Wakefield kitten given less than 1% chance of survival after being born without a bottom saved by unique operation
A kitten born without a bottom and given less than one per cent chance of survival, has been saved thanks to a unique operation.
Toulouse, a short-haired tabby was born with an incredibly rare condition that left him without a bottom and unable to go to the toilet.
Kittens born with this condition don’t usually survive more than a few weeks, but Toulouse made it to eight weeks old, the age when he arrived with his sister Mila at new owners, Nadia Kleisa and Tom Hooper in Wakefield.
Within hours of arriving Nadia knew something was wrong and took Toulouse to her local Vets4Pets practice.
It was then that the full horror of the problem was revealed by vet and Vets4Pets Castleford practice owner, Chris Coutts. Toulouse was then given just hours to live.
But, just four hours after arriving at the practice, Toulouse was undergoing rarely used surgical techniques to try and give him a bottom.
Nadia said: “At first Toulouse and Mila seemed to be settling into their new home but, having grown up with cats in my house, I was keeping a close eye on both of them to make sure everything was ok.
“And when he made a couple of attempts to go to the toilet in the litter tray and nothing was coming out, we became really concerned for him.
“They arrived in the early evening and after he showed no signs of improvement overnight, we took him straight to Vets4Pets Castleford to get checked out.
“After this news we worked with Chris and his team to understand the options, and what was in the best interests of Toulouse.
“We’d arrived at 10.30am and by 11.30am we thought every hope was lost.
“But, within two hours Chris called us to offer a small ray of hope. He explained that he’d looked into the condition and was happy to try and save Toulouse with a unique operation.
“He explained the risks, but without the operation he wouldn’t have survived so we immediately agreed.
“By 6.30pm that evening we were able to take him home as the operation had been an initial success.
“We couldn’t quite believe the miracle Chris and his team had performed, but knew Toulouse now had weeks and months of recovery ahead of him.
“It had been a huge rollercoaster of emotions in the 24 hours we’d had him, but at least he was still with us and his sister.
“I didn’t expect him to survive the first night as he was still so tiny, so just stayed with him all night and watched over him.
“Chris advised a diet of white fish, chicken and scrambled egg and within 36 hours Toulouse did his first poo – Tom and I were so relieved and couldn’t stop smiling.
“Remarkably he was soon back to being a playful kitten and enjoying time with his sister.
“Over the next few days and weeks, we gradually replaced his diet with normal cat food and have been back to see Chris on a weekly basis.
“We have to make sure he takes his medicine to help his bowel movements and there have been days when he’s appeared to have a setback, but overall he’s improved week on week.”
The operation to give Toulouse a new bottom, and attach his colon to it, has rarely been carried out in the UK.
For Chris and his wife Fiona, who is also a vet, Toulouse was only the second case of this condition they’ve seen in more than 28 years of practicing.
The condition is thought to be caused by a rare genetic disorder and Toulouse will also play a part in supporting research to find the gene that causes this in his DNA make-up.
Chris said: “Toulouse is even rarer than the condition he had, in that he made it to an age when he could have an operation and is now making a good recovery.
“While we’re certainly over the most dangerous stage, we’ll only be able to fully assess his progress when he becomes an adult cat, towards the end of the year.
“Nadia and Tom undoubtedly played a significant part in helping Toulouse by quickly realising something was wrong and bringing him into the practice.
“If they had delayed this by even a day, the outcome would likely have been very different.
“The operation itself was very tricky given Toulouse was still a small kitten and it was most certainly a team effort to get it done.
“We didn’t fully know what we’d find, so it was a case of seeing what the situation was and go from there. Luckily it all went very well.
“One of the remarkable things from this condition is we’re still unsure of Toulouse’s sex, although we do think he’s male.
“However, it’s great to see him making progress and we’re keeping everything crossed that this continues.
“Nadia and Tom have been fantastic pet parents and provided so much care to Toulouse that it has definitely aided his recovery.”
Toulouse is not due back for a check-up until the end of summer, but could face further surgery as his body adjusts to growing into an adult cat.
Nadia added: “We’re so grateful to everyone at Vets4Pets Castleford; they have all helped when we needed them the most and we’ll never forget what they’ve done.
“It’s been such a stressful few months, but Covid has actually helped as Tom and I are working from home so have been able to be there for Toulouse throughout his recovery.
“We needed to spend a lot of time to make sure he’s eating, going to the toilet and having his medicine, although we’ve got passed the stage of cheering each poo.
“We’ve gradually been spending more time enjoying playing with Toulouse and Mila, and watching them grow up together.
“Both of them have been kept indoors to help Toulouse’s recovery, although short trips in the garden have happened recently.
“Each day we worry less about his recovery and look forward to the day when we only need to go back to the vets for annual booster vaccinations and not check-ups on his recovery.
“However, none of this would have been possible without the amazing expertise and skill of Chris and everyone at Vets4Pets Castleford, they have been absolute heroes to us and Toulouse.”
Further news on Toulouse’s recovery can be found on his TikTok account, @nothing_toulouse_cat