Pixie was too small at 10 weeks old to be put in a portable ventilator so a veterinarian manually kept the tiny kitten breathing while she was transported half an hour from a clinic to a hospital that could deal with her emergency medical condition.
It was a rainy afternoon on Thursday, Jan, 12 when the 10-week-old cat was rushed to surgery. Pixie was one of the feral cats being helped by the local cat welfare group, TinyKittens.
“Pixie, one of the kittens that was slated for adoption, had had a rare and life-threatening complication during her spay, and was not expected to survive,” said lucky adoptive pet parent Susan Cormier. “The estimated bill to try to save her was 50 times the cost of simply euthanizing.”
But over the years, TinyKittens has harnessed the power of social media to help several cats in its care. The non-profit cat shelter based in Fort Langley has a 24/7 livestream of its cats and kittens.
There was nothing particularly special about Pixie. At 10 weeks, the grey tabby was a mere 2.5 pounds and when the complications occurred, many people would have said euthanize her.
But people around the world reached out to help fund her $8,000 of medical care.
“This little kitten had been followed on the livestream and social media by fans around the world since birth. These people were eagerly watching every milestone in this kitten’s life, and awaiting its adoption,” Cormier noted.
Pixie ended up bring a bit of a medical marvel. She was given a tracheotomy, a procedure almost never performed on such a tiny animal, and certainly not on one that did not yet have a home, Cormier said.
TinyKittens specializes in helping feral cats: trapping and neutering, minimizing the spread of disease and parasites, euthanizing those that are terminally suffering, and finding homes for the cats that can be socialized. It’s run by volunteers and relies on donations, and it has fans around the globe who have watched everything from pregnant cats giving birth to an elderly male curmudgeon tomcat become a foster dad to many kittens.
“Recently, they took on their largest project to date: a massive colony of several hundred feral cats,” Cormier said. “Each of these cats will require at least a couple hundred dollars in care – at bare minimum, neutering and treatment for parasites. Many will require surgery or medication.”
TinyKittens founder Shelley Roche was at the colony surrounded by feral cats needing help when she received the phone call that Pixie had complications.
“It was tough to hear and tough to think about,” Roche said.
She’s posted videos of Pixie post-surgery and thanked the donors for helping save the cat’s life as well as the vet team that transported her and the critical care team.
Pixie has now recovered, and seems to bear no lasting effects from her ordeal.
Along with one of her sisters, she has been adopted by a Cormier and her husband, Bryant Ross. They have another cat, Planet, who is getting used to having rambunctious kittens around. Along with Pixie’s new leash on life, she has a new name, Umlaut.
And Umlaut is a typical kitten. There’s lots of playing and lots of napping, although at this point she is still more shy than her sister.
“She’s rambunctious as everything,” Cormier said.
Learn more about the work of TinyKittens at www.tinykittens.com.
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