Australian kitten rescue student and mother Jessica Ruf recounted the tale of Hildy, a unique survivor born with atelectasis and a distinctive swimming challenge. Hildy, a gray and white kitten, arrived in late February at just three weeks old, with rescuers suspecting flat-chested kitten syndrome (FCKS) linked to a collapsed lung. This condition can lead to chest collapse, breathing difficulties, and challenges akin to swimming syndrome. Despite her challenging start, she was bestowed with the special name “Hildy.”
Can kittens really swim? In simpler terms, it means that a kitten moves flat with its legs extended to the sides, giving the impression of swimming across the surface. In Hildy’s situation, her hind legs were specifically impacted by this behavior.
“When she was initially taken under our care, she resembled a starfish,” Ruf remarks. Subsequently, she is scheduled for a vet visit for an X-ray, aiming to validate these suspicions.
“Our charming girl will undergo splinting every three days as she grows, exerting pressure on the ribcage to induce a positive air pressure effect. This process will gradually re-inflate the lungs by drawing them open instead of pushing them out,” Jessica details. “Additionally, this adorable little one has splints on both forelegs and hind legs to correct swimmer’s syndrome (splayed legs). These will be a constant necessity to facilitate the gradual adjustment of her legs.”
Given the ongoing necessity for veterinary attention, the rescue team can only rely on the support of advocates to fund an intensive care unit and regular veterinary checkups. The total cost for all these necessities exceeds a thousand dollars. Despite the financial challenges, Hildy’s survival was uncertain.
Fortunately, the resilient kitten not only endured the week but also began consuming wet food in addition to her formula. Subsequently, a successful fundraising initiative generated enough funds to purchase a specialized “Dehumidifier” to aid in Hildy’s recovery.
In spite of the initially uncertain outlook, Hildy showed swift improvement in early March. Her swimmer’s syndrome has significantly ameliorated, allowing her to navigate without the need for a leg bandage. Her next step involves consulting with a specialist to closely monitor her ongoing progress.
As Hildy matured, she developed confidence and a perpetual appetite, eagerly demanding breakfast. Following a meeting with an expert in mid-March, Ruf joyfully shared a significant update. Through the use of the Humidicrib, Hildy triumphed over all her challenges as her lungs began to reflate. Engaging in daily exercises on soft carpeted surfaces, there is optimism that her paws will grow strong and healthy.
Scheduled for a specialist appointment, Hildy received encouraging news. The vet specialist reported that Hildy’s collapsed lung had commenced re-inflating, despite her persistently abnormal rib cage. The vet reassured that unless she exhibits signs of coughing or breathing difficulties, the rib cage condition is not a cause for concern. Additionally, Hildy’s legs are progressing positively, and the plan is to maintain daily exercises.
Hildy’s expert expressed astonishment and labeled her a miracle, attributing her survival to the instrumental role played by the Humidicrib in saving her life.
Thanks to the dedication of Jessica Ruf and the unwavering support from her followers, Hildy has blossomed into a true beauty. Balancing the responsibilities of a student and a mother while caring for foster cats is a demanding full-time commitment.
“Jess, you are amazing!! An earth angel!! Thank you for everything you do for the animals.”
As Hildy’s health continued its upward trajectory, her remarkable journey captivated the hearts of many. The news of her triumphant recovery spread far and wide, becoming a source of inspiration for those touched by her indomitable spirit. Hildy’s name, embodying the courage of historical warrior women, stands as a testament to her own resilience and the strength of the community rallying behind her.
Today, Hildy serves as a living reminder that even the tiniest and most vulnerable beings can conquer immense challenges with the right blend of care, love, and support. Her story stands as a beacon of hope, illustrating the transformative power of compassion and the profound bond between humans and animals.