Kitten comes back from the brink

Johnny the little tabby kitten
Johnny was unresponsive when he arrived at Best Friends, but now he’s either playing or cuddling with his feline BFF.
By Best Friends staff

Nowadays, you’re as likely to catch Johnny wrestling with his feline BFF as you are snuggling up with him. “It’s heavenly,” says his adopter, Micah Durham. “He is so joyful and playful.”

Sometimes, as Micah watches the not-so-tiny-anymore kitten having the time of his life, it’s hard for her to believe he was once so weak that he couldn’t even lift his head. That was back when he first arrived at Best Friends in Salt Lake City, unresponsive and with a body temperature so low it couldn’t be read.

Johnny needed a miracle, or at least help from modern medicine, stat. With time of the essence, the veterinary team placed Johnny in an incubator to warm his body. They also gave him fluids and sugar for energy. After a few minutes, Johnny started to move. Slowly, he began to lift his head, albeit shakily.

[Fighting spirit helps kitten come back from the brink]

Twenty minutes or so later, Johnny was able to stand on his own. Within the next hour, he was meowing as if he was letting everyone know he was alive.

But Johnny wasn’t in the clear yet. Just as soon as he started to recover, he began showing signs of panleukopenia, a potentially life-threatening virus that causes loss of appetite, upset stomach, and a high fever.

Johnny’s body temperature kept dropping below normal, so he remained in the incubator and received fluids — all part of the supportive care that makes it possible for kittens’ immune systems to fight the panleukopenia virus. Finally, he got the all-clear from the veterinary team — this time for good.

The next stop for Johnny was a foster home. There, he grew healthier and stronger, and he played and cuddled to his heart’s content. Adoption day wasn’t that far away.

Healthy, handsome, happy

While Johnny was in his foster home, Micah and her family were thinking it was time to adopt a kitten, especially for their younger cat, who seemed like he could use a feline friend to play with. (Their older cat prefers naps to romps around the house.)

When Micah saw a photo of Johnny as she looked online at adoptable kittens at Best Friends, she was smitten. “There was something about his tiny little body and his eyes that just made me feel like he was meant to be with our family,” she says, noting that her other two cats have long hair and Johnny does, too. She thought he’d fit right in.

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

Choosing to adopt Johnny happened in a flash, as soon as she held him in her arms for the first time. Now, he’s healthy, handsome, and happy. “If you start petting his head he flops over on the ground for a belly rub,” says Micah.

He’s also fine-tuning his fetching skills. In fact, he’ll play fetch “for as long as it takes for your arm to give out,” says Micah, who has given Johnny a new name: Ghost. “He has brought so much happiness to our family,” she says. “We feel so lucky to have found him.”

Small tabby kitten in a kennel on a white blanket
Photo by Lori Fusaro

Find a cat (or kitten) you’ll never forget

There are homeless pets near you just waiting to light up your life and put a smile on your face.
Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

Help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

Let’s be friends! 

Connect with us on social media to stay in the loop about the lifesaving progress we’re making together.  

Facebook logo    Instagram logo    icon