Barely a month old, Bean the kitten is a baby beating rough beginnings thanks to the love of family and foster care.
His mom, Lilith, and another feral cat named Loula were both pregnant when rescued by FosterBabyCats in Columbus, OH. The two feline ladies had a friendly relationship and a decidedly similar calico look. The founder of the kitten rescue group, Jillian, shared, “The working theory is Lilith is Loula’s mom.” And with both cats about to give birth, their family tree was about to grow.
Lilith went into labor first, giving birth to a tiny ginger kitten. Little Bean only weighed 75 grams, coming in at the lower end of the average newborn kitten weight of 50-150 grams. The tiniest of tabby sprouts he may have been, but Bean had a healthy appetite and loved snuggling with his mom and aunt. However, Jillian noticed Bean’s legs were “twisted and weak.”
Baby Bean and Brother Burrito
After a few days, Bean became a little big-brother, helping his mom welcome Burrito to the world. The pair made the cutest tabby kitten combo in orange and grey.
“2 baby chonks! Burrito and Bean are steadily gaining weight and both are looking so good for their ages, though Burrito is undoubtedly the heavy weight champ.”
While both boys were properly gaining weight, Bean was still smaller than his younger brother, and his legs were proving to be an issue. As Jillian and Bean waited for their appointment with a specialist, she massaged his legs and applied gentle heat.
“I also help him practice trying to place his feet straight and walking while I support his body weight.”
At the vet, Bean’s evaluation revealed a suspected developing osteochondrodystrophy, a disorder of the bones and cartilage. Upon inspection of Bean’s big head, the doctor also suspected the possibility of hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the cavities of the brain.
While Bean would be seeing the vet every few weeks for further evaluations and follow-ups, Jillian did physical therapy sessions every day with the happy kitten to help stretch and strengthen his body.
She found a great PT assistant in Burrito as he helped his brother get stronger using techniques such as wrestling, leaping, pouncing, and a special move Jillian calls “roly-polies.”
“Bean is doing really well gaining muscle mass and learning how to move around in a way that works best for his body,” said Jillian.
“I’m trying to do everything I can to give him the best fighting chance.”
And it certainly shows. The tiny tiger is a happy and thriving cuddle bug!
Once Loula gave birth to her litter of kittens, there was a whole lot of look-a-like family going on. Jillian reported, “The kittens all look very similar.”
With the idea that Lilith is Loula’s mom, then “Bean and Burrito would be Loula’s brothers and the four newbies [Loula’s kittens] are Lilith’s grandkids or Bean and Burrito’s nieces and nephews. It is possible that Lilith and Loula were impregnated by the same male cat, making their family tree even messier.”
This messy family tree illustrates one of the reasons spaying and neutering cats prove important, as inbreeding in feral cat colonies can lead to genetic abnormalities, which make already tough lives even harder. While this may not be the cause of Bean’s issues, fosters and rescue workers are often left broken-hearted by the loss of kittens affected by the issues inbreeding can cause.
But Lilith and Loula won’t have to worry over any more litters of kittens, thanks to Jillian and FosterBabyCats. All their kittens will never have to face such a worry either, as spaying and neutering is part of the process when raising kittens up for their forever homes.