Katie Duda was mourning the sudden loss of her cat Lucky when she came across a photo of two kittens needing a home at Wrenn Rescues. When Duda picked up River and his brother from their foster family, she could tell there was something special about him.
“I thought I noticed a big heart on his chest when I picked them up from the foster home, but I wasn’t sure,” Duda told The Dodo. “I really didn’t even play with them or look closely. I put my faith in Wrenn Rescues.”
At home, River was shy and wanted to hide, so Duda made him a cozy spot where he could have all the space he needed. As River became more comfortable with his new family, Duda started noticing more heart-shaped spots on his coat.
“I confirmed [one on] his chest, noticed his nose was more heart-shaped than most cats, then under his paws, chin and more,” Duda said. “To date, we’ve found seven complete hearts and two spots that look heartish at times.”
Not only is the kitten covered in hearts, but he’s also full of love.
“River is an old soul,” Duda said. “He’s calm, attentive and loving. My children have been able to gently grieve and heal with River and Remi by their side.”
“I expected the kittens to bring us joy, but truly they’ve brought us peace,” she added. “River, covered in hearts, is mending broken hearts.”
While River loves spending time with his human siblings, he still watches out for his little kitten brother.
“River is almost twice the size of Remi and acts as his guardian,” Duda said. “Yesterday, Remi wanted to sit in a large potted plant in our dining room. I had put foil in the pot to discourage the kittens from playing with the dirt and Remi was displeased. I watched River kindly remove the foil for Remi so he could lay in the dirt.”
The hearts on River’s fur have always been there, but for Duda, they’re also a sign that she made the right choice.
“My first thought was that River’s hearts are Lucky’s way of making sure we know how much he loves us,” Duda said. “River’s hearts may not be a literal message to my family, but the love they bring is very real.”
To learn more about River and his brother Remi, you can follow them on Instagram.