A woman was surprised one day in fall 2016 to hear mewing from a dumpster. When she checked, she found a tiny, motherless, week-old calico kitten. It had a broken front leg, and one back paw was gangrenous.
She took it home and began bottle-feeding it. It was so young that its eyes hadn’t yet opened when it lost its back paw. But it was a fighter, and as its front leg healed, it soon began to grow like a weed. She named it Martyr.
No one knows how Martyr ended up in the dumpster or what happened to the mother or littermates, but Martyr got lucky that day.
The woman had lots of experience fostering out kittens, but Martyr was so cute and loving that she ended up adopting the kitten instead.
The little cat still had a few surprises in store for rescuers. Most calicos are female, but as the kitten got older, it became clear that Martyr was a little boy!
Calico boys are rare. Only 1 in 3,000 calicos turns out to be male and they are always sterile. Nevertheless, Martyr grew up otherwise healthy and is now a happy, rambunctious yearling.
Martyr’s story went viral when his rescuer’s niece posted about him on imgur when he was 3 months old. He was an instant hit, and everyone was relieved to find out he had beaten such long odds to grow up healthy.