Little tuxie Lucas has had a rough start in life.
He was discovered by a customs agent at the USA/Mexico border when he was about a week old. The poor baby was covered in ants and very tiny.
He weighed only about 95 grams, which is just over 3 ounces. This is the normal weight for a newborn kitten.
Lucas was taken in to the San Diego Humane Society’s Kitten Nursery to be cared for.
The Kitten Nursery cares for thousands of orphaned kittens every year. These neonatal kittens require 24-hour care that is unavailable anywhere else.
Before the program was established in 2008, many kittens this young throughout San Diego county would be euthanized because of a lack of resources required to care for them. This would likely have been Lucas’s fate.
The young kitten was fortunate to be in such good hands. When he was just a few weeks old, they noticed his breathing had started to decline.
Thinking perhaps that maybe he had pneumonia, they rushed him to the vet.
However, the veterinarian discovered something much rarer. Lucas was diagnosed with a condition called Flat Chested Kitten Syndrome.
This condition, commonly called “FCKS”, is characterized by the deformed ribs and breastbone in kittens. This causes the chest to be flat instead of rounded. It can also cause the sternum to collapse inwards as the kitten breathes.
Symptoms include heavy or open-mouth breathing, fatigue, lethargy, splayed front legs (called Swimmer kitten due to the kitten crawling with both front legs out to the sides mimicking paddling), and delayed growth.
Lucas spent a long time at the nursery being monitored and getting the care he required to overcome his difficulties.
When he was stable enough, he moved into a foster home where he could grow into the handsome, mustachioed kitten he is today.
That is likely what attracted his adopters! Just yesterday, Lucas went to his furever home! <3
Without the dedicated and caring workers and volunteers at the San Diego Humane Society, Lucas would not have survived. But now he can breathe a sigh of relief and settle into his new life as a beloved families fur-baby.