Kitten loves her spa baths

Liv the kitten lying in her medicated bath with some rubber duckies
Little Liv didn’t just tolerate weeks of daily Epsom salt baths for a skin infection, she thoroughly enjoyed them.
By Sarah Thornton

There is not a whole lot that can deter Liv from having a good time. If she decides it’ll be fun to bring her little mouse toy to the top of a cabinet, she will climb, crawl, and hop over any obstacle to get there. Or, better yet, if there’s a person around, she’ll just act cute until they pick her up and put her where she wants to go (and she is very good at being cute).

Liv can purr and play through it all — which certainly seems to have helped when an uncommon skin infection meant several weeks of treatment at the Best Friends Animal Clinic. While veterinary staff worked on helping her heal, Liv was quite content to soak in all that attention. Literally.

A kitten’s healing hot tub

Not long after Liv arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, she and her littermates developed a bacterial infection. The kittens were seen by veterinarians for swelling under their jaws caused by streptococcus, the same type of bacteria that results in strep throat in humans. It was an easy treatment for most of them; veterinarians started the kittens on a round of antibiotics, and they went right back to tumbling and playing tag without a worry in the world.

But Liv had another medical surprise in store. Overnight, the skin around her hind end opened up. When caregivers came in the next morning, they were shocked to find Liv walking around with large wounds on her back legs and tail. And although she seemed relatively unbothered by the situation, she was rushed right back to the clinic.

[Fearless kitten meets life’s challenges head-on]

Testing revealed that it was different, much less common bacteria that had caused this second infection. Veterinarians put Liv on a new antibiotic to fight back, along with a pain medication.

The antibiotics would work on clearing out the existing infection, but to keep Liv’s wounds clean and help them heal, she needed a different type of treatment — one that most cats would probably not have enjoyed much. But again, Liv is a master of having a good time. So when the daily Epsom salt soaks started, it was like spa day every day for the contented kitten.

“She couldn’t have cared less,” says veterinary technician Rani Piece. When the warm tub of salty water came out, Rani says, “Liv would get super comfortable and just hang out. It was the cutest thing we’d ever seen.”

With her front legs propped up on the edge of her kitten-size hot tub, Liv melted right into her soaks. She probably could have stayed all day in the comforting warmth and soothing salts. But water grows cold and kittens want to play, so after about 10 minutes Liv would be ready to climb out and continue with her day. She had her own important kitten business to deal with, after all.

Clinic kitten couple

Liv was at the clinic for six weeks of treatment as her skin healed and her snowy white fur began to grow back. While she loved playing with the staff there, they still had plenty of other work to attend to, and six weeks is a long time for a playful kitten to go without a feline friend.

[Fighting spirit helps kitten come back from the brink]

So when another young cat named Panjiri came to the clinic due to an eye ulcer, the timing couldn’t have been better. Because neither kitten’s illness was contagious, Rani says, “we ended up putting the two of them together, and they did really well. They had little playdates.” The two kittens would sniff, swat, and dance around each other as they played — off in their own little world.

As fun as it was for the pair of kittens, it was also an important part of keeping both healthy and happy. Stress and activity are such big factors when it comes to healing, and having a playmate meant both Liv and Panjiri were handling their extended stay like champs. Not to mention, cats purr at a frequency that may help promote healing — like their very own built-in first-aid kit — and there was plenty of purring to go around.  

Home, sweet home

Both kittens healed and got a clean bill of health from the veterinary team and were able to move out of the hospital. Liv’s siblings, who’d all long since recovered from their original strep infection, had been adopted quickly. And once Liv was all healed up, it didn’t take much longer for her to catch the attention of another family. She purred and played and blinked her big golden eyes up at them, and it was a done deal. Just a few weeks after her last dip in the healing hot tub, Liv was on her way to soak up a whole houseful of love.

Knowing this little kitten, her new family will have a whole lot to “Liv, laugh, love” about.

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