One late afternoon, a woman in her garden discerned a small, squeaky sound emanating from the bushes. After diligently exploring the foliage, the tiniest kitten ever discovered emerged, very unwell and in desperate need of assistance.
Realizing she couldn’t assist the extremely ill kitten on her own, the woman reached out to Sandra Lee, a renowned kitten fosterer in Los Angeles.
Despite recently taking in another kitten requiring special care, upon seeing the picture of the tiny kitten, Lee immediately felt she couldn’t turn away.
She was found when she was between 6 and 8 weeks old, but determining her exact age was challenging due to the severe undernourishment and dehydration she experienced, according to Lee.
Displaying characteristics of a 6- to 8-week-old cat, she weighed just under a pound, which is approximately typical for a 4-week-old kitten.
She was so dehydrated that every vertebra in her spine was visible at first glance. Covered in fleas, it soon became evident that she had medical issues.
As soon as Lee brought the kitten, later named Livvie, home with her, it became evident that her journey to recovery would not be an easy one. The poor thing could barely walk, and it almost appeared as if she was suffering from some type of neurological disorder. Additionally, she was unable to poop on her own, despite making numerous attempts each day.
“To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure she would make it the first couple of nights and just wanted to give her a warm home and a safe space,” Lee said. “For the first week, I honestly would be afraid to check up on her because she was so sickly.”
As soon as possible, Lee rushed Livvie to the vet, where everyone was perplexed by Livvie’s condition. The most significant bathroom backup they had ever seen was being produced by her, likely due to her life on the streets and lack of access to wholesome food and drink.
They concluded that the toxins from all the waste buildup were likely responsible for her neurological problems, but they weren’t sure about the potential long-term consequences once she recovered.
Livvie spent the majority of her first four weeks at her foster home at the veterinarian’s. With her problems being so severe, nobody knew if she would ever be able to recover. Her foster mother had to closely monitor her medication, as well as her food and water intake.
Due to dangerous dehydration, her small meow sounded more like a goat than a cat. Livvie’s path to recovery seemed endless, yet after four months, the little girl was eventually fully recovered.
When Livvie started to feel better, her personality emerged, and she became the cutest, goofiest cat. Her foster mother began searching for a permanent home for her and soon found the ideal candidate for adoption.
With high hopes, she sent Livvie off to her new home, but she quickly came to the realization that Livvie had her own ideas about where her forever home should be.
Livvie had a very difficult time adjusting to her new home, spending most of her time hiding and only emerging to eat or play when she was entirely alone. Nothing Livvie’s new mother tried, including sitting on the floor and conversing gently with her for hours, could persuade her to warm up.
Finally, Lee made up her mind to visit them one day to see if she could offer any assistance, and as soon as Livvie saw her, she immediately returned to being herself, meowing uncontrollably and overjoyed to see her.
“I laid on the floor and just started to talk to her,” Lee said. “Livvie immediately let out a little meow and started wiggling her way out from under her hiding spot toward me. The nice lady said, ‘I think she wants to go home.’ Nearly 60 fosters in and out, and I knew we had ourselves our first official ‘foster fail.'”
As kind as Livvie’s new mom was, it turns out all the kitten really wanted was to spend her days with the woman who saved her life.
Now, Livvie is back with her original family and couldn’t be any happier about it. She fits right in and is savoring every moment of the second chance she’s been given.
“Although we had special bonds with all our fosters, I think we knew Livvie was special,” Lee said. “We were always against foster fails as we are at capacity with our own resident animals, but Livvie clearly had other plans. As soon as we got home and I let her out of her carrier, she was completely her normal self. She knew she was home.”