Cats are remarkably like people in the variety of sizes they grow to, as well as when they hit their growth spurts. Susan Spaulding with 25 years of experience working with kittens, volunteered to foster five 2-day-old kittens after hearing that they were being kept in a tiny and cold cage in a rural shelter in North Carolina. She took care of them in her home, and although she bottle-fed and provided full care and attention, one kitten passed away the next day. Bijou is the only girl in the litter, and she was much smaller than her brothers. As they grew, Spaulding noticed that Bijou was the only one not growing as much.
“Bijou progressed much more slowly, and at about 4 ounces, seemed to stop growing. She would gain a few grams, lose a few grams.” Then, one night, Bijou almost didn’t survive after her health deteriorated. “As long as Bijou was fighting and comfortable, I was going to fight right along with her,” Spaulding said.
Bijou started growing very slowly, and at 9 weeks, she weighed 8.2 ounces. At 4 months, she was 1.6 pounds, but she was still much smaller than a normal cat, only half the size of other kittens her age. Spaulding has raised other smaller kittens like Bijou previously, but this time, she learned from veterinarians that Bijou’s smaller size is due to a congenital heart issue and a lack of specific hormones or enzymes. Though Bijou is small, she’s a happy kitten. Bijou is almost 9 months old and weighs 3.3 pounds. She remains with Spaulding, who is happy to foster her. “For me, every life matters. Once a commitment is made, I don’t give up just because the road is tough—as long as the quality of life is good for the baby,” Spaulding said.
The kittens were in miserable condition when Spaulding foster them
“I honestly didn’t know what the future held, but I was going to give Bijou and her brothers lots of love and hope for the best,” Spaulding told.
“The remaining three kittens, all boys, grew normally and ready for adoption right on schedule,” Rebecca Jewell, executive director of the National Kitten Coalition, said
With the extreme care, she became stronger and her weight reached 5 ounces (approx. 142 grams)
Spaulding said we don’t come to know the reason for Bijou’s small size
“The joy she radiates to everyone around her is contagious,” Spaulding said