We spend a lot of time with animals every day. We take them into our homes to give them somewhere to sleep and a family of their own, and we put money and time into preserving species in the world. However, there are some people who do not abide by these morals. Instead of giving these animals a home, they abandon them. One woman saw an abandoned cat and decided to save it, but she had no idea that she had actually had a real treasure on her hand.
Caring for the animals
Although many of us try our hardest to look after the animals that reside on our planet, we cannot control the actions of others.
This often puts animals in danger, as there are many people who do not know how to care for these creatures or do not want to in the first place. Animals often find themselves on the streets and homeless – which means their chances of survival are incredibly slim. That’s exactly what happened to one kitten, but its story would soon be transformed.
The poor creature
This story took place in 2016, and the woman in question was walking near to her home when she heard quiet squeal coming from a dumpster.
As soon as she realized where the squeals were coming from, she immediately sprang into action. She pulled the tiny kitten out of the trash and took a close look at the dear creature. The kitten was not in good shape. It was just seven days old and blind, and it had a broken leg and an injured paw. It was helpless.
A helpless animal
The woman could tell that the kitten had gone through a tough time at such a young age, and was struggling with its injuries and its ailments.
After all, with no sight and no ability to walk or jump out of the dumpster, the helpless animal was stuck in the dumpster. Who knew how long it had been there! It could have been there from birth, or it could have been there for just a day or so! Either way, the woman knew that the kitten’s cries were for help.
A second chance
The woman suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion as she looked at the kitten. Who could be so cruel as to dump a newborn kitten into a dumpster?
She knew that she had to help this kitten in any way that she could, so cradled it in her hands and took it home with her. She was adamant that she would nurse it back to health, tend to its ailments, and give the kitten all of the attention it needed and deserved. She was going to give the kitten a second chance at life.
The road to recovery
Although the kitten was at first afraid of the woman, she soon gained its trust, and the kitten became much more comfortable in her care.
It seems as if all of her care and attention paid off in the end, as the kitten soon started to put on weight, become much less anxious around people, and was becoming healthier by the day. Sadly, the kitten’s injured paw had to be amputated, but the kitten seemed to adapt to this new lease of life with ease. In fact, the kitten was on the full road to recovery.
Caring for the animals
While you may be congratulating the woman for taking in the helpless creature and nursing it back to health, it seems as though this wasn’t the first time she had decided to help an animal in need.
Over the course of her lifetime, the woman had become extremely attached to the world around her and the animals who lived in it. Whenever she saw an injured or homeless animal, she would either nurse it back to health by herself or take it straight to an animals shelter so they could be properly looked after.
Giving it a name
However, there was something about this little kitten that struck the woman. She seemed to have a special connection with it and wanted to watch the little thing grow up into a strong and healthy cat.
So, instead of taking it to the shelter so it could be rehomed, the woman decided to keep the kitten for her own. While she was happy with her decision – there was still one problem. The kitten needed a name! Before too long, the woman and her family settled on the name of Martyr and invited it into their family once and for all.
Bringing Martyr to the world
Martyr soon settled into life its life in its new home, but its story wasn’t over just yet. In 2017, someone by the name of Vodkaholy posted a collection of photographs of the kitten on Imgur.
It was soon discovered that the woman behind the Vodkaholy username was actually the niece of the woman who had saved the cat and had wanted to update the people of the internet about Martyr and her aunt’s experience with the kitten. Martyr was a huge hit, but some users couldn’t believe the kitten had gone through such a traumatic time.
Winning over the internet
With just a few snaps of the growing kitten, Martyr managed to win over the internet. One of the main reasons for this was because Martyr was still so tiny.
Because the woman had no idea where its mother was, she had to feed it bottles of milk by hand – and it was these kinds of photos that won over the internet with its cuteness. However, many users were also intrigued about the appearance of the kitten. Its white fur was fairly normal for a cat, but its tortoiseshell markings were much more unusual.
Finally getting bigger
As Martyr gulped down bottles upon bottles of milk, the kitten eventually started to get bigger and bigger.
In one post in January, the Vodkaholy username posted even more pictures of the kitten and told all of its fans that the kitten had been “growing up super fast” and was looking more and more like a cat as they days went by. Martyr was slowly but surely becoming like a normal house cat with each post, and the users on Imgur were lapping it up. They needed to know that the kitten was okay.
