I recently adopted three adorable kittens. Within 24 hours, it was apparent that one of them was ill, and needed veterinary care. We got him to the vet promptly, and were informed that the little guy has a birth defect– a vascular ring anomaly. We had two choices. Have him euthanized, or take him to NC State’s Vet school, and spend some serious money, and time on this issue.
So, we drove him to the vet school, and they confirmed the diagnosis, and the price tag. This is where I was forced to ask a lot of questions about his probable quality of life, and what the success rate of these procedures would likely be. See, he was only 700 grams, and the runt of his litter already. They had to insert a feeding tube to his tummy, and then also go into his esophagus laparascopically and clean out all of the impacted food. Then he would come home and we would be responsible for tube feeding this kitten every three hours around the clock, until he was big enough for the second round of surgeries to correct the defect. The good news was that the problem was entirely treatable. The bad news was the cost.
Now, we have a little kitten who has to wear a t-shirt to keep his feeding tube up on his back, and also so it doesn’t get snagged on things. This kitten- Fifi- has also managed to master the art of ditching the shirt, so we have to track him down, and pull out new material for another shirt. We use netting to create his shirts, and after he’s pulled them off a couple of times, they’re too big to stay at all. As of tonight, he’s about 1200 grams, so I anticipate that he will be big enough for surgery soon.
This is about living your principles, and doing what’s right. It is mighty inconvenient having a kitten on the same feeding schedule as a newborn. But the other option was death. I’ll take the feeding schedule, and give him a chance at a long, healthy life.