The 16-week-old kitten, named Derek, was half the size he should have been when he was rescued by Blue Cross pet charity. His incredible journey was featured on Animal Rescue Live Supervet Special this week, and people have been eager to hear more about his story. It’s one of a sad start, but a happy ending.
Derek was among a litter of five kittens found living with 27 other cats in “horrendous conditions” in a one-bedroom flat in Devon.
The litter was so weak, one of the little kittens died before they could even get it to the Blue Cross’s rehoming centre.
Tragically, all of Derek’s brothers and sisters suffered horrific traumas.
Despite the best efforts of everyone at the Blue Cross, little Derek was the only kitten who survived.
For a while, the team were unsure whether he would make it.
Leanne Gover-Rainbow, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross Torbay, said: “It was touch and go in the early days whether Derek would make it as sadly despite all our efforts we lost his litter mates as they were just too weak.
“I took Derek home every night to hand rear which meant getting up every two hours to bottle-feed him milk and toilet him.”
After being half the size he should have been for his age when found, it became increasingly evident the little kitten had development problems as a result of his traumatic start.
But that didn’t stop his new foster mum falling in love with him, eventually deciding to adopt him full time.
Ms Gover-Rainbow said: “He still struggles to walk very far and is a lot smaller than he should be for his age but he gets on so well with my two other cats.
“He tries to follow one of them around everywhere and snuggles up to him.
“He really enjoys climbing things and of course cuddles from me and my husband.
“Hopefully we’re going to have a very long life together but whatever the future brings we’re ready and we’ll look after him.”
Animal Rescue Live Supervet Special is on Channel 4 every weeknight this week from 8pm to 9pm.
This is part of a special series hosted by Supervet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick along with Kate Quilton and Steve Jones to raise money for and promote the work of rescue charities across the country.