Obi the Wan eyed kitten!

By: Ellie Bates

Obi’s story starts sadly being found all alone by a member of the public.

We had been told he had a serious problem to his right eye and knew he needed attention quick.  At approximately 9 weeks old and weighing barely 900 grams Obi needed help before it was too late. As Obi was brought to us as a stray with no owner we could locate, we had to look at alternative options to get him long term treatment.

What are our options when helping a stay animal?

If we have no owner to talk to we have a few options of what we can do next to provide the treatment needed for sick or injured stray animals.

Our first option starts before the animal get to us. The RSPCA provides nationwide emergency treatment funding for stray animals. This small amount of funding allow our vets to start treatment immediately upon the strays entry to the practice. We can do this by asking the member of public to call the RSPCA (on 0300 1234 999) where they will then be provided with an IET (initial emergency treatment) number. This option, however, is very limited; we only have small amount of funding and the RSPCA are unable mostly to support any further treatment or care of the stray animal, so further options have to be considered for continued treatment.

At Bright Side Vets we work closely with a few local animal rescue charities. Find out more about all the charities we work with here. We will contact one of the charities to see if they will step in to to take over the ownership of the stay animal. This is one of the best options for a stray, as if accepted, the charity will provide financial, and physical long term support for them. Eventually, once all is settled, they will be found a forever family home, or if their condition is more complicated, will be fostered long term with medical help from the charity.

Our last option is that an individual or family decide to keep the stay as their own. This can happen if a client has seen the animal around a while and has slowly built up a relationship with them. Treatment can then go forward with their consent and input.  Please remember that cats roam, in particular if they are unneutered and go in search of a mate.  They can roam a significant distance so if you find a healthy cat you can bring it in for us to check for a microchip but we are likely to suggest healthy cats are released again (where they were found) to find their way home.  If you wish to take on a stray cat, there has to be a minimum of 7 days before you are permitted to take steps to make the cat your own, during this time efforts need to be made to find the original owner.  Please note during this time if you wish to contribute to any treatment costs, there is no obligation for an owner to pay you back if they are found.

Obi’s Surgery

For Obi, his condition was very serious on arrival. We knew that the RSPCA, or finding owner was not going to be an option with the level of care he needed. After an initial assessment we contacted Harley’s Hounds, a wonderful charity we work with closely. After hearing Obi’s brief story they were ready and willing to give this little guy a chance!

Obi was tiny and weighed only 900g! He was riddled with fleas and had a classic swollen tummy indicating a heavy worm burden. He was treated with flea and wormer treatments to rid him of his burden and given immediate long lasting pain relief for his swollen eye. The original cause of his eye trauma is unknown. Unfortunately Obi’s eye tissue was irreversibly damaged so the safest option was to remove it completely. This operation is called an Eye Enucleation and is surprisingly routine in practice.

A student veterinary nurse at Bright Side fell in love with Obi, and Obi got himself a 5 star foster home. His recovery was very smooth and his foster family gave him the TLC he needed to recover fully with no complications. Obi had fitted in really well with his foster family’s existing two cats and was adopted to stay forever!

Are Two eyes are better than One?

Obi’s right eye was very traumatised from an unknown cause, the swelling, possible infection and trauma meant it was extremely painful and needed to be removed. Cats and Dogs cope really well with only one eye especially if it’s taken out young like Obi’s was. They do not typically have any problems relearning how their sight works and can easily work out things such as distances. It just may take them a little longer to work it out perfectly as having two eyes allows us and our pets to judge distances better. Obi is happily jumping up and down from all sorts of surfaces around the house including climbing the curtains like a normal cheeky kitten. Obi has also learnt how to follow objects such as toys by using his hearing more to clue him in on its movements. He will not be allowed outside by himself for his own safety, but he has started going out in a secure area for short supervised playtime. Now living with his forever family, including his two cat siblings, Obi is now a healthy and happy 3kg!

The importance of fostering

Many small charities, such as Harley’s Hounds, do not have the kennel facilities to house all their rescue animals in one place. Fosterers provide a stable home for their animals letting them adjust into family life while still under the charities medical care. Having fosters gives the animals a better chance to be evaluated in a home environment. This allows the charity to make the best decision on finding their forever homes suiting their individual needs. Like in Obi’s case, fosterers can provide a home for animals that need special care such as extensive rehabilitation due to injury, abuse, neglect or illness and baby animals that need more individual care before they are up for rehoming.

Fostering is extremely rewarding knowing that you have helped an animal into a better life and freeing up space in rescue centres. If you feel you could offer a foster home for an animal you can reach out to these charities.