If any two cats deserved a playdate in a safe and happy environment, it was Boop and Bruno, who had a rough start at life.
At just five days old, Bruno (the black cat) was seized by Washington D.C.'s animal control. He was found in a cruelty case and because of his terrible living conditions, was covered in bacterial cysts. One-week-old Boop (the grey cat) was discovered in the trash in Virginia, scared and crying out for help.
Luckily, both of these cats found their way to Hannah Shaw, also known as The Kitten Lady. Shaw's organization rescues and rehabilitates neonatal kittens, as well as educating the public on the need to care for these felines.
"Neonatal kittens do not fare well in a shelter setting, both because shelters typically don't have the resources to give them the round-the-clock specialized care they need, but also because a crowded shelter can be a dangerous place for a baby with a weakened immune system," Shaw tells petMD. "For that reason, it's often best for kittens to be raised in a foster home or nursery setting."
Before Boop and Bruno could be on their way to being having the playful kitten lives they deserved, Shaw had to nurse them to good healh. Bruno recieved antibiotic treatments and extractions for his cysts, which went away after a week. "After that, he just had a funny little haircut while his shaved areas grew back," Shaw shares. "Now that his hair has grown back in he is the picture of feline health—a strong, energetic little boy."
"Boop struggled in her first weeks," Shaw says. "She had signs of Fading Kitten Syndrome like fever and dehydration. After being treated with subcutaneous fluids, plasma therapy, pancreatic support, diluted formula with pedialyte, and a lot of love and patience, Boop has made a full recovery from FKS."
Caring for kittens this young and with this much trauma can often prove to be a challenge. "Orphaned kittens need to be bottle fed and stimulated to go to the bathroom every 2-4 hours for the first weeks of life, including overnight—and they need to be carefully monitored for medical issues," says Shaw. "Because they have had to survive without their mother, they often have poor immune systems and are susceptible to illness."
Thankfully, with the aid of The Kitten Lady, Boop and Bruno thrived and got the best gift of all: a best friend. After their respective quarantines and care, Boop and Bruno became inseparable. Their first playdate, was not only adorable (which, as you can see from these photos, was beyond cute), but a big moment in their young lives.
Shaw explains, "These two kittens had never seen another kitten—they both became orphaned when their eyes were still closed. The look on Bruno and Boop's faces when they saw each other for the first time was priceless. Bruno especially was very excited and wouldn't stop pouncing and jumping with glee over his new friend. There's something very special about seeing two orphans, who came into life with such a disadvantage, having the opportunity to experience a 'normal' childhood with good health and loving friends."
Once Boop and Bruno meet the required weight and age, and have been spayed and neutered, they will be available for adoption. The Kitten Lady is hoping to find a new loving forever home that these two can live in together. (If you are interested in applying to adopt Boop and Bruno, you can do so here.)
Not only is Boop and Bruno's story heartwarming, but they are spreading awareness about the importance of educating the masses about strays. Shaw alerts those who find kittens outside, "Don't assume they are orphaned. "
She adds, "So many of the babies that come to me are picked up from well-meaning individuals who simply didn't realize that the mom was around the corner...but orphaning kittens puts them at a much higher risk than letting them stay with their mother."
Shaw recommends waiting at least two hours to see if the mother returns, and if she does, leaving them with her until they can be weaned and taken into foster care and that the mother can be spayed.
Images via Andrew Marttila