*Edited to add: We’ve received over $2,950 in donations in less than two days! That’s more than enough to pay for the surgeries for ALL of these kittens, thank you all so much! You guys are so incredible!!!
Estimated to be born on June 23, 2009, these six kittens (named after characters from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels) came to Challenger’s House – and to us, as their foster parents – at the age of six weeks old. (You can read about them in the blog, beginning here.) Like all kittens born and raised by mother cats in the wild, they had goopy eyes and were sneezing. The sneezing went away, but the super-goopy eyes stayed on. We treated them religiously with ointment, and after several days their eyes cleared up.
Which is when we realized that there was something else going on with their eyes. All six of them, to some extent, had odd upper eyelids. They looked torn to me, for wont of a better description, but their lower eyelids looked fine. I took them to the vet, who looked at them and knew immediately what the problem was:
Basically, their upper eyelids didn’t form correctly. They all had partial upper eyelids, but all of them had at least a piece of one eyelid missing. Terry and Bill have it the worst; when they’re sleeping, you can still see part of their eyes, which means that their upper and lower eyelids don’t meet. This can cause dryness, and ultimately eye damage.
The vet consulted extensively with an ophthalmologist in Birmingham, and then we were told that there is a solution to this problem – what they do is, they take a bit of lip from the corner of the kitten’s mouth and graft it onto the eyelid, meaning that as they recover, they’ll have sutures on their eyelids as well as on their mouth.
The good part is that I won’t have to put the kittens through the trauma of driving them down to Birmingham (a 2-ish hour drive each way), because the vet is confident that she can perform the surgery herself.
Since Bill, Hoyt & Sam are all over two pounds and big enough to be neutered, they have an appointment to be neutered on Friday, August 28th, and the vet is likely going to perform the eye surgery on at least one of the boys at that time, if not all three of them. Once the first surgery is down, she’ll have a better feel for exactly how long each surgery will take, and then she can determine whether the rest of the boys should have their eyes done at that time, or wait until a later date.
Sookie, the only girl, will need to be spayed (once she’s over 2 pounds), and since that’s a more extensive surgery than neutering, she’ll have to have two separate surgeries. And since Terry has to have his hernia repaired in addition to being neutered, he’ll have to have his eyes repaired in a separate surgery, also, since the neutering plus the hernia repair plus the eye surgery would have him under for too long.
So we have our solution and we’re ready to move ahead!
I don’t have a sum yet as to what the surgeries will cost – the vet is working on that – but I know that it’s not going to be inexpensive to reconstruct the eyelids (or part of the eyelids) for six tiny cats, and I know that the surgeries will strain the shelter budget quite a bit.
Update (8/29): Sam has had surgery and is resting comfortably at home! Read about that here.
Update (9/23): All six of the kittens have had their eye surgery (as well as all being neutered or spayed) and are recovering well. At about the two week mark, the upper part of their grafts seem to be sloughing off, leaving fairly normal tissue behind. At this point, all we can do is watch and wait for them to finish healing.
That’s where you come in (you knew that was coming, right?). If you can spare some money to help pay the vet who will be reconstructing the eyelids of these kittens so that they won’t suffer eye damage as they grow up, it would be very much appreciated.
Challenger’s House accepts donations by mail (check or money order), by phone (Mastercard/VISA), or select the button below to donate through PayPal. (Make sure you make a note to let Susan know that the donation is meant for the surgery fund for the True Blood 6!)
112 Tristian Rd.
Toney, AL 35773
Feel free to spread the word – steal either of the banners below, or create your own! Every little bit of help for these kittens is very much appreciated.