In Only A Week
The Third Save of Christmas 2017: Billy Braveheart
In Only A Week
Kittens require special knowledge: medical troubles can overtake them so quickly. Their young eyes are particularly vulnerable to conjunctivitis and the herpes virus. They easily and quickly can rupture. Shelters are not set up to take care of the tiny one’s feeding or medical needs.
This little three-quarter-pound red kitten whom we ultimately named Billy Braveheart is a good example of a kitten at risk. His family probably brought him to the shelter to get help for him, since his eyes were swollen shut and he was ill with a congested nose from a cold. I expect they didn’t realize that unless a rescue foster could be found to take him THAT DAY, he would be euthanized THAT AFTERNOON. A friend who helps run Save a Kitten, a group that tries to get these tiny ones out of the shelter, knew how much I love red Maine Coon mix cats (and kittens). She sent the first photo on the page and asked if I would take him. When I gulped and said yes, she arranged his hour-long transport to me.
Billy arrived looking like a tiny scrap. He was blind and could probably not smell. He loved being held in warm hands – I think he was afraid to feel alone, and why not? Though we compressed his eyes, we could not gently get them open. We syringe fed him with a 1 ml syringe (= 1/5th of a teaspoon). He was gratifyingly hungry and ate well. We fed him a lot all day long. We put him on medications – antibiotics and antiviral pills and lots of eye meds. He looked worse before he got better. I have learned that kitten eyes have a wonderful ability to heal – beyond all imagining – and that knowledge sustained me as I dealt with his disturbing appearance. Everyone flinched when they saw him, but by day three we could see a tiny glimpse of one eyeball. His eyelids were still swollen and painful. Poor little guy.
He got better bit by bit. He gained a little vision. He learned to eat out of a bowl and gained weight. He forgot how to eat out of a bowl and lost weight, so we started to syringe him again. He loved humans totally and continued to get better. A mere seven days after we got him, he had two open eyes and was a big fuzzy ball (as can be seen in the last photo that was taken on day seven). Though one eye is still a bit smaller than the other eye, he can see and run and play. I must admit we were all astounded and so relieved at his very quick recovery. He has gone from 0.75 of a pound to over 1.5 pounds in ten days. Billy with his Braveheart is now so full of life and play and happiness. With his big paws he will probably become a big red Maine Coon mix kitty. Look how far he has come. What a gift of joy he has been to us.