Purr-fect so­lu­tion

Crys­tal Biss­chops, 35, from Toronto, Canada, had a cat-as­tro­phe when her new kit­ten fell ill...

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Look­ing down at the adorable two-week old kit­tens, my heart melted.

The six or­phaned sib­lings were cud­dled up to­gether in a lo­cal res­cue cen­tre where I vol­un­teered, af­ter be­ing found in an aban­doned shed.

And, be­ing a cat lover, I just couldn’t re­sist look­ing af­ter the lit­tle ones – all six of them!

I’d soon given them all names, and was so at­tached.

‘How adorable!’ I said to my hus­band Justin, 35, watch­ing Wil­bur and his broth­ers, Nor­man and Ralph, chase each other around the room.

But, just a few days later, all of them sud­denly fell ill and had terrible di­ar­rhoea.

They were all so lethar­gic, too – not their usual play­ful selves.

‘It must be some kind of bug,’ I said to Justin, wor­ried.

Scoop­ing them up, I took them to the vet’s straight away.

And, af­ter blood tests, I was de­liv­ered the dev­as­tat­ing news…

‘The kit­tens have pan­leukope­nia,’ the vet ex­plained to me.

A vi­ral in­fec­tion that if left un­treated, kills 90 per­cent of all kit­tens af­fected by it.

‘Even with treat­ment it can be fa­tal,’ the vet went on. I was dev­as­tated. The vet then gave each kit­ten an­tibi­otic shots and vac­ci­na­tions.

Then he pre­sented me with a huge nee­dle…

‘You’ll have to in­ject them at home with this,’ he said.

I shud­dered as he ex­plained that I’d have to an­gle the nee­dle un­der their skin on the back of their necks and into their veins… But I was de­ter­mined to fight for the lit­tle ones.

A week of squirm­ing and scratch­ing fol­lowed as I rou­tinely in­jected the kit­tens with their med­i­ca­tion. But soon

At first he hated it

enough, they seemed to all be out of the woods. Relief! After­wards, though, I no­ticed that Wil­bur was wob­bling a bit when he walked, sway­ing from side to side be­fore fi­nally los­ing his bal­ance and col­laps­ing on the floor.

Rush­ing him back to the vet’s, I was told that the virus had at­tacked the part of his brain that con­trolled bal­ance and co­or­di­na­tion.

‘Does he need more med­i­ca­tion?’ I asked the vet.

‘I’m afraid there’s not much we can do,’ he said sadly.

De­spite the virus, lit­tle Wil­bur fought on.

But as his co­or­di­na­tion be­came worse, he would drag him­self along the floor to his bowl and lit­ter tray, un­able to keep his bal­ance. It was so sad to watch. The vet sug­gested that we have him put down, as there was noth­ing he could do to treat him. But I’d fallen in love with Wil­bur. ‘I want to adopt him,’ I told Justin. ‘It will be hard work,’ he said. But there was no go­ing back now. ‘We can’t sep­a­rate him from Nor­man,’ I said.

His big brother had re­ally been look­ing af­ter him, stick­ing by his side and clean­ing him reg­u­larly.

Then, lit­tle Ralph was look­ing a bit lonely, so we de­cided to adopt him, too!

With our fam­ily now com­plete, we set about think­ing up ways to help Wil­bur.

Justin and I owned a con­struc­tion com­pany, so we were good at de­sign­ing stuff.

First, we laid car­pet on our wooden floors so Wil­bur could get a bet­ter grip.

Then we made a lit­tle ramp for him so he could get up to the lit­ter tray on his own.

We also bought him a wa­ter bot­tle made for rab­bits so he could drink eas­ily.

Then Justin fash­ioned a cat life jacket with a han­dle, so we could hold him up and make him feel like he was stand­ing.

On sunny days, we’d carry him out to the gar­den so he could watch the birds.

We’d even take him out on coun­try hikes!

He made do with these ad­just­ments, but he was still strug­gling. He re­lied on us for ev­ery­thing, and I wanted him to be more in­de­pen­dent.

‘What about get­ting him a special wheel­chair?’ Justin sug­gested one day.

So, af­ter do­ing some re­search on­line, we found a four-wheel pet chair that was per­fect for Wil­bur.

‘This is for you to zoom around in,’ I said to Wil­bur when it ar­rived.

Strap­ping him in, he hated it at first, and re­fused to place his paws on the ground and move him­self.

But he’s get­ting used to it now, and uses it for a few min­utes ev­ery­day, zoom­ing past his broth­ers who of­ten look so sur­prised about the whole thing! De­spite his con­di­tion, Wil­bur is such a lov­ing cat.

He’s al­ways happy and purrs on my lap ev­ery evening.

We dote on him, and he and his broth­ers al­ways have the prime spot on our bed at night!

So while Wil­bur might wob­ble, our love for him never will.

I nursed him back to health Back on his feet

I spoil my special boy

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