Tippi the kitten came to us through an acquaintance of Lorna, one of our volunteers. He had heard that she fostered cats and kittens for the Society and hoped she would be able to help. The man had a stray cat turn up in his garden and gave birth to a litter of kittens in his shed. Wanting to do the right thing, he took the feline family in and began to look for homes for the kittens. His children had become attached to the mother and they decided to keep her.
The only problem was the little black female kitten with a deformed leg, probably due to her umbilical cord wrapping round the leg and stopping the circulation. She had a stump, just below the first joint; the leg was about half the length it should be. His vet advised that the leg should be amputated at six months, when she would be ready for spaying at the same time. The man was having difficulty finding a new owner who would be willing to take on a kitten requiring such an expensive procedure and he did not feel that he could keep her himself. It was decided that she would be admitted to the Sanctuary’s care until a new home could be found, possibly until after she had the surgery. As she was only nine weeks, she went into foster care with Lorna.
After a week it was evident that she could not wait until she was six months for the surgery as the stump was constantly raw and bled because she was trying to walk on it. It also affected her ability to go to the toilet as it caused her pain to squat, and litter of any kind hurt her raw stump. Therefore, the Sanctuary’s vet decided to do the surgery at 13 weeks, spaying her at the same time so that she didn’t have to go through another anaesthetic at a later date. This decision would ultimately save her life.
During the operation a large blood clot was found in her abdomen, which was traced back to a tear in her spleen, which had to be removed. The damage was usually consistent with some kind of trauma, such as a kick or road accident. It is a mystery as to how she had this injury as she was closely monitored in foster care and when speaking to the man who originally had her he could not recall anything of note. The vet said it could have been bleeding for a number of weeks – we will never know when it happened or how. We do know that any slight bump or fall during the time it was bleeding could have been fatal. It’s a good job we didn’t wait until she was six months old for the surgery!
Recovery was slow and for the first few days she would not eat and everyone was really worried. Various foods were tried to get her to eat, from tuna to custard. When she finally ate a small amount of chicken we knew she had turned the corner. She also began to go to the toilet normally, without the frustration and wailing that accompanied it before. She had to then endure the annoyance of a Buster Collar for ten days to stop her from biting her many stitches.
There was relief all round when the stitches came out and she could then begin to enjoy being a kitten again and she hasn’t looked back.
During all this Lorna and her husband became especially attached to her and decided to break their rule of not adopting any of their foster felines. Tippi has become a permanent member of their furry family.
And an explanation of the name: on the evening she arrived Lorna and her family watched Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ starring Tippi Hedren, a great animal rights campaigner. A perfect name for a kitten who tips over!