Eight-week-old kitten Bow was found abandoned, cold, and close to death in somene’s garden.
He seemed tired and weak, so a member of the public tried to give him some food and drink to perk him up.
But after a couple of days, Bow seemed even more lethargic and was unable to eat or drink anything he was offered.
The person who found him rang up Mayhew Animal Home, who were able to send out staff to collect him.
When they brought the kitten into the shelter, they discovered the cause of his low energy: He was absolutely covered in fleas.
While for most cats and dogs fleas are no big deal, when a very young animal gets them they’re at high risk of developing serious complications, such as anaemia and heart conditions.
That was the case for Bow, whose flea problem had left him so severely anaemic he was days away from death.
The kitten had become so weak from blood loss that he had developed a heart murmur and was suffering from cat flu. He was squinting and had a thick green discharge around his eye, which vets diagnosed as conjunctivitis.
Had he not been taken in, Bow likely would have died, alone and scared.
Thankfully, Bow was kept in the vet clinic for treatment for his fleas, his inflamed eye, and suspected cat flu.
After medicine and lots of care, Bow’s condition began to improve.
The kitty is calm and friendly with people, allowing himself to be handled – which suggests that he experienced regular human contact before he was found. That means he was likely cared for by someone before being lost or abandoned, rather than being born feral.
Staff at Mayhew said: ‘We don’t know why or how Bow ended up being stranded, but we are so glad that we were able to save him and help him recover before it was too late.’
The centre is sharing Bow’s story as a reminder of the genuine health risks of fleas.
They said: ‘Left untreated, fleas can cause significant health concerns, particularly for young kittens like Bow. A high flea burden can result in decreased blood in the circulation and this can go on to cause further issues. Fleas also pass on worm eggs which migrate to the stomach, sometimes resulting in intestinal issues.
‘To prevent the risk of your cat or kitten catching fleas, our vets recommend regular checks on both the animal and its habitat, looking in places such as garden sheds and garages where fleas are likely to breed and develop.
‘Regular preventative care and swift treatment if fleas are found will significantly reduce the risk to your pet and the possibility of a repeat infestation.’