Sick Foster Kitten Makes Triumphant Recovery- Petey’s Story

On the very first day Petey’s future-forever parents started fostering him, they knew he was special. Whether it was his rambunctious nature or his raucous pterodactyl screech of a meow, Petey stole their hearts with his huge personality.

Petey’s name was an evolution in and of itself, much like his namesake. From “P. Dactyl,” to PD (Petey) for short, his name became as unique as he is. 

Meeting Petey today, no one would ever guess that just months before, he was fighting to survive.

When Petey came to Lawrence Humane Society, our medical team realized he had a severe case of calicivirus, an upper respiratory infection which left him barely able to eat. Because of this, his little body was half the weight he should have been, and his left eye was swollen completely shut. 

We feared this kitten’s illness would take his eye, or possibly his life if he didn’t gain weight. But thanks to our generous supporters and medical staff, Petey made a miraculous full recovery– and even got to keep his eye!


Kitten meowing energetically for food on a plate
Little Petey's mom says now that he is healthy, he loves to make up for lost time by eating food like there's no tomorrow. In May of 2020, that was a very different story.

“He had such a strong will to live," Petey's foster-mom-turned-forever-mom said. "He was so opinionated and scrappy, even when he weighed next to nothing and you could feel every rib."

Our team of veterinarians, staff and foster families took Petey through the finish line from a worrying case to a story of overcoming.  Dr. Pickett, our lead veterinarian said Petey’s will to live was an inspiration to all. 

“Although Petey was smaller than his littermates and had much more severe symptoms, he proved that he was small but mighty,” Dr. Pickett said. “He was such a fighter.”

Every year, we treat thousands of animals for illness, injury and pain. Often, animals like Petey need special solutions to their ailments. Petey’s family said before he recovered, he needed:

  • Seven weeks of medical supervision;
  • Round the clock care;
  • Special feeding methods with a syringe;
  • And his own special mixture of soft food for minimizing pain.
A small kitten being weighed
According to Dr. Pickett, in the worst of his fight, Petey had complications from like ocular disease, oral ulceration, respiratory disease and stunted growth. For seven weeks, vets had to monitor his health for proper weight gain.

Dr. Pickett said the importance of the Lawrence Humane Society’s network of supporters, staff, volunteers and fosters cannot be understated in cases like these.

“It takes an army to get some of these animals over the finish line and on to a forever home,” Dr. Pickett, LHS’s Chief Veterinarian said. “Your time, effort, and money really do go to helping sick, injured, and lost animals.” 

Dr. Pickett said it’s crucial for animals like Petey to go into foster home environments to help provide that round-the-clock care. Because of the dedication of his foster parents, Petey was able to flourish with the proper environment his needs called for. 

“These fosters are very special people that give so much hard work to help these very sick animals survive,” Dr. Pickett said. “It is such a pleasure to work with these wonderful people and try to give them the tools for a successful treatment.

Older cat and kitten playing
Petey's foster mom became what shelters call a "foster fail" when she adopted Petey from fostering him. She decided to keep him after seeing the bond between Petey and her older cat, Sookie. Petey's foster mom said Sookie became like Petey's new cat mom and "taught him how to cat."

Fostering Saves Lives

So, on behalf of Petey and every animal like him, thank you so much to our fosters! You provide specialized care for animals who need extra support.

Ready to open your home and heart to animals like Petey? Start your foster journey today! 

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