Sometimes even the smallest, most vulnerable critters don’t get so lucky in life. Even some that are as adorable and affectionate as kittens are born with all sorts of problems, diseases, and sicknesses. That’s exactly what happened to this adorable girl named Matilda Beans.

Matilda was born with an upper respiratory infection, which hit her hard because of her age. While her brothers and sisters grew, Matilda was getting worse and worse. Thankfully, an amazing human named Ashley Kelley decided to foster her and nurse Matilda back to health. It took lots of work and dedication and eventually the kitten was back to full health and can live a happy life. While all of this was happening, Matilda found a new friend that kept her company—a stuffed toy named Lamby Beans. As Ashley said: “A love story, starring Matilda Beans and her baby Lamby Beans.”

More info: Rescue Shelter’s Instagram | Ashley’s Instagram

This is Matilda with her favorite toy named baby Lamby Beans

Image credits: wrennrescues

Lamby Beans has been Matilda’s best support during her recovery

Image credits: wrennrescues

Matilda’s life wasn’t easy from the start. She was born with all kinds of sicknesses

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley told Bored Panda: “Matilda Beans was 9 days old when I met her. She was part of a litter who came into our rescue a bit sick with an upper respiratory infection (URI), but since she was the runt, it hit her very hard. Everyone else improved, but she only got sicker and sicker until it got to a really critical point.”

Image credits: wrennrescues

While her siblings grew up into healthy kittens, she only got sicker and sicker

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley Kelley took Matilda in with open arms. She spent months trying to save Matilda with all sorts of special equipment

Image credits: wrennrescues

“I have ICU equipment at my house (an incubator, oxygen concentrator, nebulizer, injectable fluids, and ability to give medications, and I work from home so am able to monitor constantly), so it was decided that she should come to my house to get through her sickness.”

Image credits: wrennrescues

For a very long time, Matilda didn’t get any better, the vets were saying that she needs to be euthanized

Image credits: wrennrescues

“Once she got here, though, she actually got a little bit worse and was diagnosed with severe corneal ulcers and a pretty severe case of pneumonia on top of her URI. The option of euthanasia was brought up by the vets at her worst point, as a compassionate option since she was very very sick, but I knew she wasn’t ready to give up. It took a whole month of constant oxygen therapy, multiple nebulizer treatments per day, very strong antibiotics, eye drops, and nose drops to get her through it, but she was very strong-willed and wanted to live, so she did! We were told she may not see, but her ulcers cleared up completely and she seems just fine. She amazes me!”

Image credits: wrennrescues

However, Ashley knew the kitten wasn’t ready to give up, so she didn’t either. Ashley kept on taking care of Matilda

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Thankfully, all the hard work paid off and Matilda is now a beautiful and healthy 11-week-old kitten

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“She is now almost 11 weeks old and still has some residual lung scarring and chronic congestion problems we are working on clearing up, but she is otherwise a very healthy and happy growing girl. She is very feisty and playful but will pause her playtime to come to cuddle up and lick my nose in an aggressively affectionate way. She is constantly moving, playing, and wrestling with her kitten friends. She’s been such a joy to foster.”

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley tells us how Matilda is doing now: “Matilda Beans is doing great! She has some persistent sneezes and watering eyes occasionally, but it is minimal and not contagious to other cats. We are optimistic that she will eventually outgrow it, but if not, that’s okay too. She can still live a happy, fulfilling life!

She is still looking for her forever home! Adopters will need to be within 4 hours of the Los Angeles area, and have another young cat to be friends with her. They must also promise to never declaw, and to keep her indoors.”

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley tells us why she didn’t give up on Matilda: “I’ve fostered a lot of sick kittens, and not all of them make it. And I never give up on a foster kitten, but when they are too sick or incompatible with life on earth, they always tell me in their way. There will be different symptoms, of course, with each case, but I can always see when the light goes out in their eyes. Matilda Beans’ light never even dimmed; it is a wildfire rather than a light.

I foster one litter or group of kittens at a time, and after one group gets adopted I tend to take the next one in pretty quickly since there is a never-ending need. I specialize in sickly or special needs kittens, and there are tons of them out there! Matilda Beans was a more intensive case since she needed round-the-clock care for over a month. But not unusual for the demographic of kittens I foster.”

“We were told she may not see, but her ulcers cleared up completely and she seems just fine. She amazes me!”

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Matilda’s trusty companion Lamby Beans was always by her side and she never lets him out of her sight

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley told us how Matilda got Lamby Beans: “Lamby Beans was in my stash of washable foster kitten toys, I’m not even entirely sure where it came from! But when she hit the playful 3-week-old stage, I put it in the incubator with her so she’d have a friend and she took right to it! They were inseparable until she finally got past her contagious point and could meet my other two fosters. She spends less time with LB now, but she still cuddles up to it when she’s sleepy.”

Image credits: wrennrescues

When she’s not snuggling her favorite plush toy, she’s playing with her siblings or foster mom

Image credits: wrennrescues

Image credits: wrennrescues

Ashley gives some advice to people who want to foster: “I could go on for hours on advice for fosters, but I will just share the advice that I needed to hear the most as a foster. Prioritize your mental health! Fostering is super fun and very rewarding, as these animals literally wouldn’t get from their previous life to their ‘happily ever after’ without foster homes, but it can also be heartbreaking and exhausting. Special needs and very young animals especially, sometimes they don’t make it. More commonly, they DO make it, but they take a lot of your emotional and physical energy with them! Take time to take care of yourself. If you find yourself overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break. It’s very easy to get sucked into animal rescue and then burn out, and then we lose our amazing volunteers!”

Her story is the perfect example of why you should never give up, even if it seems like the whole world is against you

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“Matilda is a force of nature. For any astrology enthusiast, she is a classic Aries. A fiery, vivacious girl. She is always bouncing around, wrestling her two kitten friends, and smacking toys across the room. When I come in the room she is thrilled to see me, and much like a hyperactive toddler will come over to give me a sneezy kiss on my nose and then continue on her way. She loves all other cats, my human children, and our small dogs even. Friendly and spicy.”

Ashley tells us more about herself and her story: “I began fostering with my mom in 2006 as a teenager. We started with puppies, which soon led to adult dogs, and then we tried a mama cat with a litter, then orphaned kittens. That was where I found my calling, and I’ve loved it ever since. When I got married and had my two children, I took a couple of years off from kittens and fostered a couple of older cats, but when my children were school age I got back into it. I’ve recently decided to focus more on special needs cases since they tend to be euthanized due to a lack of resources.”

Image credits: wrennrescues