In a motherly show of courage, a cat raced into a burning building to rescue her five kittens, one by one.
And then with her eyes blistered shut and her paws burned, she made a head count of her young ones, touching each one with her nose to make sure they were all safe.
The heroics of the cat nicknamed Scarlet have turned the once-homeless feline and her brood into the most coveted kitties in an animal shelter.
While they recovered, more than 700 people had called seeking to adopt them.
“We’re still accepting inquiries,” said Marilyn DeToro, an employee at the North Shore Animal League. “Our main concern is getting them the best possible home.”
The story of Scarlet, so named for the patches of red that can be seen through her singed fur, began early Friday when firefighter David Giannelli found the feline family during a fire in the borough of Brooklyn.
He found two kittens a few feet from the side of the burning building and three more across the street. “What she did was she ran in and out of that building five times, got them all out, and then started moving them one by one across the street,” said Giannelli, who took the animals to the shelter.
Veterinarians say Scarlet opened her eyes slightly Sunday and they believe she will recover her sight. Her 4-week-old kittens were doing well.
Marge Stein, the shelter’s manager of adoption services, said “It shows with all creatures, animals or people, there’s no way of measuring a mother’s love.”