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Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance in Asheville took in Baklava, a mother cat from South Carolina who was but a kitten herself. At six months old, she was severely emaciated and critically ill but heroically trying to keep her newborn kittens alive. 

Tiny Empanada kitten

Fortunately, the Alliance specializes in critical care for newborn kittens and pregnant or nursing moms. Now, she would be in the best hands, but her survival remained uncertain. Of all the cats rescued that day, Baklava’s condition was the worst. 

“They came to us from a rescue in South Carolina who had recently taken in a large group of cats and kittens from a situation in which they had not been receiving the care they needed,” says Andee Bingham, Executive Director at the Kitten Alliance. “There were many young moms, but Baklava and her kittens were in the worst condition.”

Video via Facebook/Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance

An Uphill Battle to Save the Kittens

Although barely alive, Baklava continued to nurse at less than four pounds. Meanwhile, only one of the kittens named Empanada was in fair condition somehow.

“We knew right away that we were facing an uphill battle to save them,” Andee recalls. “When I lifted her out of the carrier I could feel every bone in her body. She was weak and very dehydrated. One of her kittens appeared pretty healthy, but the others were about half the size they should have been.”

Mother kitten with babies

Baklava Gave Everything to Save Her Kittens

Barely clinging to life, Baklava refused to give up, continuing to care for the kittens.

“We weren’t sure at first that she was going to make it,” Bingham says. “She had given all of herself to her babies, and there was barely any fight left in her.”

Baklava shortly after arrival

Immediately, the team took her to an emergency vet and began around-the-clock treatments. To ensure she could regain strength, they fed her by syringe. Amazingly, after 36 hours, she rounded the corner and started to recover.

“I admittedly had a solo dance party when she ate on her own for the first time,” Bingham recalls.

Baklava shortly after arrival 2

Baklava Gets to Be the Kitten She Deserves to Be

On February 17, Baklava started eating food on her own for the first time.

“She’s not anywhere near out of the woods yet and will still be receiving around-the-clock critical care for the next few days…BUT!….Mama Baklava ate food on her own for the first time this morning! 🙌”

After two weeks had gone by, Baklava looked and behaved like a new kitty. 

“It’s truly incredible that she was able to survive. Now she gets to be the kitten she deserves to be. She’ll have all of the food, medical care, and love she needs for the rest of her long life.”

“All the fluids we gave Baklava must have watered her cheek gardens 🌱Can you believe these whiskers?! 😲”

Cat named Baklava

Baklava’s Tiny Kitten Empanada Survives

Unfortunately, only Empanada was strong enough to survive, despite every effort to save the litter. As you can see, even Empanada was incredibly tiny.

“When cats are as sick as Baklava was during pregnancy, we often see that nature chooses one kitten to give all of the scarce resources to,” explains Bingham. “Even with the immense amount of specialized care we were able to give to her two smaller kittens, their bodies, unfortunately, weren’t strong enough to survive.”

Empanada as a wee kitten

Empanada as a wee kitten 3

At Baklava’s age, there was “no scenario in which she could have had a healthy pregnancy. And in fact, her pregnancy nearly killed her,” Bingham explained. Shockingly, cats can become pregnant at just 4 months old, giving birth 2 months later.

“Baklava should be the poster child for why spaying young cats is so important,” Bingham insists. “She was so young and so small when she became pregnant.”

Tiny Empanada kitten with hand

With low-cost spay and neuter services available in most places, there’s no excuse not to. 

Thanks to donors who helped out at the Kitten Alliance, Baklava and Empanada made it. 

“Less than a week ago, we were rushing Baklava to the emergency vet and crossing all our fingers and paws that she’d make it through the night. Today she chirps and purrs nonstop,” the Alliance wrote on Facebook.

Baklava on desk

“Thank you thank you thank you for helping give this sweet, gentle girl the chance she deserves to know a life of love and kindness 💕”

Baklava feeling much better

Now they will find forever-homes and bring a lifetime of joy to their human families.

“It’s because of our donors that we were able to quickly get Baklava every bit of medical care she needed that first day when the odds were stacked so high against her. Our supporters are the reason she is alive and doing so well today, and for that we are so grateful.”

Empanada as a wee kitten 2

Follow the Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance on Facebook and Instagram. They will host their annual Kitten Baby Shower and Open House in Asheville in preparation for the spring kitten season.

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