Courageous Spike defies the odds

HE MAY look like your normal everyday cat, but inside, Spike is a rarity.With a number of health problems that would test any cat's nine lives, Spike's insides are somewhat back to front.

HE MAY look like your normal everyday cat, but inside, Spike is a rarity.

With a number of health problems that would test any cat's nine lives, Spike's insides are somewhat back to front.

At eight weeks old Spike, who had been taken in by Ipswich Cats Protection was battling: n. a lung problem

n. a heart murmur


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n. undeveloped knee joints.

But vets were astounded last month when they went to operate on Spike, who is now a year old, and found that he had been born with his spleen and intestines in his chest.

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Martin Hyde, partner from the Smith, Ryder, Davis vets practice in Woodbridge said: “This is unusual in the fact that we think Spike was born with this problem - we usually see it in cats that have been run over.

“We don't know what happened to Spike in the first seven weeks of his life but it is more likely that he was born with it.”

Mr Ryder said that Spike had been due to undergo an operation on his legs but staff noticed he was having some breathing difficulties.

X-rays revealed the extent of Spike's problems but now Mr Ryder said the prognosis looks good.

He said: “Cats do usually survive this surgery. It is a tricky surgery that can go wrong.

“In normal surgery when it goes wrong it is a shock, but with this kind of surgery it is not a shock.

“The risk is about ten times greater.”

Mr Ryder said Spike has a good outlook for the problems he has with his legs and his intestines, but no-one is sure what is likely to happen with his heart.

As an eight-week old kitten Spike was taken in by Ipswich Cats Protection with his brother Milligan.

His health problems mean that he cannot be re-homed so he now lives with welfare officer from the charity, Pat Kettle.

However the charity - which has a policy of never having an animal put down because of funding issues - has now been left with a vets bill of £700.

Spike's plight has highlighted the money charities spend on looking after animals and how much they depend on donations.

Mrs Kettle said: “We're left with a very big vet bill.

“He won't live to be an old man, a lot of it depends on his heart and we have to give him as happy and comfortable a life as we can while we've got him.

“It is such an unusual problem he's a very special cat, he's such a sweetie.”

Now faced with a battle to raise funds to cover vet bills for Spike and other cats the charity is looking after, Mrs Kettle said every penny is well spent.

She said: “Some people ask if it's worth it just for a cat but all creatures deserve a chance.”

Ipswich Cats Protection is also currently offering a free cat neutering service.

The service is on offer to anyone on a low income and is part of the charity's efforts to help slow the rising number of cats suffering from feline aids.

Numbers of cats who have the disease are on the increase and it's spread is largely down to un-neutered cats having unplanned litters several times.

The free neutering scheme is on offer until June 13.

For more information about the scheme or to find out how to make a donation to Ipswich Cats Protection, contact Pat Kettle on 01728 747115.

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