Kittens rescued from fire win the hearts of a community - BC SPCA
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Kittens rescued from fire win the hearts of a community

July 5, 2024

“They’re all very playful and so affectionate,” says Natalie, their foster. “They love to swat the ball around the wheel of their play circuit toy. They are also major fans of scratch posts.”

Five tiny kittens were rescued from a blaze by Port Alberni fire crews in June and brought to the BC SPCA for care. Their story has captured the hearts of everyone from the firefighters who found them to the staff who treated them at the emergency veterinary hospital.

“These kittens had a range of injuries,” says Sam Sattar, manager of the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot animal centre, a mere 800 feet from where the fire occurred. “Some had only singed fur and whiskers and others had burns over most of their body. They received specialized care and treatment at the hospital and then were brought back to the BC SPCA to be cared for in a foster home.”

Some of the kittens would have to battle a little harder to get well. “Afi, one of the ginger kittens, began to show signs of smoke inhalation damage to his lungs and required an overnight stay at a veterinary clinic. He is now back,” says Natalie. “He is a little slower than the rest of the crew, but he is enjoying romping around with them.” She adds that he isn’t playing with toys as much because his toes are still healing from the burns.


“Kai, the grey and white kitten loves to climb my pants and always wants to be held,” she says. “Kenna, the tortoiseshell, is always looking for a lap to sit on and loves to stalk her brothers and pounce on them. She makes biscuits on the other kittens’ fur and my dog Gracie who is such a good foster mom to them.” Natalie adds the black and white kitten named Egan loves to nestle under blankets, next to her.


The kittens are starting to gain weight and in a couple of weeks will be available for adoption, although the BC SPCA is not worried about finding them a forever home. “We have been flooded with adoption applications. Everyone from the firefighters who rescued them to the emergency veterinary hospital staff who treated them have reached out to us,” says Sattar. “Members of the public from across the province who saw their story have been so kind and generous in their donations and their desire to give one of these fighters a home.”

Sadly, although Phoenix, the ginger kitten with the worst burns, received extensive veterinary care and everyone was optimistic he would recover, he did not survive his injuries.

Burned kittens rescued from blaze

Original story: June 26, 2024

Warning: Graphic images

On June 20, a fire broke out approximately 245 metres or 800 feet behind the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot animal centre in the Rogers Creek gully in Port Alberni. The fire is believed to be human caused. When the fire fighters were doing sweeps of the scene, five kittens, with varying degrees of burns, were found and brought to the BC SPCA.

“The response from fire crews in Port Alberni was outstanding,” says Sam Sattar, manager of the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot animal centre. “They did sweeps of the area over two days finding one kitten and then two more shortly afterwards on the first day and then two more on a sweep the following day. Because the fire happened so close to the animal centre, we were able to rush them to an emergency veterinary hospital and get them treatment quickly.”

One lucky kitten escaped with only a small amount of singed fur. The remaining kittens have burns on their paws, tails, ears, and noses. One little one is suffering from burns to his face, abdomen, mouth, eyelids, tail, and rectum. Their paws are burned, and the skin is sloughing off.

All the kittens immediately received subcutaneous fluids, pain medication and an injection of long-lasting antibiotics to prevent infections from the burns as well as a special cream to treat their burns at the emergency veterinary hospital. Four of the five kittens were prescribed eye medication for their burnt eyelashes and were checked for eye irritation and damage. The kittens will be under veterinarian’s care and in a foster home for a number of weeks as they heal. When they are ready, they will be scheduled for spay and neuter surgeries.

“We have the kittens recovering at the home of one of our staff members so they can receive the specialized care they need to recover,” says Sattar. “They are all set up with special litter that won’t stick to their paws or cause them discomfort when they step on it.” Sattar adds that three of the kittens step very gingerly when they walk, sadly the kitten with the most severe burns does not want to walk at all because it is so uncomfortable.

“The four kittens will require eye drops three times a day and will also need their burns treated with ointment three times a day,” says Sattar. “They are getting pain medication a minimum of twice a day.”

Sattar says the kittens have all been purring through their treatment. “It is unbelievable, even on the way to the veterinary hospital prior to any supportive care or pain management, the healthiest of the kittens were playing and acting like kittens,” says Sattar. “The ones with the more serious injuries have just wanted to sleep, heal and cuddle with each other on a plush blanket that doesn’t cause their burns any discomfort.”

The kitten who was least injured will be available for adoption shortly. The other kittens will be available for adoption in mid-July.

When Petsecure Pet Health Insurance* learned about these kittens, the company generously offered to match all medical donations up to $3,500 to help with their care and other animals who need urgent medical help.

* This grant was made by the Definity Insurance Foundation at the recommendation of the Definity Insurance Company Petline Insurance Company.

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