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How These Kittens Went From Plastic Bag to Roundwood Vets

"We're having kittens!"

From nearly drowned to internet celebrities - read how an abandoned family of kittens, dumped in a London canal, became one vet hospital’s good news story to end a difficult year on a high.

On a cold, dreary November morning, David and Francis of Friends of Grand Union Canal were out litter-picking in North London. When they came across a Morrison’s plastic bag floating in the canal, however, they immediately called Roundwood Vets in Willesden for assistance. To their surprise, nestled in the plastic bag were six wet kittens.

For how long these kittens were stranded in the canal is unknown, but veterinarians at Roundwood Vets suggest they were about eight days old when found. Still in the fragile, earliest stages of life, their ears were folded back, their eyes were yet to open fully, and they weighed so little. If David and Francis had not acted when they did, it’s likely the brood would not have survived much longer.

When the kittens were found, their ears were still folded and their eyes were yet to open

When the kittens arrived at Roundwood Vets, the team were quick to act. Indeed, two of them had inhaled water into their lungs and were very fortunate to have survived this long at all. Diligently, the team at Roundwood warmed them up and syringe fed the kittens hourly for the first 24 hours - critical care that was only the beginning of nurturing them back to health.

Three days later the kittens began to feed from bottles, a great sign. Things were beginning to look up, but their recovery remained a tentative matter. The kittens still needed copious amounts of attention and nurturing, including needing to be stimulated when going to the toilet. This is a round the clock task, but vet teams have a commitment like few others. The team at Roundwood even took the kittens home for night time feeds and care.

At around two weeks old the kittens could be bottle fed

It is incredibly hard to hand rear kittens from such a young age, especially when they have suffered such an unfortunate entry into the world. Sadly, one of the kittens was too weak and despite putting up a brave fight, passed away. But the remaining five kittens are doing well and are being lovingly cared for by the team at Roundwood Vets as they take baby steps towards full recovery.

Stories like this are upsetting as it’s hard to fathom how anyone could have abandoned these defenceless creatures in a canal. Yet the actions of those who have worked to save them reveal the goodness of people too. In the end, it’s the kindness of people like David and Francis, the commitment of all the team at Roundwood Vets to caring, and the outpouring of love for these frail creatures we’ve seen on social media, that prevail. A poignant message that brings a glimmer of hope during what is a difficult year for us all.

The kittens will not be weaned until January 2021, and the team at Roundwood ask that anyone wishing to inquire about adoption wait until then before contacting them. For more pictures and videos of the kittens, please stay tuned into our blog posts and Instagram page - We cannot wait to share their journey with you!

Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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