How badly things can go wrong when young kittens don’t receive timely care for an upper respiratory infection

This horror story details how badly things can go wrong when young kittens don’t receive timely care for an upper respiratory infection. It comes from Kellie Wester, a feral cat rescuer from the Raleigh, North Carolina area. Not only does Kellie practice TNR, she also rehomes many cats who are friendly and has a Facebook community page titled My Friendly Ferals.

Additional surgery set for Monday

Kellie posted the heartbreaking story that began last Sunday when she was contacted by a friend with three very sick kittens who were found under a house. Thanks to an untreated upper respiratory infection, they’re fighting for their lives this week.

“Sunday I was contacted about helping these three kittens. I called and messaged several rescues, but they were unable to help due to lack of foster homes. After several hours of trying, it seemed the only place at these kittens would be able to go to would be the animal shelter that was already filled to the max. I posted on Facebook for help with rescue, people suggested that I do a fundraiser, and I thought long and hard about it. I really did not want to tell the people to take the kittens to the animal shelter, but they needed medical attention. I called and told them that if I could raise the funds that they could drop them off at my vet the next day.”

Before eye removal

It truly took an entire animal loving community to get these kittens the surgery they needed. They were dropped off at the vet on Monday, had surgery Tuesday, and Kellie picked them up on Wednesday. It’s unsure how old they are. They aren’t even two pounds yet! One of the kittens lost both eyes and also had an umbilical hernia which was repaired. Another kitten lost one eye, and the third has kept both eyes (as of June 24).

The third kitten will see the veterinarian again on Monday. Unfortunately, the other two kittens started doing poorly on Thursday. Kellie took them to a vet on Friday because they all were running high fevers and had a lot of infection oozing out of the eye socket. They also all have ear infections and are being treated for that. Another antibiotic was added and they are also on pain medication. Kellie is giving the one that kept both eyes several medications in an effort to save the eyes.

Fingers crossed that both eyes can be saved

Kellie will be dropping them off Monday morning around 10 a.m. for surgery again and will have a vet bill for them spending the night. A YouCaring fundraiser has been set up here. You may also donate via PayPal or contact Kellie on her community page if you’d like to call in a payment directly to the veterinarian.

The bill right now has hit close to $2,000. Add in additional surgery, treatment and spay and neuter once they’re healthy enough and we’re still looking at a “village effort” to raise the funds.

I hope this article is a wake-up call as to what can happen should a cat owner decide not to see a veterinarian for a condition that’s easily treated if caught in time.

Please help Kellie if you can. She’s responsible not only for the care of feral cats but also in getting many of them who are deemed adoptable off the streets and into forever homes.


Note: Photos provided by Kellie Wester. Updates will be posted on the Facebook: My Friendly Ferals community page listed above as well as the YouCaring webpage.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • ENOUGH on poor Sick Mr Collins.
    This is for these Precious Kitties and dear Sweet Loving Kellie. Mr Collins will have to get help elsewhere Not here.
    Thank you all who donated and contributed their good kind Help for these little Angels.

    • How many expensive and painful surgeries has that poor kitten gone through so far, and how much money was spent so far, just so you can torture animals to try to make yourselves feel good in pretending you are saving cats' lives. You are all seriously emotionally and mentally disturbed with how much suffering that you have to put that animal through just so you can find ways to think you have a purpose, or are in any way decent people. The suffering that poor kitten has gone through and will continue to go through throughout its whole life proves your self-worth as a caring human 100% to the contrary. It takes real strength of heart to do what is right. Apparently none of you have any of that.

  • J.C. Collins you make no sense at all!! These kittens did not ask to become blind and to need the surgery that they did. Kellie did the right thing by opening her home to them. It takes an army to save the unwanted but I have a feeling that you have no clue about that!! Kellie saves many lives and if you can not see that then keep your opinions to yourself. My mom taught me if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all. I think you need to follow this. Kellie would not have the following that she does if she was a fraud and only looking for attention. Maybe you should investigate what you say and back it up with facts before posting it! You are trying to hurt someone else's reputation but us who know Kellie know what you say is untrue. So please go stop commenting and remove yourself!!!

  • And another thing. Kellie always seems to jump in blindly without the funds to treat because she has such a huge support group she knows she'll get the money raised once the need is there. She doesn't ask to save all of these cats. People depend on her and trust her to do what's right by them and she's the go-to person in WAY too many emergencies. I've known her to hold cats as they're humanely euthanized because she knew it was the best thing to do. If these kittens didn't stand a chance they wouldn't still be alive.

    • I guess that means if someone who was running dog-fight rings had a huge support group that'd make it okay too and make them right. I love your logic. I'll pass it on.

      • Dog fighting and feral cats have nothing in common. You are so off topic I can hardly wait for Michael to kick you off again.

  • J. C.Collins. So you claim to care about cats, but now you want to lobatomize them? Their eyes were removed because they were already blind by disease and it was to save them from life threatening infections. These kittens are tame and will find good homes. They will never bother YOU or anyone else. They will be loved and cared for.
    Exactly WHY do you object to that?????? You say cats should be spayed or neutered but then say that humans rip out their reproductive organs. Are you NOW saying spaying and neutering is wrong? You are a very sick and disturbed individual. Please get some help.

