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Rescuers Found This Abandoned Kitten Wasting Away. Then They Realized Her Face Was Changing

20. Rescued Kitten in Odd Condition

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Early this year when the National Kitten Coalition found this kitten living among a group of stray feral cats, she was scarily thin and showed many signs of malnourishment. However, once the kitten was taken in and had undergone the rehabilitation process, the veterinarian staff noticed something odd. Her fragile, smaller than the usual body wasn’t her most unusual ailment.

In fact, the most puzzling thing started to occur–her face started to change. 

19.The National Kitten Coalition

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The National Kitten Coalition was founded in 2004 in The United States when Rosemarie Crawford and Susan Spaulding first met each other and realized they had a passion for taking care of sick abandoned kittens. It has now grown to be a full-on non-profit organization that aims to increase the survival rates of rescue kittens around the country. To do this, the organization educates people such as animal shelter workers and volunteers on how to provide good, as well as cost-effective care.

18. The National Kitten Coalition and Shelters

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The organization warns that “kittens too young to eat on their own or too young for adoption are one of the largest groups of animals euthanized every year in animal shelters across the United States.” Rosemarie Crawford and Susan Spaulding aim with this non-profit is to lower these numbers through their education and training programs as they realize caring for infant stray cats requires a lot more time and knowledge that caring for grown stray cats.

17. Who is The National Kitten Coalition?

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The coalition has now grown to the capacity that Rosemarie Crawford and Susan Spaulding cannot provide aid directly to these kittens, so they focus now mostly on educating those further down the line of care. However, they do state that “many of our staff and volunteers foster for shelters and rescue groups.”

They soon realized, even the specialist didn’t have the proper knowledge.

16. Missing Information

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Susan particularly works as an instructor and the director of its neonatal kitten program. Her profile on her organization’s website explains, “After moving to Northern Virginia she was fostering 200-300 kittens annually; her frustration grew as she realized that even many veterinarians did not have the training or hands-on experience with these tiny babies, and most of the information available was incomplete at best.”

This special kitten was about to start a whole new journey for Susan and her team.

15. Odd Condition Sparks Research!

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After seeing the sheer lack of knowledge at these veterinarian clinics and animal shelters around the country, she felt compelled to not only be an instructor but to begin her own research. Now Susan specializes in new-born orphaned kittens and those that need special care. Among these kittens, was the odd little one with a condition affecting her face.

She decided it was time do something for all those unwanted kittens, and she’s starting city by city.

14. Abandoned Kittens in Bad Shape

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One of the many projects the organization runs to help the population of stray cats around the country is called the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) project. They recently ran this project in Gainesville, Virginia, as there was an increasing number of stray and abandoned cats coming into the shelters and rather than putting these cats down, they thought to try to monitor population size in a different way.

It was during this project that the group picked up the kitten with the interesting face condition. She was living among other feral cats and did not appear to have a mother or family of her own. She was so unique, they had to take a closer look. 

13. Taking a Closer Look

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Speaking to Scribol, Spaulding said that when the Gainesville team had discovered the kitten she had “a large gash on her left side and two puncture wounds on her right side.” She was also found some way away from the main group of cats. From this, they assumed that “an animal had carried her off and for some reason dropped her.” So they decided to take in the unusual kitten as their own to see what could be done for her.

It was then that the team started to realize what they were up agaisnt, and time was ticking.

12. Healing Gaia

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The kitten turned out to be only around three weeks old so she was taken into personal care by the research team and was affectionately given the name Gaia. Although the puncture wounds had healed on the surface, some large abscesses underneath seem to reveal a different story about Gaia. The research team also realized the interesting kitten had a slight upper respiratory infection, which caused her to sneeze, cough, and appear somewhat drowsy all of the time. 

