A mother cat in California is recovering after taking a BB bullet to the head to save her litter of kittens.

Cindy and her kittens were found abandoned and taken to Helen Woodward Animal Center in Sante Fe, Ca., where a veterinarian discovered and removed the bullet from Cindy's head, according to the Examiner.

The mama cat was initially very reluctant to leave her kittens.

"Mommy and baby kitties are all doing fine, but it was touch and go when they first arrived, Dr. Stephanie Oba, the veterinarian tending to Cindy, told the Carlsbad Patch. "They were all very tiny, malnourished, unvaccinated and very scared. It took a gentle hand to pull that momma away from her babies."

Shelter officials soon discovered why Cindy was so skittish. The cat and her litter had been shot at, and Cindy had taken one of the bullets.

"I like to think every mother would do the same," shelter staff member Shannon Bush told Patch. "She certainly is a role model to mothers everywhere."

Cindy and her kittens are recovering at the shelter and will be available for adoption, officials said.