by Kimberly Wade
Though we always expect it, we can never predict when emergency situations will happen—though it often seems to happen early in the evenings. Nugget’s story is no different. A woman arrived with a female cat who was pregnant and in distress. The woman had exhausted all of her resources and had nowhere else to turn. She knew the kitty needed medical care so in an act of selflessness, she surrendered her companion to Nevada Humane Society.
The cat was rushed to the clinic and five kittens were delivered via c-section. The veterinarian team worked tirelessly on the entire litter trying to save their lives but sadly, the kittens were stillborn. All of them that is, except baby Nugget, whose will to survive was incredible.
Nugget, a tiny, gray kitten, was no bigger than a couple ounces in size. We warmed her, fed her, and sent her home with our foster coordinator, Tara, who is well-versed in emergency kitten care and known for going above and beyond for the tiniest of lives. From the moment Tara held her on her chest, keeping her close to her heartbeat so that baby Nugget would know someone was there, she thrived.
Over the following weeks, we quickly learned that Nugget was always ahead of the curve. Tara fed her day and night, every two hours (Yes, Tara had dark circles under her eyes). She was a fast learner, quickly discovering her tail and paws, learning to eat on her own and soon, playtime. Nugget, despite a rough start, was going to be just fine. Mom, by the way, recovered from her surgery, was spayed, and went back to her human home.
Today, Nugget is five weeks into her young life. Her tiny teeth are coming in nicely, her eyes are still blue (did you know that all kittens are born with blue eyes, and they start to change color around the seven week mark?) and she is getting more active and playful every day. She’s had a tiny stuffed tiger with her from day one, and she’s finally equal to him in size! Nugget is charming, sassy and incredibly cute.
We decided to follow Nugget’s entire journey on Facebook, starting with the first 24 hours of her life. We’ve been posting photos and sharing her adventures. Our goal is to show people how rewarding it is to be a foster parent to orphaned kittens, and to teach the importance of spaying and neutering. Every year during Kitten Season, we see thousands of kittens arrive at the shelter, many with tough stories just like Nugget’s, and others, happy and healthy and almost ready for adoption. Fostering saves lives. It gives all of these neonatal kittens a chance that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Not all of them are hand raised by a bottle like Nugget; many arrive weaned and already well-versed in litter box training. Some may be a little shy and need socialization but others are already purrfectly content with human and animal interaction. Fostering allows kittens to grow up in a home environment, keeping them out of the shelter, which is risky because it can very easily compromise their tiny immune systems. Truly, if you can provide a foster home for a few weeks, we can find them homes for life.
You too can follow Nugget’s journey on our Facebook Page, as we’ll be posting weekly about her. She’s still in foster care with Tara and doing well—she even often comes into the office so we all get to visit and watch her grow. We can’t wait to find her a family of her own—and already have someone in mind! Follow Nugget’s Foster Journey online and as always, we’d love to hear your stories too.
Interested in fostering? Visit our website at www.NevadaHumaneSociety.org or call us at 775-856-2000 ext. 314.