Written by Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager, Mdzananda Animal Clinic
Professional photography by Shuttermutts Pet Photography
Just over a month ago, a tiny kitten with blunt force head trauma (cause unknown) was handed over to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic based in Khayelitsha. The nameless kitten had seizures every 20 minutes. He could barely get up, and when he did, he would walk around in circles, unable to control the tremors in his body, and he would fall over and over again.
The kitten ended up in the care of Dr Friedl le Roux, who felt that his chance of survival was very slim. Each patient at Mdzananda gets individual treatment and care, but this little kitten needed around-the-clock care and monitoring. A dedicated volunteer, Stefanie Bergmann, was asked to take the kitten home and monitor him.
“Dr Friedl told me that he would need around-the-clock attention and I jumped at the opportunity. Mdzananda’s theatre and hospital was full, and, being a volunteer, I wanted to help. I took him home and had Dr Friedl on call for emergencies. I was given strict instructions. I was ready for the challenge,” says Ms Bergmann. “Every hour and a half I fed him, gave him medication and made sure he was warm. I set my alarm to wake me through the night. I was exhausted, but the kitten was still alive and that was all that mattered.”
On day four the seizures stopped, and on day five he was able to walk in straight lines. At this point, Dr Friedl realised that the trauma must have damaged his visual centre as he was almost entirely blind.
“Unlike humans, animals luckily cope quite well with sudden blindness. He adapted quickly and became stronger and stronger every day,” says Dr Friedl.
“If it was not for Dr Friedl and the Mdzananda Animal Clinic I don’t know what would have happened to this poor little creature. I am grateful that I was there to offer my assistance. Every time I visit Mdzananda I’m astounded at how many patients they have. They cope with the most severe injuries and illnesses with the lowest of resources. I am grateful and proud to be a part of it,” says Ms Bergmann.
The little kitten was renamed Lucky, as he was lucky to have survived. He’ll soon be joining three other blind cats in a loving home where he’ll have the best life a blind cat could hope for.
Melanie Snyman, Lucky’s owner, shares…
We were the proud owners of three blind cats (read Ghandi’s Happy Tale here http://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/happy-tales/gandhis-journey/), and now we’ve added a fourth. Ms Bergmann contacted us for some advice on having a blind cat. What started as only advice ended in the adoption of this beautiful little boy now named Kitkat.
We’ve been very fortunate to adopt these special needs kittens and will continue to do so. At seven weeks of age, Ms Bergmann advised that it was time for Kitkat to go to his forever home. Kitkat is very small for his age, and this could be due to the head trauma, which has slowed his growth and development. Leg tremors and eyesight that comes and goes have been the lasting effects of the head trauma, but this doesn’t slow him down. He’s weighed once a day to ensure he gains weight like a kitten should. His weight gain has been slow for about two weeks and has held steady at 620g. As his growth is so much slower than a normal kitten, his weight gain has also slowed down.
Kitkat settled in purr-fectly at his new home. Like a bunny he hops and runs about the room. Kitkat was greeted by all our fur-kids without any fuss, and he was instantly accepted. Our youngest kitten has taken on the role of a guardian and seems to babysit Kitkat when we’re not around.
During Kitkat’s first three weeks with us, another little blind kitten was in need of rescuing. Blind in both eyes, Lynx joined the fur-family on the 14th of December 2018 at six weeks of age.
The two kittens were both tested and weighed on the 21st of December 2018. Both kittens – Kitkat at 12 weeks and Lynx at seven weeks – weighed in at 700g. Since the vet visit, Kitkat had a sleepover at the vet due to his lack of appetite and his extreme water intake.
Blood tests and a sonar revealed that Kitkat’s kidneys are underdeveloped. The water intake seems to be a psychological problem, which we now control by water starvation.
Water starving sounds cruel, but this process will assist in reprogramming his brain not to need so much water. Unfortunately, we have no clear indication if Kitkat’s development will continue or stay at the current state. The vet wasn’t too happy with the results and was honest with us about the situation. We now hope Kitkat’s organs grow at the same pace as his body in order for both to function properly. If either one remains undeveloped, this might mean he may not be with us for many years.
Always staying positive, we took Kitkat home on the 3rd of January and placed him on a very strict feeding, medication and water schedule. We check his urine regularly to ensure it does not remain clear in colour and always make time for enough sleep and play.
Very proud, we weighed both kittens on the 12th of January, and Kitkat at 16 weeks weighed in at 800g. Lynx at 10 weeks of course passed this weight by weighing in at 1.1kg. Kitkat has been doing very well on his medication and water schedule. We’re very hopeful for the future. He’ll be retested for his kidneys and blood in two months’ time. We look forward to keeping you updated on his progress in the future. This is one little miracle to watch.
We’re thankful for the Mdzananda Animal Clinic and Ms Bergmann for giving him a second chance at life. A blind cat might not be able to see you, but they can sense your presence and feel the love you give them. Being blind doesn’t make them less of a cat; it builds character.
About Mdzananda Animal Clinic
The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is an NPO animal hospital that treats up to 700 animals per month through consultations, hospitalisation, general and orthopaedic surgeries, continuous sterilisations, mobile clinics, an animal ambulance and stray pet rehoming. Mdzananda has a strong focus on community empowerment and education to ensure responsible pet ownership into the future.
If you can support the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, please consider making a donation. Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account: 075595710, Branch Code: 025009, Reference: Your Name. For more information, contact email@example.com / 021 367 6001, or visit their website on www.mdzananda.co.za
Mdzananda Animal Clinic has been featured on Happy Tails previously; read the article here http://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/news-articles/mdzananda-animal-clinic/