Reassuring its fans
In fact, Martyr soon built up its very own fan base, and users were constantly checking in with Vodkaholy to see whether the kitten was getting stronger and whether it was enjoying its new life with the woman.
Vodkaholy was more than happy to reassure Martyr’s fans that the kitten was thriving in its new environment, and couldn’t help herself from stating that the kitten was getting larger and larger by the day because of all of the milk it was drinking. Things were finally looking up for the abandoned cat.
A new discovery
The woman who saved Martyr hoped that there would be no more surprises for the kitten during the course of its lifetime, but it seems that she was the one gearing up for a surprise.
When they are born, the owners of kittens normally need to wait a month or so to discover the genders of their litter, because it is sometimes unclear whether they are male or female at such a young age. However, the woman was convinced that Martyr was a girl. Imagine her surprise when she realized that he was actually a boy…
A cat pattern
This new discovery was a huge shock to the woman and her family, who were almost certain that Martyr was a girl. However, it was also a shock to the vets – because Martyr’s breed and gender was not very common in the cat community.
In fact, Martyr is a calico, a breed of cat that is almost always female. There are many cat patterns like this one in the animal world, as ginger cats are also primarily one gender. In that case, ginger cats are almost always males, with a ratio of 3:1 male to female.
An unusual find
Because of this, Martyr was immediately treated as a celebrity. With very few male calico cats in the world, he was in a league of his own and a special breed in the realm of cats.
The woman who rescued the kitten in the first place was over the moon to discover that she had rescued such a phenomenon, and even believed that Martyr had beaten the genetic odds to survive the way he did. Yet, she had no idea just how special he was, and how special he would become to those around him.
Taking to Imgur
As soon as the woman’s niece heard of the genetic lottery her aunt’s cat had just won, she couldn’t wait to log onto Imgur and update all of the people who had been Martyr’s life.
She noted that he is a “very special boy” and that his rarity did not go amiss with the vet. Amazingly, Martyr really did beat the odds with his birth, because calico males are extremely rare. To be specific, only 1 male is born for every 3,000 females! This is the same as a person being struck by lightning during their lifetime.
The people of Imgur were quick to congratulate the family for welcoming such a rare breed into their family, and couldn’t believe how quickly Martyr’s life had turned around.
Many users also confirmed the news that calico males are incredibly rare and that normally families would have to find specific breeders to bring a kitten into the world. In fact, one user was so excited by the news that they decided to give Martyr a brand new nickname, complete with a hilarious pun! They called him the “cali-bro” kitten.
All about calicos
Calico cats are a type of domesticated cat who are known for their coats that contain three different colors. They typically are mostly white, with large spots of black and orange. Calicos can actually be part of many other breeds, it’s just their coloration that sets them apart.
The unique calico coloring can be found in British shorthairs, American shorthairs, Persians, Japanese Bobtails, Turkish Vans, Manx, and Exotic Shorthairs. Because calico is just a type of coat, and not a specific breed, researchers have yet to pinpoint the historic origins of this unique look.
The rare males
So, why are calico cats of the male persuasion so rare? Well, it has to do with their genetic makeup. According to researchers, a cat’s coat color is connected to their gender, and the chromosomes that comprise it.
For example, orange and black fur is is connected to the X chromosome, which both female and male cats have. However, males are usually only black or orange because they generally only have one X. For the calico pattern to appear on a male it means they have an anomaly of two X and a Y chromosomes.
A slight catch
Although the rarity of Martyr’s life is one to be celebrated, there is also something about Martyr’s rarity that does put him at a disadvantage.
Because of a blip in the male calico chromosome, he cannot have his own litter throughout his life because he is naturally infertile. Sadly, this means that the woman and her niece would not be blessed with mini-Martyr’s during his lifetime, but they can rest easy knowing that their cat is living a much better life than he would have on the street.
Not the only one
However, you’ll be happy to know that Martyr isn’t the only male calico cat to rise to fame over the past few years. In recent years, another male calico found himself at the forefront of media attention and immediately lapped up the press coverage.
