Bamboo For You™
A Kitten In A Coma
A couple of weeks ago, James went out to move his truck over to the bamboo nursery area to load up some plants for a delivery. When he started the engine he heard a rapid thump-thump-thump-thump noise coming from under the hood. He turned off the engine, opened the hood of the truck and discovered a kitten laying motionless in the fan well, under the radiator fan blade. The way the kitten was positioned, it appeared that he had been hit in the head repeatedly by the fan blade. With some difficulty, James got the kitten out of the fan blade compartment. The kitten had a small nick out of one ear, where the blade had sliced it. There was no other external bleeding, but the kitten was limp and unconscious, although still breathing. It appeared to be about 6 weeks old.
We checked with the neighbors and no one was missing a kitten, which was not surprising. Unfortunately, we have a lot of feral cats out here in the country and it can be a very difficult life for them, trying to survive in the wild. For a feral kitten, the chances of growing to adulthood are slim. If the hawks or owls don't get them, they still have a constant struggle for survival. This little kitten probably thought that the fan compartment of the truck engine was a safe, comfortable hiding place.
We did not expect the kitten to live, but we brought him into the house and placed him on some towels in a large cardboard box, thinking that we would make his last moments of life as comfortable as possible. The kitten remained comatose for the rest of the day. The next day, there was no change. We carefully held him, talked to him, and petted him. He was still breathing, but otherwise appeared lifeless. On the third day, he began to have some brief seizures, which became increasingly violent throughout the day. Then, to our amazement, the seizures stopped and the kitten regained consciousness. He tried moving around in the box, but was obviously weak and disoriented, unable to stand or walk. We were able to get him to drink some water placed in his mouth with a medication syringe. We ran out and got some cat food and he began eating.
As he began to gain some strength, it became clear that he had some neurological deficits. He could not walk in a straight line. We would put a bowl of food down for him and he would walk toward it, but end up circling to the left. After making a complete circle, he would head for the food bowl again, only to make another circle to the left. Each successive circle brought him a little closer to the food bowl until finally his circling brought him to the bowl. After seeing this a few times, we just started putting him down with his head over the bowl.
Day by day we saw improvement. His energy increased as he continued to eat and drink. He began to track objects with his eyes and began reacting to sounds. After trying repeatedly to vocalize, I began to hear the most heart-tugging, barely audible "meow" coming from him as he looked up at me. His coordination rapidly improved and he started walking without circling. We knew that he was going to be OK when he starting showing signs of playfulness.
After only 3 weeks, he is now acting like a normal, healthy kitten. I took him to the vet to get him started on vaccinations and the vet could find nothing wrong with him, other than some ear mites and hookworms, which are easily treated. So, we now have a new member of our menagerie. Considering that this little kitten came back to life from near death, we decided to name him Phoenix. Here he is.
This picture was taken shortly after he first began eating. Of course, we have showered him with toys.
The rest of the photos were taken about a week later, when he was well into his recovery.
Bamboo For You & Phoenix