July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Animal hospital cares for rescued week-old kittens

A trio of week-old kittens rescued from a culvert on Williams Drive in Brunswick are being cared for at the Brunswick Animal Hospital. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

BRUNSWICK — Three kittens are resting comfortably with the staff at the Brunswick Animal Hospital today after being rescued from a ditch that filled with rainwater Tuesday morning.

The kittens, about a week old, were discovered by a meter reader.

Veterinary assistant Jessica Bossone is one of the Brunswick Animal Hospital staff members assigned to feed a trio of week-old kittens every two hours with replacement formula that mimics what they would receive from a mother cat. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

The meter reader told Brunswick police dispatchers the kittens were floating in the water in a culvert, struggling to break free from the current.

After putting the kittens in his coat for a while to dry them off, the meter reader told the dispatcher he would leave them at a home in the neighborhood to await the Brunswick Animal Control officer.

Mike Kellums, the animal control officer who was sent to help, said the kittens were returned outside for a short time in hopes the mother might return.

“They were wet and cold and hungry and the mother was no where in sight,” Kellums said.

Kellums said he doesn’t believe the kittens were dumped. He speculated the mother may have been separated from the kittens when they were swept away by the water.

“There could be more kittens in the litter that she was busy tending to and couldn’t return to find these three,” he said.

Kellums said he didn’t know the name of the good Samaritan meter reader.

The kittens were taken to Brunswick Animal Hospital on Center Road. The hospital is under new management and occupies the site of the former Countryside Animal Hospital.

Kellums said he took the kittens to the Brunswick Animal Hospital because he knew they needed extra care that would burden already crowded animal shelters.

“The people at Brunswick Animal Hospital are wonderful,” he said. “They always do a great job.”

Veterinarian Scott Pawling said the kittens will be fed a replacement formula because they are only 1 week old. He said it looks as though there are two females and one male, but said gender identity is a little tricky at such a young age.

One of the kittens still has a small part of the umbilical cord attached to its stomach that has yet to rub off and fall away.

Jessica Bossone, a veterinary assistant at the animal hospital said they give the kittens about a 50 percent chance at survival, but added that all signs so far show they’re healthy.

“That’s just the typical survival rate when they’re this young without a mother,” she said.

The kittens are very vocal, which is a good sign and they don’t have any apparent injuries, Bossone said. She added that it’s too early to do any vaccinations or other checks, but said the clinic will do those checks when the animals are old enough.

She said the clinic would keep the animals warm and a staff member would take them home at night to make sure they get fed every two hours.

Once they’re old enough, the staff will look for a permanent home.

“I don’t think they’ll be hard to place,” Bossone said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.