  • JC Collins Your ignorance and stupidity is astounding! Anyone in rescue and who truly has a passion for helping any cat would never look to declaw, first off and foremost. No reason to euthanize those kittens when their issues are treatable. There's no one to blame for their issues besides the many careless owners who don't get their cats spayed/neutered or look to seek proper medical attention and choose to dump them. So how about taking your misinformed miserable self elsewhere! Considering you don't know Kelly or about the countless cats she takes care of on a daily basis or has helped find homes, do us all a favor and Shut the Fuck Up!!!

  • I'm going to propose to the SPCA that they recommend lobotomies for cats, that will surely save even MORE cat's lives!

  • JC Collins, give it up, we know you are an uneducated troll & if anyone is looking for attention it's you. It's really very, very sad when a supposed "man" sits behind a keyboard seeking out attention. Stop your nonsense you are embarrassing yourself.

  • Susano, If you think JC' s comments were based on compassion, your're sorely mistaken. This person is a troll that routinely opposes anything that helps cats. Michael's response was nicely worded because he is a decent human being that loves cats. JC does not love cats. JC hates cats and hates anyone that tries to help them. Kellie is trying to help these kittens and JC is trying to demean her and anyone else who has contributed to help with the vet bills. There is NO compassion, just hatred for anyone who cares for cats, because JC wants all cats dead. BTW, JC Collins. You make ME sick.

    • How odd. You're willing to save a cat's life by ripping its eyes out so it has to live out its life while blind. But you rail and moan and weep about people declawing cats so someone will adopt them.

      Hey, why not just rip out their reproductive organs, blind them, AND declaw them to get them adopted! That will surely save cats' lives!!

      Not ONE OF YOU knows what the word "humane" means.

      • Talk about attention-seeking! Only a truly self-absorbed troll would respond to a story like this with your horrible comments... Sociopath much?

      • JC..with that attitude I pray you don't have kids. God forbid you do and they have downs or possibly be born blind. Should they be killed or would you love anyway? Never mind..someone as closeminded as you I already know the answer! Do NOT reproduce and spread your hate please!

      • Your logic is fatally flawed. Without surgery the kittens die of infection but even if they don't they still live out their lives while blind. Declawing a cat is an abomination and is unnecessary except in the most extreme cases (I do know of one, and one only, in my decades of living with and rescuing cats). Enucleation of a destroyed eyeball is a medically necessary treatment.

      • J.C. Collins. Thank you for all of your well-thought comments. You're bringing a LOT of new traffic to this website and thus helping cats everywhere. Again, thank you for the boost to this article. I couldn't have done it without you!

      • JC I'm the owner of a beautiful, 100% blind cat I rescued out of the street over 4 years ago. He can do anything my sighted cats can do and surpasses them in some things. I think you are a lonely, insignificant person and you troll pages like this to try and bring some importance to your pitiful existence. Why don't you try to develop a bit of compassion or at the least, stop complaining about things that don't affect you?

      • The eyes ruptured so they cleaned out the socket not ripped them out. They humanely repaired them and partially blind cats can live long happy indoor lives. Fully blind kittens have been shown to adapt quite well and lives full, happy indoor lives. It is ignorant to believe an animal cannot adapt. As far as neutering and spaying, it actually helps them lead longer and happier lives. Please go do some actual research before commenting on something you clearly know nothing about. As far as tbe rescuer goes, she is a wonderful person for putting the needs of animals above her own.

      • You are a moron she does what she can do for cats back off and go find someone else to pick on I had a kitten with a disability like these babies and he lived a very healthy lifestyle happy and healthy she does so much for cats and kittens just because you don't like them don't sit there and tell her oh you should humanly euthanize them go be a troll somewhere else

  • JC Collins. You make me sick. Kellie spends most of her money spaying, neutering and finding homes or safe places for animals that someone threw away or grew tired of or abused. Saving those kittens was a mission of love for her and for the rest of us who support the cause. Yes they are suffering because some stupid heartless human left them to die. Through all the pain and treatments they are purring and loving her and will make great companions for someone- perhaps a disabled child who wants a pet that is like them or a lonely senior who needs someone or something to need them. They are valued. And Kellie and all those who follow her path will keep on trying to save as many lives as they can with more TNR and more education on spaying and neutering. But we will not sacrifice the tiny victims that have been born into a harsh and cruel world if we can save them and give them a quality of life they deserve and we owe them. If the vets had thought there was no hope they would have said so. They do not want to see them suffer either.

    • No. It's a mission for attention for herself, and nothing more than that. Don't try to kid yourself nor anyone else.

      • JC Collins- Don't assume everyone is as cold-hearted as yourself. The sheer number of animals that Kellie has helped, trained, fostered, homed, spayed, neutered and loved is astounding. Without her efforts, thousands of unwanted animals would be running loose. Get over yourself JC, it's not your call. If we wish to send our money to help blind kittens, that is our business. Don't donate if you don't agree with the cause. Don't trash others who are trying to do their best. Troll off.

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