The Size Of A Rescue Kitten Is Half That Of A Normal Cat
Rescuers realized they had to assist five newborn kittens who had wound up in a remote shelter in North Carolina. The unfortunate kittens were housed in a small, frigid cage, and because kittens that young can’t generate their own heat, they needed to get out as soon as possible.
Susan Spaulding, a foster parent and cofounder of the National Kitten Coalition, agreed to take in all five kittens. Spaulding has 25 years of experience dealing with kittens and was unfazed by the newborns’ need for bottle-feeding and round-the-clock care to live.
The kittens were in incredibly poor condition when they arrived at their foster home, and unfortunately, one of them didn’t make it and passed away the next day. As discouraging as it was, Spaulding knew she couldn’t give up on the four remaining kittens.
“I honestly didn’t know what the future held, but I was going to give Bijou and her brothers’ lots of love and hope for the best,” Spaulding told.
From the very beginning, Bijou, the only girl in the litter, was much smaller than her brothers. As time went on and her brothers started to grow, Bijou simply didn’t.
“The remaining three kittens, all males,” Rebecca Jewell, executive director of the National Kitten Coalition, told The Dodo, “progressed regularly and moved on to rescue for adoption right on time.” “Bijou grew at a considerably slower pace, and at around 4 ounces, she appeared to cease developing. She would gain and lose a few kg.”
Bijou’s health took a turn for the worse one night, and she was on the verge of passing out – but she made it. Bijou seemed to get stronger as a result of the hardship, and she soon crossed the 5-ounce mark.
“I was going to fight right beside Bijou as long as she was fighting and comfortable,” Spaulding said.
Bijou began to develop slowly, but she would always be considerably smaller than a regular cat. She weighed just 8.2 ounces at 9 weeks, and by 4 months, she had grown to 1.6 pounds. That’s almost half the size of a typical kitten at that age.
It’s unknown why Bijou is so diminutive. Spaulding has reared more “micro” kittens like Bijou, and veterinarians’ sole hypotheses include a lack of particular enzymes or hormones, as well as congenital cardiac problems. Regardless, Bijou is the happiest little cat you’ve ever seen, and she doesn’t seem to notice that she’s unusual.
“The joy she conveys to everyone around her is infectious,” said Spaulding.
Bijou is now 8 and a half months old and weighs 3.3 pounds. Despite her small size, Bijou is perfectly healthy, and is still in foster care with Spaulding in Charlotte, North Carolina. Spaulding is happy to care for little Bijou as long as she needs, and everyone loves watching her grow – even if the process is a little slower than most.
“Every life counts to me,” Spaulding said. “Once I’ve made a commitment, I don’t give up simply because the path is difficult – as long as the baby’s quality of life is good.”