This cat, named Sherman, was found on the streets by the Humane Society Silicon Valley Neighborhood Adoption Center and was waiting to be snapped up by a family who were willing to give him a new home. Hopefully, the fame worked in his favor, and he wasn’t waiting too long.
Forgetting his past
Thankfully, Martyr has found his forever home and is now living a life of luxury with his savior and her family.
Although he didn’t start off on the right paw, we hope that the cat has since forgotten the travesty of his first seven days on earth and has just focused on the future ahead of him. After all, he seems pretty darn happy with his new owners, as he rarely leaves their side. In fact, he spends most of his time attached to his owners’ shoulders or cuddling up to them!
Meowing for a new life
It’s amazing to think that Martyr could be in a completely different place right now. If the woman had not been walking at that particular dumpster at the same time that he meowed, he might not have survived the ordeal.
He may not have been found by someone who was as caring as the woman, he might not have made it through the night, and he might not have risen to fame like he has today. Although it’s terrible to think that there are more animals like Martyr on the street, it’s comforting to know that people are willing to help.
When word got out about Martyr’s story, his rescue, and his unique attributes people just couldn’t get enough of him. It wasn’t long before his story went viral, and soon the story was being picked up by numerous online publications.
Martyr’s story appeared on outlets such as Honest to Paws, Scribol, Animal Channel, Like Mag, Little Things, Cat O’Clock, and more. Martyr’s adorable little face combined with him being a rare male calico cat is just too much to resist.
Luck of the cat
Martyr was certainly lucky to have been rescued when he was, but maybe it was all thanks to him being a calico. In certain cultures, calicos are believed to be omens of good luck.
In Japan, sailors would bring calicos aboard their boats to bring them good fortune, and one train station even had a calico be the station master. In the United States, some refer to calicos as “money cats” with the belief that they could be lucky charms. Who knows what luck may await Martyr in the future!
An Irish tail
The Irish are known for their mythical stories and legends, but you may be surprised to learn that they actually have folklore about calico cats as well.
The story goes that if you have a wart, you can get rid of it by rubbing a calico cat’s tail on the wart. However, this can only be accomplished in the month of May. We’re not so sure where this tall tale came from, but if you ever get a wart in May, maybe this will work for you.
The cats of Maryland
In October 2001, the calico cat community got some very exciting news. It was announced that calico cats would henceforth be known as the official cat of the state of Maryland.
Officials decided that the white, orange, and black coloring was very similar to that of the state bird, the Baltimore Orion, and the state insect, the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. It seems like Maryland seems to have a color preference. But either way, Martyr and his calico friends are in good company!
Calicos in pop culture
Calico’s popularity is hardly new, and they’ve been part of our popular culture for a long time. In the late 19th century writer Eugene Field published a poem for children titled, The Duel, featured a calico cat.
It later inspired a song and children’s book called, The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat. In Japan, the beckoning cat statues, also called Maneki Neko or fortune cats, that you often see in shop windows waving to you were originally based on the calico cat as well. Today these figurines have become extremely popular world wide.
Calico vs. tortoiseshell
Calicos are not the only type of coat to contain multiple colors, and because of that many people often confuse them. They are most often confused with tortoiseshell cats.
Like calicos, tortoiseshell refers to the cat’s coat and not the breed, and they also contain the colors orange and black. What sets them apart is that calicos also have the large amounts of white. Additionally, tortoiseshell colors are typically swirled together, while calicos are presented in distinct patches.
Calico cats have become hugely popular all around the world, and people love the patterns and colors of their coats. However, there is no guarantee that you can recreate those patterns and colors through breeding since it’s so hard to predict.
Most professional cat breeders shy away from attempting to create calicos because they know that it is really just a luck of the draw. Even if you do successfully create a litter of calicos, the patterns of their coat will be a complete gamble.
Adopt don’t shop
If you want an adorable calico cat like Martyr to call your own there are several options for how you could find one. Some people prefer to get their cats from a breeder, but this option is typically more expensive.
Instead, you may want to consider adopting a cat from a shelter. Not only is this a more affordable option, but there are many sweet cats in shelters who are waiting to find good homes. Like Martyr’s owner, you could be saving one of their lives by choosing to take them in.