All mothers, no matter their species, have strong maternal instincts. If you ask any mother, they would readily tell you that they would go through fire for the sake of their children. This was true for this one mother cat who went viral after she risked her life five times just to save her kittens from a burning building.

Scarlett is an estimated nine-month-old cat living in Brooklyn, New York. She gave birth to a litter of kitties that year like many mother cats do. But there’s something special about Scarlett that will make you love her too.

One day, Scarlett’s building caught on fire. She quickly realized that she needed to save her kitties and brave the flames. Going in and out of the burning building five times, she finally got all of her babies to safety.

She carried her little kittens to safety one at a time, not minding that her body was suffering from burns. She nearly lost her life, but she fought for her babies.

Scarlett quickly became a viral sensation after her story was publicized online, catching the attention of media outlets worldwide. She has since been featured in numerous books and has become the face of North Shore Animal League’s fundraising and public awareness campaigns – the same shelter that treated Scarlett and her kittens when they were rescued by firemen all those years ago.

The root of the blaze that consumed the building is, according to statements, unidentified. Nevertheless, the municipal administration knows that the unoccupied garage where Scarlett was hidden away was purportedly used as a crack house. The city got a call about the fire so firefighters came to put it out.

After the fire was extinguished, a firefighter by the name of David Giannelli observed Scarlett transporting her kittens from the garage single-handedly. He noticed that not only were Scarlett’s eyes blistered shut and her paws and ears burned, but also that her coat was severely singed. However, it appeared as if she didn’t experience any pain while saving her kittens.

Once Scarlett got all of her kittens out of the building, she touches each one’s nose to verify they were all there.

She then collapsed from the pain and lost consciousness.

Only one kitten didn’t make it out of the litter that Scarlett rescued. A few months later, though, Scarlett and the surviving kittens were ready for adoption. They didn’t have to wait long before they found their forever homes—Scarlett was adopted by a woman who only takes in special needs cats, and all her kittens were quickly snapped up as well. Over the years, Scarlett dealt with multiple health issues but managed to live a happy life despite everything.

The North Shore Animal League has announced that Scarlett, the mother cat who saved her kittens from a fire, has passed away. Although she is gone, her legacy will live on forever. The story of how she bravely risked her life to save her children is one that will be told for generations to come. Scarlett was truly selfless and an amazing mother.