Kitten Dumped in the Rubbish Bin

On an extremely hot day in early August, I received a call from a restaurant near where I live.

One of the kitchen staff had come across a tiny kitten, which had been dumped in the waste bins.

They had brought the kitten back to the restaurant, and it was now cowering in an outside shed. 

I received a photo on my mobile, and I could see a sick and thin ginger and black kitten. 

Panther was found in a rubbish bin

Typically, sick cats hunch down to the ground with their paws beneath them, and their chin low to the ground.  This one was female, black and ginger cats are always female.

I knew that in the August heat, dehydration can be lethal and I hurriedly prepared some specialist kitten milk in a syringe.  I used lukewarm water which would be just the right temperature by the time I arrived at the kitten.

The poor animal was obviously in pain, but she allowed me to pick her up and drank two syringes of the special milk.  I was careful not to give her more as I didn’t want to risk upsetting her delicate stomach. 

Due to the holiday season, many of the vet clinics are closed, but I managed to speak to Sylvia at the clinic in Vergel and arranged an emergency appointment.

Vergel is 15 minutes drive from me, and the clinic is affiliated with the feral cat treatment programme, operated by Gata Town Hall.  Sylvia is a wonderful helpful vet and extremely knowledgeable where cats are concerned.  She set up a file for the kitten, which we decided to name Panther.

Panther at the vet

Panther was six weeks old and was desperately underweight at just 350 grams.  At this age, kittens eat a combination of the mother’s milk (or specialist kitten milk) and solid kitten foods.  It is important not to feed adult biscuits, as the kitten’s teeth are too tiny to be able to eat them.  Specialist wet and dry food for kittens is available from supermarkets and vet clinics.

As Sylvia treats Panther with kitten flea treatment, we watch as the fleas hop off her fur, bailing ship one by one.  The preparation will also act against internal parasites.  Panther also has a cold virus, making her congested and sneezing. 

Sylvia administered the first antibiotic injection, to be followed by another three injections over the next fortnight.  We can see from the photograph that poor Panther’s ears are turned outwards, showing her anxiety and unease. 

The virus has also caused the right eye to cloud over, so it appears opaque.  I will apply Tobramicina eyedrops every day.  It is debatable whether the eye condition will slowly heal, or remain permanent.

Once home I leave Panther in her room to recover from her ordeal.  My adult cats can be territorial and would bully her or even attack her.  Adults often do not appreciate frisky little kittens invading their space, and are liable to throw a punch.

Two days later we return to the vets for the second injection, and Panther has gained 220 grams!  She has also proved to be the sweetest most adorable lap kitten, loving to be picked up and cuddled, and purring constantly. 

As I already have so many adult rescue cats in my apartment, I have uploaded videos and photos of Panther onto local cat websites and Facebook.  I would love Panther to be adopted by someone who can give her all the attention she deserves.

It is extremely difficult to find adoptions as there are far too many unwanted kittens on Costa Blanca and all over Spain.  Every animal shelter is full to bursting point, and many have waiting lists to get in.  Tragically, some animal shelters are forced to put animals to sleep, as they cannot cope with the volume.

Some countries like Germany and Guernsey prohibit the unnecessary breeding of kittens, which is marvellously effective to prevent the heart-breaking numbers of abandoned animals.  What I would give for the same law here…

On the first day, I would place Panther on the litter tray after every meal.  I also did this on subsequent days, at regular intervals, until she became familiar with everything.  After two weeks I show Panther how to use the stairs, by encouraging her to follow me a few steps at a time.  Kittens are programmed to seek out and follow their mothers’ legs!  Panther soon catches on and bounds up and down the stairs like a pro!


She is not particularly interested in the adult cats, and soon loses interest and ignores them when they approach.   She is more interested in playing with her toy mouse than in picking a fight with someone five times her size!

I am feeding five small meals a day, beginning at 7 am and finishing at 11 pm.  Panther eats two-thirds of wet kitten food and a small number of kitten biscuits.  I mix the biscuits with plenty of water as they are so dry, and she was struggling to swallow them.  This way it helps her digestion, and she stays hydrated. 

Panther prefers to take water with her food, rather than directly from the bowl.  Cats cannot easily gauge the water level in the bowl and they dislike getting their noses wet.  For this reason, a lot of cats will first paw the water.

Panther is now about eight weeks old, and she has taken to biting my fingers.  This is part of kitten learning, passing through a biting stage, to determine what is and isn’t prey.  Kittens should never be chastised for this, as they are simply learning what is appropriate.  This behaviour is very similar to toddlers who put everything in their mouths. 

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