Dear friends of kittens,
It’s never a dull moment when you have kittens around. They’re unbearably cute, playful beyond measure, and so loving they can take your breath away. And when a little one who hasn’t yet known love first opens their heart and begins to trust you…what an incredible experience.
Little Florence is still learning to trust us, and to trust that life is a good thing. You can see her at right, and if you look closely, you can see that her right leg is wrapped with an IV line attached. You can also see that Flo’s holding on to vet tech Denise’s hands, trusting in her enough to know that she’ll do everything to keep Flo safe. And that’s sort of how Flo’s life has been so far – she’s had more than her share of medical challenges, but she’s finding a way to trust that we are here to help her.
Flo was found in a backyard by a cat lover, who discovered this little girl almost lifeless from flea-bite anemia. When she arrived at Tabby’s Place, we discovered that her PCV, the measure of how much of her blood is composed of red blood cells, was only nine, down from a normal in the upper twenties. Flo had so many fleas, they were literally sucking the life out of her by gobbling up all her red blood cells, and her body couldn’t produce new red blood cells fast enough to sustain her. Within minutes of her arrival, we rushed Flo to the emergency vet, where she received a life-saving blood transfusion.
Anemia was only the beginning of the story for this little cutie, though. While treating her, the emergency vet discovered that Flo has a major heart murmur, graded V/VI on a scale of I-VI. Flo underwent an echocardiogram, and while it’s hard to image a heart as tiny as hers, it was easy to see the problem: Flo has a hole in her heart. This congenital defect is a big deal. Flo’s heart murmur is so pronounced that you can hear it by putting your ear to her chest, and when you hold her, you can feel the vibration of her heart under your fingers. A heart murmur like this is called a thrill, but really, it’s anything but thrilling.
Many kittens have heart murmurs, and it’s possible that Flo may grow out of hers, even as bad as it is. We won’t know for several months if that might happen, though, and in the meantime, we’ll have to keep a close eye on this little girl. In fact, I met Flo for the first time when she was in the hospital receiving fluids for an unexplained fever – we’re not sure what was making her temperature spike, but we don’t want to take any chances with her.
In spite of such a rude introduction to life and to Tabby’s Place, Flo is making her mark on us (sometimes quite literally, with her teeth!) and finding the strength to start trusting us. After she finished her fluids, I held Flo for a while, and while she chomped on my fingers to start with, she eventually dozed off against my chest. She’s stolen my heart already, and I’ve been praying that her fever is just a bump in the road and not a sign of another long-term health problem.
This teeny girl was on the brink of death when she came to us, but thanks to the care we’ve been able to provide her, she’s got more than a fighting chance to grow up into a beautiful, spunky kitty. Thank you so much for sponsoring Florence and all our little kittens – they are amazingly strong creatures, but sometimes they need a lot of help to stay that way. Your generosity is the difference between life and death, and we’re so grateful for your help. Thank you!