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Death of Kittens Prompts Flea Warning

17 October 2014

UK - Two flea-ridden young kittens handed in at Yorkshire Cat Rescue have died from anaemia – prompting the charity’s founder to issue a stark warning to pet owners to make sure their animals receive proper care.

Along with four adult cats including their mum, Hope and Hero were given to Yorkshire Cat Rescue by social services as their owner was unable to care for them. It was only when they arrived that staff noticed just how sick the kittens were – carrying a massive flea burden and unable to eat or drink.

“These tiny kittens were completely covered in fleas and none of them had the energy to suckle for food. Poor little Hero was so anaemic that we sent her straight to the vet for urgent treatment, including subcutaneous fluids,” recalls charity founder, Sara Atkinson.

Little Hero didn’t survive for long but Sara was hopeful that Hope would pull through. “When Hope first arrived with her sister she was too weak to eat. I stayed up all night with her – feeding her a milk substitute with a syringe and letting her sleep on the Aga to keep warm.

"Next morning she seemed better and began to suckle from her mum. I was so hopeful that she would pull through but unfortunately she had already suffered too much damage from the fleas and died the next day.”

Hope and Hero’s mum had four active nipples which led staff to believe that she must have had as many kittens.

“We suspect that two of her four kittens already died before they got to us, probably also from flea-related anaemia. Unfortunately, it was also too late for Hope and Hero.

“People just don’t realise how dangerous fleas can be – especially for young kittens and vulnerable adult cats. We pulled off a staggering 50 fleas from Hope and Hero alone – far too many for their tiny bodies to carry.”

All four adult cats, including Hope and Hero’s mum, are very thin but friendly. Once they have gained weight and been thoroughly assessed at the centre, including having been flea treated, they will be looking for new, loving homes.

Sara says: “Unfortunately for Hope and Hero, all that is left is their story and a warning to owners to make sure their cats are treated for fleas.

“Hundreds of cats and kittens come through our doors each year but these two little mites were a little bit special to me, and they will not be forgotten.”

For more information on treating your pets for fleas and the signs to look out for, see our latest issue of ThePetSite Digital magazine.

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