An infant barn kitten on the verge of death was taken to a shelter after being found unresponsive.
The shelter did everything they could but feared it was too late for this kitten.
However, one woman refused give up. She was determined to save the kitten’s life.
Keep reading to find out how this kitten cheated death proved to everyone the power of hope.
A Grim Situation
In early 2018, a barn cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. However, the runt of the litter started acting unusual.
The family with the barn cat noticed the kitten was lethargic and had stopped nursing.
They called a local animal shelter for help.
Once the kitten was in the shelter, they realized it had fading kitten syndrome (FKS), a tragic set of life threatening symptoms that often leads to the kitten dying.
The shelter did everything they could to revive the infant kitten.
Unfortunately, his condition was only getting worse.
The shelter had no choice but to euthanize him.
However, this was the kitten’s lucky day. They were out of euthanasia medicine.
Help On Its Way
The shelter reached out to Stephanie Spence, founder of Community Cats of Central Arkansas.
They asked Stephanie if she’d be willing to take the kitten and keep it comfortable until it passed.
Stephanie agreed to take the kitten. However, she had other plans for this sweet boy.
Stephanie wasn’t quick to give up on a kitten. She was going to give him a fighting chance to survive.
A Second Chance
When the infant kitten showed up at Stephanie’s door, he couldn’t move at all. He couldn’t even open his eyes.
“I brought him home and put him in a playpen with some heat,” she said. “Something in me just went ‘You know what? He’s here and I’m going to try everything I know how to keep him alive.’”
Stephanie tried everything she could, but she couldn’t get Barney to eat, much less move.
A Last Resort
Stephanie contacted a large animal vet who had been working at the barn where the kitten was discovered.
The vet had treated similar cases before, but only for larger farm animals.
The vet had a series of 3 shots that he suspected would heal the kitten.
However, this treatment had never been used on kittens before, especially one this tiny.
At a little over 4 weeks old, Barney barely weighed 8 ounces. He was severely underweight.
Stephanie knew the treatment was the kitten’s only hope for survival.
She was willing to try the new treatment if it meant the kitten had a chance to live.
With Stephanie’s permission, the vet calculated the dose the kitten would need and gave him the treatment.
Afterwards, she anxiously waited to see some results.
The Moment of Truth
The first day, Stephanie didn’t see any change in the kitten. He hadn’t even moved.
Stephanie began to lose hope that the treatment had worked.
On the second day, Stephanie noticed that the kitten was in a different position in his playpen. But, she couldn’t be sure.
On the third day, she walked into his room to find him standing at the opening of his pen, whining and making noise!
Astounded by the miracle, Stephanie ran into the kitchen and made him some food.
She mixed kitten formula with wet food and rushed to feed him.
“He just started eating, moving, and making noise,” Stephanie said. “He ate 6 or 7 bites and then conked out!”
Barney the Barn Cat
Stephanie was overwhelmed with joy. She named him Barney because he had been found in a barn.
For the next couple weeks, she kept a close eye on Barney and took him everywhere with her.
He even joined her for at her family’s Thanksgiving dinner!
Finally out of the water, things began to look up for little Barney.
For months after his first steps, Barney still struggled with sickness and eye infections.
However, Stephanie was there for him every step of the way.
She kept diligent records of his progress and provided him with the right medical care.
Barney’s Forever Home
Soon, it was time for Barney to find a forever family.
With Stephanie’s help, he found the perfect home with a loving family.
The woman who adopted Barney initially visited Stephanie to adopt another kitten, but fell in love with Barney instead.
“Barney loved to hop on people’s shoulders. When the lady walked into the kitten nursery, Barney hopped on her shoulder and stole her heart,” Stephanie tells National Kitty.
Barney had survived fading kitten syndrome and become quite plump.
Stephanie and the vet suspect weight gain might be a side effect of the treatment.
Now, Barney is a happy and healthy cat living his best life!
About Our Hero
Stephanie Spence is the founder of Community Cats of Central Arkansas.
She specializes in the rehabilitation of critical care & neonatal kittens.
Stephanie is an independent rescuer who is entirely self funded.