Treatment gives cat the kittenhood she nearly missed

Kitten with a chronic upset stomach receives treatment for a parasitic infection and surgery for a colon stricture, and she's feeling much better now.
By Christelle L. Del Prete

Odette, the orange tabby kitten walking straight toward the camera with her tail shaped like a question markThe combination of an illness and a serious physical condition nearly robbed Odette of her chance to experience life as a baby cat. But after getting medical help at the Sanctuary, she is making up for lost time by playing to her heart’s content and, at least in spirit, holding onto kittenhood for as long as she can.  

Kitten with chronic upset stomach

Odette was only six months old when she was brought to Best Friends from a shelter in Los Angeles. But instead of being a happy, playful ball of orange fluff, she was feeling lousy and it showed. Not only was she not as active as a typical young cat, Odette seemed to have a chronic upset stomach. Try as she might to make it to the litter box in time, she sometimes had accidents that would take her by surprise.

As embarrassing as those symptoms might sound, they were part of what helped save her life. That’s because they landed her in the Best Friends Animal Clinic, where the veterinary team worked hard to figure out why she kept getting sick. And that’s how Best Friends vets discovered an underlying condition that would likely have caused her more serious problems in the future if they’d gone undetected.

The face of Odette, the orange tabby kitten

Help for a kitten with parasitic infection and colon stricture

Not only was a parasitic infection (cryptosporidiosis) making her sick, but Odette also had a stricture (narrowing) of her colon. To get her digestive system functioning normally, she would need treatment for the infection and surgery to fix the stricture.

Odette, the orange tabby kitten on a counter with a caregiver and another cat in a stroller by a door

It was a tough medical battle for any cat to face, and Odette was just a kitten. In addition to medication, vets started her on supportive care (fluids, etc.) that would help her body fight the parasitic infection and get her stronger before surgery. Although the question remains as to whether her disease can ever be truly cured, she has been successfully treated and currently is symptom free.

As for the surgery, it was complicated, but visiting specialist Dr. Patricia Kupanoff brought the little kitten through the procedure with flying colors. Odette had to face a long recovery time and stay a strict high-fiber diet, but the outcome was well worth it.

Odette, the orange tabby kitten on a stainless steel counter next to a water bowl and cardboard scratcher

Kitten in a cat’s body

Once she was well enough, Odette was transferred to Cat World, where she could enjoy lots more space and comfort. Although her health is still being monitored closely by Best Friends caregivers and vets, she’s feeling much better these days. During all the months of medical care and recovery, Odette kept up her happy, outgoing attitude. Now, she’s finally releasing all her pent-up kitten energy ― dashing after feather toys and leaping up on cat trees.

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Odette, the orange tabby kitten on her back reaching forward to play

For possibly the first time in her life, she’s feeling great and enjoying every moment to the fullest. “She is full of kitten energy,” her caregivers say. It’s also safe to say that whoever adopts Odette will be bringing home a sweet and spunky kitten ― in the body of a little orange cat.

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Woman pushing stroller containing Odette, the tabby kitten, around Cat World

Photos by Molly Wald and Kurt Budde