Failure to Thrive Study

Orphan Kitten Club has partnered with UC Davis to design, fund, and conduct a groundbreaking study about failure to thrive in the neonatal kitten population.

The aim of this study is to determine the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in kittens less than 5 weeks of age, utilizing medical records and necropsy results from 100 kittens, and in 30 kittens utilizing medical records, physical examination, and diagnostic testing. Kittens receiving standard of care husbandry will be recruited over a 2-year period (2023 to 2025) from rescue groups and animal shelters.

Morbidity and mortality in kittens is caused by a variety of pathologies, but the predominance of certain pathologies is likely, some of which are likely treatable. Determining the prevalence of causes of morbidity and mortality in a population of neonatal and orphaned kittens will help shelters, rescues, and veterinarians be better prepared to identify kittens with treatable conditions which may save kittens’ lives.

Below are stories of kittens and how their necropsy studies have enabled the survival of others.

Mama Kitson arrived here several weeks ago with three babies. Sadly, the smallest one, Von Dutch, was very ill. Despite an intensive week of care with Kitten Lady, he wasn’t improving and we made the humane decision to let him go. Von Dutch’s remains were submitted for necropsy as part of our Failure to Thrive study. The results of his necropsy helped us create an aggressive treatment plan for his sister when she suddenly became ill. Part of Von Dutch’s legacy is that his short life helped us ensure the long and happy lives of the rest of his family.  We are happy to announce that his two siblings and mom were all adopted together into a loving home.

Your donations past and present are helping make a mark on the world of kitten care that will extend beyond all of us. Please consider contributing.