got her brother Morty! That helped a lot because he taught her normal cat behavior. I would say in the last 6 months, she has truly relaxed with her surroundings. She is so affectionate and adorable; she wants to be pet nonstop while she falls asleep!”

Adding a new cat to Mami’s world was a big gamble, but it paid off in a big way!

“The decision to get Morty was really difficult. We had been talking about getting another baby, but we needed to make sure it wouldn’t affect Mami negatively. So when we took Mami in for her one-year old check up, we talked to the vet about the pros and cons of getting another. Our vet said that even though every case is different, she thought Mami would benefit from a little brother. So that is what we got!

Morty joined us in June 2015. Mami didn’t hiss or claw or anything! She was just a little bit scared of him, especially since he is very active. Morty has developed a more dominant personality as he has gotten older, but the more personality he shows, the more Mami is exposed to it and starts to mimic.

Morty is sort of her test subject: she watches what he does, and that it’s safe to do, and then she eventually tries it herself. Morty does get jealous of attention, but this has caused Mami to become more deliberate in her actions, which has been awesome! They groom each other on a daily basis, and play together pretty much anytime they aren’t sleeping. They are both amazing kitties!”

Sinead summed up life with an anxious cat:

“Being Mami’s humans can be incredibly frustrating sometimes. Watching her stress and get startled by things that are everyday occurrences sometimes makes you feel like she hasn’t made any progress at all, but sometimes we just have to take a step back and understand why she is wired this way, and that if there was any way for her to relax, she would do it…we work with her as much as we can to manage it and keep her moving forward.”

Be sure to follow Mami and Morty on Instagram. A big thanks goes out to Sinead Brooks for taking the time to talk with us!