It seemed like a normal day for an Arkansas kitten rescuer when a litter of kittens were taken into her custody.
Little did she know, one of these kittens had a life threatening condition he was hiding…
Keep reading to discover how one woman refused to accept euthanasia as an option and stopped at nothing to save this kitten from a horrible fate.
A Puzzling Discovery
Stephanie Spence, founder of Community Cats of Central Arkansas, received a litter of 4 kittens in May of 2020.
Stephanie proceeded with her standard routine of examining the kittens.
All of the kittens seemed to be healthy, but one kitten had an unusual quality that caught her eye…
Wallace, the kitten in question, had an abnormal chest.
“I went to pick him up and I noticed his entire chest was flat, and his sternum was sunken in,” Stephanie explained.
Being an incredibly knowledgable rescuer, Stephanie understood how serious this was.
“I could tell it wasn’t a break, and the only thing I knew that it could be is called Flat-Chested Kitten Syndrome, or FCKS,” Stephanie shared with National Kitty.
A Mystery Solved
Stephanie had helped kittens with FCKS before, but Wallace was a special case.
“Normally, it’s a little squishy because their lungs deflate,” Stephanie said. “I just wasn’t certain exactly what it was, so I took him to the vet immediately.”
Initially, the vet was just as puzzled as Stephanie.
In fact, Wallace’s condition was so unusual that it was not detected in the vet’s first exam.
After taking a better look, the vet determined he was suffering from moderate pectus excavatum.
“Pectus excavatum is when your ribs grow inward and they press on your heart and your lungs,” Stephanie said. “His ribs were already pressing on his lungs so bad that he had fluid build up.”
Operation Save Wallace
While some cases of pectus excavatum need little to no treatment, Wallace’s case was life threatening.
He would need to undergo surgery as soon as possible.
While the vet that had first diagnosed his condition was a surgeon, she had never performed the specific operation Wallace needed.
To make matters worse, Wallace’s operation would be very expensive.
People began advising Stephanie to euthanize Wallace.
Stephanie stood her ground.
Taking Wallace’s life was cruel when she knew he had the potential to thrive and enjoy a wonderful life after surgery.
Neither Stephanie nor her vet was ready to give up.
Stephanie’s vet began calling other vets in an attempt to find a surgeon who could perform the operation.
Running Out of Time
The longer they waited to do the surgery, the more Wallace’s life was at risk.
As the fluid continued to build in his lungs, he became more and more susceptible to painful complications that resulted from his condition.
Eventually, Stephanie and her vet decided they couldn’t wait any longer.
The original vet decided she would perform the surgery even thought it would be her first time.
She had studied the surgery and was very optimistic about its success!
“We had to order a special chest plate and some other supplies,” Stephanie said.
Wallace was able to hold out until the supplies came in the mail, and the vet prepared for surgery.
Success at Last!
Wallace was very lucky. Stephanie and her vet were just in time!
He was wounded, fragile, and on the verge of losing his life.
The vet came across multiple complications that his condition had caused.
He had internal bleeding, his lungs had collapsed again, and he had multiple contusions from the pressure his ribs had put on his organs.
Between Stephanie’s determination and the surgeon’s valiant efforts, Wallace’s life was saved!
Road to Recovery
Wallace came home from surgery where he would be under Stephanie’s close supervision while he recovered.
He wears a metal plate on his chest covered by bandages and a sweater to ensure he heals properly.
He doesn’t enjoy wearing it, but he will be much happier when he’s fully recovered!
He has difficulty eating, but Stephanie is there to make sure he is nourished and hydrated at all times.
Wallace misses his siblings so much. He can’t wait to join them for playtime when he’s better!
Stephanie is confident he will reunited with them in no time. For now, he needs to rest and heal.
Happily Ever After
Thanks to Stephanie and her vet, Wallace is on track to be the healthy, happy kitten he was always meant to be.
The road to recovery will be long, but it is well worth the wait.
Once he has fully recovered, he will be neutered and ready to find his forever family.
Wallace’s bold spirit and strong will to live make him a true fighter. Nothing can hold him back!
About Our Hero
Stephanie is the founder of Community Cats of Central Arkansas.
She is an independent rescuer who specializes in fostering orphaned neonatal kittens and rehabilitating kittens with severe medical conditions.
Wallace is very lucky to have landed in Stephanie’s care.
Not all rescuers are as knowledgable and observant as Stephanie.
No one else would have noticed Wallace’s condition or known what to do.
He would have suffered a slow, painful death from his hidden condition.
Even if someone did realize he had a life threatening condition, they would have euthanized him due to the cost of surgery.
Had it not been for Stephanie, Wallace would not be alive today.
Stephanie is entirely self funded and relies on the generous donations of kind hearted individuals to continue rescuing kittens like Wallace.