It was the last full week before the festivities when we heard that a sick kitten was on his way
Roo, and the rest of his litter, had been found abandoned in a street in London. Homes had
been found for two in a loving home in Sussex just two days earlier. The larger of these two
was a cuddly black and white kitten, who became Smudge. He was well grown, cheerful and
eating well. He weighed nearly a kilo. He had fleas and worms, which were easily solved, but
was otherwise fit.
But his ginger brother Roo was half his size. Literally only half a kilo in weight, he was also
parasitised, and anaemic from blood loss to the fleas. He was suffering with mild diarrhoea
when we first met him. We treated his parasites too, and offered him a specialist food to help
him build himself up, which he seemed happy to eat.
But the next day he had worsened considerably. He had barely eaten overnight, his
diarrhoea was worse, and he could not keep his body temperature up. We noticed that his
tongue and his bottom had ulcers on, which was hardly going to help improve his appetite.
To be honest, we thought he had very little chance of pulling through, and prepared his
owners for the worst.
His owners had never nursed a sick kitten before, so we felt he was better off in our hospital.
He was too small to place a cannula into his vein to give him intravenous fluid therapy, which
would be my first choice for any larger sick pet.
I elected to maintain his hydration by a combination of oral fluids, fluids injected under his
skin and fluids placed in a sterile manner directly into his abdomen.
Then I passed him to my nursing team, who bedded him down in an incubator environment.
They worked all day to help him gradually warm up from two degrees below normal. Every
30 minutes they fed him tiny warmed amounts of food or electrolyte fluids. They
administered the antibiotics I prescribed, and cleaned his sore eyes, mouth and bottom.
There were people with him constantly all day. He had a lot more diarrhoea to do, but by the
end of the day we knew we had at least done our best. We weren’t sure which way it would
go and whether he would even make it to Christmas.
The next morning, he was a different fellow. He was significantly brighter, and strong enough
to take food more easily. His diarrhoea settled down, and from that day he quickly grew
He was our Christmas miracle!