Arwen and Maia, the kittens' legacy research

Hi - I'm Miss Skimbleshanks, a foster carer of 14 years standing and of 248 kittens and cats rescued by HAWS.  I specialise in raising kittens with their Mums until they are adopted into loving, caring and safe homes.

This fundraiser is to pay for some urgent blood tests on 5 kittens and cats and anything over £750 will be split between HAWS and the Royal Veterinary College Research fund.

Last year I cared for Coco, a mumcat, and helped her raise her 5 kittens until they were adopted.  Two of the kittens, Arwen and Maia were adopted into a home with friends of mine.  They grew with me and then with Jo and Scott to be loving, adventurous, playful and cheeky little bundles of fun.  

But on Sunday May 20th, at 11 months old, they both died, within hours of each other.  The vets fought and fought to save them but to no avail.  What started as them being slightly poorly for no apparent reason into them crashing into be terribly ill - they were found to have something called Pancytopenia... their blood tests showed they had nearly no red or white blood cells or platelets.

Pancytopenia causes uncontrollable bleeding, anaemia and an susceptibility to any other infection.  It IS curable if caught early enough but the initial symptoms are just the cat being "a bit off" but deteriorates rapidly.

This is normally an exceptionally rare disease - the Royal Veterinary College normally have 1 case a year reported .  On May 25th they released an item saying that they have had reports of 10 serious cases and 40 to 50 others just coming in.

They have never seen a spike of Pancytopenia like this and as the disease is so rare, they don't understand yet what the exact causes are and are working really hard to find the cause and find why all of a sudden there is such a huge spike in cases.

Arwen and Maia's adopters are in pieces... I'm in pieces and so are the charity co-ordinators.  We have never come across anything like this. And I just wish I could take away some of Jo and Scott's pain.  But I know I can't.  What I can do is help stop this happening to other cats, kittens and their humans.

One of the treating vets spent hours on the phone with the RVC on Sunday trying so hard to save the kittens.  Because they were still so young, the vet and the RVC asked whether Jo could contact me and see whether we can have the girls' siblings, mother and any cats sharing homes with them blood tested.

I've contacted all 3 households but the blood tests cost £150 per cat.... the veterinary practices can't do much about the costs as the samples need to go into labs to get accurate results.

The RVC want the tests in order to a) make sure Coco, Whiskers Bob, Bertie and Bruce and Whiskers Bob's adopted big sister do not have the condition but also b) to use the results to add to the research to see if there are genetic connections or to rule out long incubation.  Negative results are as important right now as positive - cats and kittens are dying from this horrible disease.

Jo, Scott, me and HAWS will all appreciate anything you can donate, however small.  Any funds that can go towards these blood tests will be much appreciated.  The charity are going to subsides the tests but that's money much needed for their other rescues medical bills.  Every year HAWS spends around £70,000 on vets bills.  And we will also split any surplus fundraising with the RVC for their urgent research.

I really hope we can make something good come out of this horrible, tragic and so very sad situation.

More information about Hounslow Animal Welfare Society: HAWS is an independent registered charity that rescues and rehomes unwanted, abandoned, stray or unloved pets to the extent of its resources. It is run soley by volunteers. All funds raised go directly to helping animals. HAWS has a non destruction policy so if an animal has good quality of life but is on medication or is elderly, HAWS provides the necessary care throughout their retirement. Please help us to carry on our work with animals that through no fault of their own come to need our help.


Annabella Skimbleshanks
Hounslow Animal Welfare Society
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.

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