Ducky, the kitten, failed to thrive until one volunteer rescuer from Louisiana asked for good thoughts and vibes from supporters. The next day, the kitten made a remarkable improvement. It was a bright spot amid many hardships and losses.
Heather, the kitten foster near New Orleans, Louisiana, knows from experience that kitten season can be extremely hard. Nevertheless, she and groups like the Tomato Foster Club do their best, volunteering to save sick, neonatal, and special needs kittens.
There are always setbacks, heartbreaks, and lots of backbreaking work involved. Despite making every heroic effort, things can go wrong for tiny kittens very quickly and unexpectedly. But when things go well, each tiny victory is a cause for celebration.
As we know, kittens are the cutest, but their sheer numbers, particularly in spring, are always overwhelming. In warmer states like Louisiana, kitten season lasts longer. For anybody who has experienced this first-hand, they know all too well that “Hell is Kitten Season.” We hope, one day, TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs will help change that by preventing so many kittens, to begin with. But that day is not today. In the meantime, rescuers always need more foster providers.
This year, rescuers also had to contend with Covid as kitten season was in full swing. But they always do their best every day for each little fluffy life. Ultimately, they save thousands, each providing a lifetime of companionship for adopted families.
Ducky the Kitten Struggles to Grow
Here’s one of the bright moments. In July, Heather took in kittens named after birds. Ducky was the tiniest and struggled to gain weight. At first, Heather wasn’t sure all the kittens would make it.
“Robin, Raven, Wren, Crow, and Ducky are all certified cutie patooties and I love them so much. Everyone is gaining weight except for little Ducky. She’s been maintaining for the past few days even though she has been eating, pottying, and acting just fine. For now I’ll continue to keep an eye on her. I’m hopeful she’ll start to gain again!”
The bird kittens improved days later, but Ducky still failed to gain weight.
“Wren, Crow, Ducky, Raven, and Robin are all on meat milkshakes right now, and I couldn’t be more proud of them and myself,” she shared. “I honestly didn’t think that these babies were all going to survive.”
As foster providers know, even their little poops indicate when everything is going well.
“Ducky is still TEENY TINY,” she said. “Everyone has beautiful poops and perfect round little tummies. Ugh, I love what I do, even though sometimes it almost rips my heart out. Thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive, you have no idea how much it means to me when I’m running on E and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into,” she said.
Pawsitive Thoughts and Vibes for Ducky
In August, Ducky was still way behind her sibling, unable to gain any weight.
“Ducky still isn’t putting any weight on, yet she remains playful and very lovey. She still only weighs 269 grams while her siblings are all nearing 500. I am pulling out all of the tricks right now and hoping for some improvement in the next few days. Please keep this tiny little Duckling in your thoughts,” Heather shared.
The next day, good news, as it seems everyone’s well-wishes worked. Ducky had gained a little weight at last.
“Ducky weighed in this morning at 280 grams!!! That’s 5 grams heavier than her heaviest recorded weight. Keep the good vibes comin, y’all. Three cheers for Ducky!! 🎉🎉🎉”
Later in the same day, Ducky was up to 300 grams, a remarkable improvement.
“Ducky officially broke 300 grams today 😭😭😭”She weighed in at 309 tonight. She is a spunky little thing I am so so excited to see her really feeling herself this evening.”
Two days later, Ducky was still growing stronger, a cause for celebration.
“Ducky, do you wanna tell everyone the good news?! *Ducky puffs up her chest real big* Momma keeps callin me chunky Ducky since I gained over 60 grams in just a few days. I guess she’s real proud of me or somethin, cause she won’t stop singin at me and it sounds real bad so she can stop anytime. Love you too, baby duck 😘”
Ducky the Kitten Gets Chunky
By the next week, Ducky earned a new nickname, as she was now officially chunky. Now it looked like whatever was holding her back was gone, and she would continue to thrive. All those good vibes seemed to do the trick.
“Chunky Ducky is almost 500 grams, y’all. I can’t get over this little angel 😭😻”
“Do you think she will grow up to be a duck 🦆 or a swan 🦢?” someone asked.
“I think she’s on her way to growing up to be the most beautiful mallard lady 😍😂,” Heather replied.
At that point, she revealed the kitten’s name is inspired by Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the NCIS series.
The Power of Positive Vibes and Wet Food
By the end of the month, Ducky continued to flourish, reaching 1.6 pounds.
“Little Ducky is doing great!! She is officially 1.6 pounds as of this morning!! I was worried there for a little bit, but she is clearly back on the track to hit 2 pounds for surgery. Thank you to everyone who sent wet food and positive vibes!! Lord knows that we needed and used a lot of them 😅”