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10 kittens ‘near death’ now ‘thriving’

Furry Friends volunteer cared for animals saved from a hoarding situation

By , Columbian Staff Writer
Published:
3 Photos
Dena Hugh cuddles Bradley in the kitten room at her house, where she cared for 10 kittens who came to Furry Friends from a hoarding situation in Cowlitz County. Hugh has volunteered with Furry Friends since December 2015.
Dena Hugh cuddles Bradley in the kitten room at her house, where she cared for 10 kittens who came to Furry Friends from a hoarding situation in Cowlitz County. Hugh has volunteered with Furry Friends since December 2015. (Contributed photo) Photo Gallery

After months of care, 10 kittens who came to Furry Friends from a hoarding situation in Cowlitz County in June are nearly ready to be adopted.

All the kittens had ringworm when Furry Friends took them in, along with flea infestations, eye infections and persistent upper respiratory infections. Two of the kittens had one eye each.

“They were near death,” said Diane Stevens, marketing director for Furry Friends. “We expected kittens that were fairly healthy, but we should know that hoarding and healthy do not go hand-in-hand.”

The tiniest kitten weighed about 12 ounces, and the largest was roughly 3 pounds. The kittens were from different litters and were different ages, leading Furry Friends volunteers to assume they were inbred.

Dena Hugh, a Furry Friends volunteer since December 2015, took in all 10 kittens and kept them in her “Kitten Room.” Hugh spent two to three hours with the kittens daily, and had to put on a medical gown before visiting with them so as to not spread their ringworm infections.

“I provided them with round-the-clock care, especially at the beginning, administering antibiotics, syringe feeding them and keeping them hydrated,” Hugh said in an interview with Furry Friends. “And while it’s been challenging, it’s also been rewarding as they’ve fought their way toward good health and the chance to live the happiest of lives.”

She gave them medical baths regularly, clipping their nails prior to each bath. On bath days — she estimated she gave each kitten 14 baths — she would let the kittens stay in her bathroom for a few hours while she cleaned and sanitized the kitten room. Then she had to spend time sanitizing her own bathroom, as well.

“I marvel daily at the fact that after five months, they’ve not only survived, they’ve put on the weight they needed,” Hugh said. “They’re thriving, and they’re now behaving like normal, healthy and playful kittens.”

All kittens were declared ringworm-free this week, Stevens said. By Nov. 20, they should be ready for visitors and some pre-adoption events, although Stevens said anyone interested in them probably won’t be able to bring them home until at least Dec. 1.

Prior to adoption, the kittens still have to receive two rounds of vaccinations, be spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. The two with missing eyes are scheduled for surgery to cleanse and permanently stitch the lids over their empty sockets.

Stevens said Furry Friends spent roughly $10,000 nursing the kittens back to health. The nonprofit is hoping to make up for the costs of taking in the 10 kittens from Cowlitz County by participating in Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, on Nov. 27. Furry Friends is hoping to raise at least $6,000 on that day to offset medical costs.

For more information on the organization or to donate directly, go to www.furryfriendswa.org, email information@furryfriendswa.org or call 360-993-1097.

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