Meet the adorable kittens who have two moms

Meri and Janelle the mama cats snuggling while kittens nurse
Meri and Janelle are the proud mommas to five fluffy kittens, and these feline family members are just as sweet as they look.
By Sarah Thornton

Try to picture the cutest thing you can imagine. Now multiply that a couple of times and you’re getting somewhere close to the cuteness of this kitty cuddle-puddle. With their overlapping, rumbling purrs and languid air biscuits, Meri, Janelle and their five kittens radiate a very special kind of adorable aura, one that’s overwhelmingly peaceful.

That calm has served this cat family well. Life can be stressful for momma cats raising kittens, especially when they have to move out of their home. But even spending a day surrounded by barking dogs couldn’t shake the serenity of these two mama cats. And these days when they are settled comfortably into a foster home, the only thing that can possibly interrupt a relaxing afternoon is kitten playtime.

A whole mound of cats

Meri and Janelle’s solidly sweet foundations came from growing up in a home where they were well-loved and surrounded by family — so much family, in fact, that their person had become overwhelmed. Without accessible and affordable spay/neuter and vet resources, a couple of cats had soon increased to 30, and Meri and Janelle’s person needed help.

That help came when Soul Dog Rescue, a Best Friends Network Partner organization, announced a spay/neuter clinic three hours away from where she lived. Soul Dog would also be accepting pets to take back to its facility in Colorado. Meri and Janelle’s person arranged to surrender the furry family of seven so that they could be spayed or neutered and then find new loving families. It was tough to say goodbye, but she felt it was the best choice for all of them.

Working at the event was Heather Purdy, vet tech lead at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and toward the end of the day she was checking in on some of the pets. “I looked in (their kennel) and all it looked like was a mound of cats,” she recalls. “Dogs are barking, it’s noisy, it’s scary and I didn’t want to open the kennel door. So, I looked inside and all I saw were two adult cat faces.”

[Kitten Foster Manual]

Taking a picture on her phone, Heather zoomed in to see the kittens piled up around their moms; however, given the situation, counting them wasn’t possible. And despite everything — being loaded into a kennel, taking a three-hour car ride and having barking dogs everywhere — Meri and Janelle didn’t look even a little flustered. “They were just chilling with their babies,” says Heather.

When the event was over and it was time to pack up and head home, there was just one small speed bump: So many puppies had been surrendered that there wasn’t enough space in the transport van for all the cats. But thanks to the partnership between Soul Dog Rescue and Best Friends, the two mothers, their kittens and another momma cat and kittens were immediately welcomed into foster homes.

Heather didn’t have to think twice about volunteering her home to the pile of mama cats and kittens.

The cutest co-parents

With two nursing moms, Heather anticipated at least 10 kittens tucked in around them. But when she unloaded them, she found just five tiny tots. “Four of them were clearly the same age, the same size, all the things,” she says, “and then there was one really small one. So, I thought, well, maybe that’s just the runt.”

As the rest of the kittens’ eyes and ears started opening and with the “runt” lagging behind, it became clear that the littlest brother was probably from a separate litter just a few days younger. And it’s a mystery as to which kittens belong to which mom. In fact, they could belong to different moms altogether, given the kitten-sharing happening in their original home. It all hardly seems to matter to the furry family.

“They’re just so loving together,” Heather says. “They love the kittens. They love each other. It’s pretty amazing.”

With two moms to care for them, kittens Dayton, Mykelti, Garrison, Logan and Praedon want for nothing. Their fur is pristine and fluffy, their bellies are full and there is always a big, warm momma nearby to snuggle with.

Meri and Janelle are also an amazing source of comfort to one another. They take care of each other as much as they care for their kittens. Plus, being able to take breaks when needed is pretty great.

“The other day,” says Pat Banman, Heather’s husband and employee engagement manager at the Sanctuary, “Janelle was nursing and Meri was grooming her. It is amazing. She was sitting there grooming Janelle and comforting her while she’s nursing the babies. I’ve never seen anything as sweet as these two moms, ever.” With the number of cats and kittens Heather and Pat have fostered over the years, trust us. That’s saying a lot.

[8 reasons to foster kittens]

The overwhelming love doesn’t stop with the feline family, though. Meri and Janelle adore spending time with their human friends, as well as meeting new visitors. “These cats are some of the nicest cats Pat and I have fostered,” Heather says. “They’re extremely social and they love to be petted. If you could spend all day with them, they would be thrilled.”

As the kittens have grown big enough to explore the house, even Heather and Pat’s dog, Leda, has gotten in on the kitten cuteness. Heather says she’s in heaven, finally being able meet the babies she could previously only hear and sniff through a door. And we can’t say we blame her. They do look wonderfully snuggly.

Now picture the cutest thing you can imagine and put yourself in that picture. Soon these marvelous mommas and their sweet kittens will be ready to be adopted. And they have a whole lot of love stored up to share.

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