This gorgeous little man is Thor, our heart.
He came to us with his brother Loki, when they were just 2 months old.
We suspected Thor’s mummy hadn’t cooked him quite right – she was a rescue who was very malnourished when she arrived at her foster family with four 1 week old babies in her care. There were 2 tabbies, one little grey and one tiny, tiny little black kitten. As soon as I spotted the little black kitten on Facebook, I knew he was the cat for me so I contacted his foster mum and arranged a meeting.
He stole our hearts, and we spent a few weeks visiting with him and his best friend/bro Loki before we finally brought them home. We thought they had a clean bill of health, but then the trouble started.
Thor began to get these awful, gut wrenching coughing fits, struggling to breathe for what seemed like an eternity every time and we were powerless to help him.
He seemed to recover ok each time, but there was definitely something wrong. He was growing much more slowly than his brother, despite eating like a maniac, and he was so skinny. His belly was hollow. We took him to see our vet who informed us after an X-ray that he had a serious problem. He appeared to have part of his bowel wrapped around his heart.
Of course, by this time he had us completely wrapped around his little paw and there was no question that we’d do anything to keep him with us.
The coughing was caused by his poop moving through his intestine compressing his heart, lungs and windpipe. It was not a good prognosis. We immediately took him for an ultrasound with a specialist who told us he had a midline birth defect, his diaphragm had basically never joined. We had a sick little boy on our hands, but still no idea of the extent of the problem.
The vet wanted him to put on some weight before she could operate, so we had an agonising 4 week wait, worrying that every coughing fit would be his last, before he was finally 2.5 kg, and she felt she could do the operation. He was so tiny.
He came through the the operation with flying colours. His wonderful vet moved his small intestine, part of his large intestine, his gall bladder and part of his liver from the pericardial sac. With all the bits back where they belonged and no complications, we brought him home to recover, but sadly, our worst fear was realised when the coughing did not stop. Every coughing fit was recorded and reported to the vet, and we took him back again and again to figure out what was wrong. After yet another round of xrays and ultrasounds she discovered that the space left behind by his digestive tract had simply filled with fluid and was not draining, so back under the scalpel he went to have the sac around his heart cut open to allow the fluid to drain away.
Wearing his little UFO collar Loki cried and cried until we let him into the recovery crate Such a kind and caring brother!
Since that second operation, he has eaten everything in sight, pooped like it’s going out of style, and joined forces with the God of Mischief himself, Loki to completely destroy our house and enforce the New Cat Overlord Order on our older cats Cleo and Cloe. He’s a different cat, without losing an inch of his sassy personality or confident strut, and he still loves everyone he meets. Everyone! He no longer struggles to breathe, no longer needs to take a break during playtime to catch his breath. He’s as big as his brother now and still growing! He hurls himself off the furniture, landing with a cute little chirrip. Most importantly, not a single cough!
I have owned cats for most of my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever known a cat like Thor. He is most unique. Apparently black cats are much less likely to be adopted than their more colourful and patterned siblings, which is part of the reason I wanted to write this blog and tell his story. He is the luckiest little black cat, and we are the luckiest people to have him in our lives. If you’re ever in a position to adopt a rescue cat, consider adopting a black one! You won’t regret it.