We found out what’s wrong with our kitten on Friday and the news is mixed.

She is brain-damaged, or rather, part of her brain didn’t form properly during the last stages of Artemis’s pregnancy. As a result, Saffron’s motor-functions are somewhat lacking and she’s a little slow on the uptake. Her symptoms are a little milder than the video below, but it gives you a good idea of what she’s like.

The vet said that if this was her only problem, she’d lead a full, happy life.

But we don’t know that this is her only problem. Her fit the other day tends to suggest that there is fluid on her brain, building pressure and causing seizures. If this is the case, she’s in pain and will need to be put to sleep. To find out whether or not there is excess fluid in her teeny kitten skull, she’ll need an MRI which will be pricey. I’m hoping the pet insurance we have from the CPL will cover it…

Fingers crossed for the little mog.

I really didn’t think I would grow so attached to the cats this quickly – I’m usually very practical when it comes to animals. But this little kitten is just SO loving and so… dog like – she acts the same as a teeny puppy who has a foot fascination. I don’t know whether it’s my {somewhat limited} maternal instincts kicking in, or whether I’ve been a ‘cat person’ all along and am only now coming out of the canine closet, but I just want to wrap Saffy up in cotton wool and ‘make it all better’.

So I started looking into diet. After a discussion about what sugar does to kids with ADHD, I began wondering if Saffron’s fit was down to the chemicals in her food. When I read up about the various ‘ingredients’ in commercial kitty meals, I was horrified. Unless the ingredients state what sort of meat is in there, it could be anything that a rendering plant needs to get rid of. And whilst I’m not squeamish about them eating road-kill, chicken factory floor scrapings or knackered race horses, I am very squeamish about them eating domestic animals that have been put down for health reasons. Yes, that’s right. Bog-standard cat food can often contain cats.

And you thought we didn’t learn anything from BSE…

Even when the cat food did state which animal the meat came from, typical meat content was – at best – 24%. For a carnivorous animal, that’s appalling. So, thought I, time to look at the dried food. But dry food is worse. Most of it is made from ash and cereal, forcing the cats’ digestive system to break down proteins it was never designed to.  Stomach upsets follow and Artemis, saffron’s mum has had some digestive issues. Also, because cats have incredibly low thirst drives, they don’t get enough liquid if they’re fed on dry food alone, leading to kidney problems and urinary tract infections.

I felt terrible – I put so much thought into what I eat and into what the chemicals I consume are doing to my body, but I didn’t stop to think about what the cats were nomming on. You presume that because cat food is ‘designed’ for feline consumption, it’s the best thing you can give them, but in actual fact, it’s just a way to make money on substandard waste-products that wouldn’t naturally be consumed by anything. My friend J- (the one from uni) is probably having hysterics at this point because he hates cats, but I honestly feel incredibly guilty. And, more to the point, incredibly stupid.

Cat food smells absolutely foul – I mean, I’d rather catch a wiff of a rotten egg than a plate of so-called ‘chicken chunks in gravy’. The fact that cat poop smells exactly the same as it did at the other end should have told me straight away that the moggies aren’t properly digesting what they’re fed. The chemical process of turning food into poop should have altered the smell.

Anyways, after much research online last night, we’ve decided to buy the cats’ dinners from Pets Kitchen. In an ideal world, I would feed the mogs on a diet of raw meat like they would have in the wild, but quite simply, I can’t afford to do that, nor do I have the time to grind bones as all of the recipes online state is necessary for good nutrition. We chose Pets Kitchen above the other sites out there because it’s clear the site owner genuinely cares about what animals are eating and isn’t just interested in making money from this new ethical eating, organic trend.

Hopefully, a new diet will help to sort Saffron’s tiny kitten brain out. Until the better food arrives though, I’ve taken to mixing some tuna and raw bacon through the grot we have left in attempt to feed the cats something of nutritional value.

For the first time since visiting the vets, I am cautiously optimistic about baby cat’s future.