Rescuers realized they had to assist five newborn kittens who had wound up in a remote shelter in North Carolina. The unfortunate kittens were confined in a small, chilly 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 infants’ requirement for bottle-feeding and round-the-clock care to live.
When the kittens arrived at their foster home, they were in terrible shape, and tragically, one of them didn’t make it and died the next day. Even though it was upsetting, Spaulding knew she couldn’t abandon the four remaining kittens.
“I honestly didn’t know what the future held,” Spaulding told The Dodo, “but I was going to give Bijou and her brothers plenty of love and hope for the best.”
Bijou, the only girl in the litter, was always noticeably smaller than her brothers. Bijou just did not develop like her brothers did as time passed.
“The remaining three kittens, all males,” Rebecca Jewell, executive director of the National Kitten Coalition, told The Dodo, “progressed properly 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 trauma, and she soon reached the 5-ounce threshold.
“I was going to fight right beside Bijou as long as she was fighting and comfortable,” Spaulding added.
Bijou began to develop slowly, but she would always be considerably smaller than a typical 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 several “micro” kittens like Bijou, and veterinarians’ main 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 brings to everyone around her is infectious,” said Spaulding.
Bijou, who is 8 and a half months old and weighs 3.3 pounds, is now 8 and a half months old. Bijou is currently in foster care with Spaulding in Charlotte, North Carolina, despite her little stature. Spaulding is delighted to look for Bijou for as long as she requires it, and everyone enjoys watching her develop – even if it is a little slower than others.
“Every life counts to me,” Spaulding added. “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.”