11. Gaia’s Mysterious Hairloss

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As the care and treatment from the Gainsville team went on, the gash down the kitten’s left side healed relatively quickly, but the abscesses on her right took longer. Spaulding told Scribol, “In the meantime for some unknown reason, she began losing her hair and had some severe diarrhea due to her upper respiratory infection.”

The little one’s health was not only a cause for concern, but it had doctors stumped as she continued to develop new symtoms.

10. The Mysterious Hair Loss

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The research team along with Susan, concluded that it was the loss of hair that created the dramatic change is Gaia’s face. Spaulding soon began calling her an alien kitten–lovingly of course. She told Love Meow, “It was touch and go for about a week, and she became our ‘alien’ when she lost a lot of her hair.”

They were determined to solve the mystery of the kitten’s health, and so they did.

9. Fading Kittens

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The research team was unsure what was causing the hair loss, and thought it was the infection that was contributing to it. So, Spaulding put her on the “Fading Kitten Protocol” in an attempt to bring her back to health. This regime aims to re-establish a kitten’s immune system. The approach has seen a 90% survival rate; thus, Gaia’s likelihood of recovery was high.

So as soon as the decision was made, the kitten’s journey back to a healthy life began.

8. Nursing Gaia Back to Health

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Throughout this protocol treatment of Susans, the little kitten’s immune system became stronger and stronger. Soon enough, she was eating solid food again. After about two-and-a-half weeks the fur around her face and belly started to grow back in little patches until it started growing back thick and full. Susan noted that because of this treatment, it was clear that Gaia was feeling better and was on the road to recovery.

Although she was healing, she had some other odd features as well.

7. Other Odd Features

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Although all her hair has now grown back Gaia will always look a little different from other cats according to Susan. The little kitten has a half-tail which tapers into a corkscrew shape at the end. Secondly, she is polydactyl on her front paws. Polydactyly is a genetic condition that causes the cat to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws.

These conditions weren’t just fluke accidents by nature, there are reasons behind them, and the team was eager to know if they could prevent this in the future.

6.Mutations and Cats

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Most non-polydactyl cats have five toes on their front paws and four on their back. However, as a polydactyl cat, Gaia has extra toes on her front feet. Although, this is no cause for alarm as polydactyly is a rather common condition that is passed down through family genetics.

So although she looked a little different, this kitten was just as lovable as the next.

5. Sailor Cats

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While polydactyly can occur in any cat depending on family lineage, they are more prevalent in certain areas of the world, including in parts of England and the United States. There is also a link between sailors and cats with these traits, as some like to think that polydactyl cats brought them good luck due to their extra thumbs.

Although her hectic start to life was rough, she was one lucky girl.

4. Hemingway Cats

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In the 1930s, famous author Ernest Hemingway was known to be gifted a kitten that was polydactyly by a sea captain. You can even find some of these polydactyly cats who now live at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida. Today, polydactyl cats around the United States are sometimes referred to as “Hemingway cats” because of the story. 

3. Cats with Thumbs?

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The genetic mutation is also referred to as a cat having a thumb. Despite their appearance, these cat’s thumbs are of course are not opposable. This trait was even used as a marketing tool in a UK Milk commercial by Cravendale. The UK milk company famously depicted cats plotting to steal milk with their newly acquired opposable thumbs, this image helped strongly correlate the unusual kittens with the brand and many in the UK even call these cats Cravendale cats. 

2. Gaia’s Mittens

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Luckily for Gaia, the condition is usually not detrimental to her health or even how she goes about her daily life. In fact, it Gaia’s case it just adds to her interesting appearance along with her corkscrew tail. She may not look like a little alien kitten anymore like Susan used to call her, but she will always have something a bit unique about her.

1. Ready for a Forever Home

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With these unique traits, the team and Susan are sure that Gaia won’t struggle to find someone to adopt and love her forever.  “She is still in foster care with me,” Susan told Scribol, “but [is] almost ready to return to the rescue to start looking for her forever home.”

Whoever gets this lovable baby, sure is lucky.

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