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| December 30, 2011

I have always believed that cats and kittens chose their owners and the owner only plays a small part in providing a new home.

In March this year my Teaser died at the ripe old age of 19, leaving a distraught family and full sister behind. Knowing that I would be even more distraught when Rumpie died I decided to get two new Burmese. After surfing the net I found a breeder near by and phoned. With no hesitation after hearing my sad story she said that I could have two from the litter to be born in May. On the due date I phoned and she had had a litter of 8 babies. Two days later their mother died from kidney failure and these very special babies were hand reared.

In July we travelled the hour to fetch my new babies. I had chosen the blue when she was about 3 weeks old and the brown when she was about 6 weeks old. When we got there to fetch them the breeder had decided on a different brown girl for me. With my two little treasures in a bed on my lap we headed home for the new experience of having two kittens. Their names are Jade and Gamma aka Tubby.

From the beginning Tubby loved her food and she always had a tummy that was totally out of proportion with her little body, but she continued to eat unabated. We eventually limited her to two meals a day but she is still weighs in at a whopping 3 kg as apposed to Jade who weighs just 1kg. When she was spayed recently the vet commented that there are layers of fat, far too much for a 6 month old kitten. He suspects that there may be a hormonal problem. She is, however, an adorable kitten. She is conservative and tentative when approaching anything strange, always on the alert to potential danger. A good friend nick named her “wallaby” as her front legs are considerably shorter than her back legs and her shoulders much lower than her rump. She is so fat that she cannot sit cat like and spreads her front paws around her huge tummy.

Jade is the absolute opposite. She is a “wind gat”. Everything is done at great pace and without much thought for the possible dangerous consequences. She flies up trees. Runs at the speed of light and jumps onto anything. This is what got her into trouble. She must have fallen out of a tree and broke her right leg at the head of the femur. This fracture was quite clear on X-ray. The prognosis was to wait and see if the blood supply to the fractured bit was still good and if not she would have to have an operation to remove the dead bone.

I was not happy with this and having had some experience with physiotherapy and laser treatment on many sports injuries I decided to find an animal physical therapist who would be able to proved the treatment like laser therapy and pulsed magnetic field therapy. Both these modalities are used on humans to promote healing and I figured that they would be just as successful on my kittens.

After surfing the net for literally hours I eventually phoned the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town in desperation to ask if the Physio’s there would be prepared to treat my kitten. After the receptionist had stopped laughing and realised that I was serious she recommended I contact the Physiotherapy Society in Johannesburg. They were great and gave me the names of 3 animal physical therapists in the Cape Town area.

Three times a week I drove Jade 15 km from our home for treatment. She loved it. She would lie in my arms and virtually go to sleep while her treatment was administered. After the third week of treatment we could see daily improvement, and at the end of the third week we decided to stop treatment as she was walking on the leg and had no more pain. By following this route we avoided a semi destructive operation to a very young animal. She is now fine and once again running around like a lunatic. She hasn’t climbed too many trees as I think she has bad memories but it won’t be long before she goes up a tree again.

Many doctors and vets are not in favour of this type of treatment to promote healing. Even in my case the orthopaedic surgeon did not recommend laser treatment, I went on the recommendation of another physio. My vet was cautiously optimistic by didn’t hold out too much hope and the specialist who he contacted were totally negative. In this case it was hugely successful and my vet is now a convert.

Laser and pulsed magnetic field therapy are used to promote healing and relieve pain and in Jade the treatment did just that. It is worthwhile investigating these treatments as an alternative to surgery and injury in animals. The people who administer this treatment also need more recognition form the medical field and the public.

Back to Jade, Gemma and Rumpie. Jade has to eat a normal diet of Hills or Royal Cannon which ever is the flavour of the day. Gemma is on a low calorie diet and can only eat her allotted amount twice a day. Rumpie is 19 and needs to eat Kidney friendly food at least 4 times a day. I spend my day standing over one or another cat making sure that Gemma aka Tubby doesn’t steal from one of the others. It is worse than having small children but it is all worth the effort.

Cats chose us as they have a sixth sense about who will take care of them with their special needs. I am convinced that my two chose me, as they knew they would get lots of love and attention to their broken legs and fat tummies.

 Rusty Hrabar – Cape Town

Category: Feline Resources

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