BY TRACY FASCIANA, Abayomi Abyssinians

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This article shows photographs of a week old, female Abyssinian kitten who earned the nickname of "Stitch".

This is her story . . .

My Aby female, Nialah, gave birth to a litter of four kittens. She is an experienced and wonderful mother — and the babies were doing beautifully.

One little baby did have a bit of a rough start as she didn't nurse much for the first three days. She wasn't gaining weight so I started her on a drop of Clavamox and tube fed her for 2 1/2 days. Finally she got the idea and began latching on and nursing well on her own! I thought she was out of the woods . . .

Then, on the seventh day after her birth, I was shocked to discover she had sliced open the skin on her shoulder! 

I still am not sure how it happened.

Perhaps she caught it on the edge of the Rubber-maid plastic box that I use as a nesting box. If the kitten crawled out of the box, it was possible that if her mom was pulling her back in she could have caught the skin of the baby's shoulder on the underside edge of the Rubber-maid container, tearing it in a "V" shape. It is the only thing I can think of how it might have happened.

I immediately took the kitten to my fantastic veterinarian who performed "micro-surgery", stitching up the tear beautifully.

Now that the kitten ( nick-named Stitch) had her wound sewn closed, the challenge was how to protect the injury from being accidentally torn open.

As one of an active litter of nursing kittens, it would be easy for another kitten to scrape the stitches open with needle-sharp nails as they push in competition to reach a nipple.

Even the motherly instinct of the mom-cat might start her licking or pulling at the stitches in the misguided attempt to keep the kitten clean and spotless. These distinct possibilities meant we needed to place a covering over the stitches to allow the tear to heal safely.

Thinking about what might work, I cut the ribbed top off my son's small sock and made a make-shift turtle-neck "sweater" for the kitten. Isn't it cute?

Cute? Yes. Effective? No. The sock didn't work to protect it as her claws were getting caught in it as well as those of her siblings... and her leg kept popping out! Within hours, the stitches had been ripped open and we had to return to the veterinarian's to be re-stitched for the second time that day.

Take Two

Clearly the sock didn't work ... so this time we fashioned a little jacket using Vet Wrap.

See the article titled Vet Wrap for more information about this handy self-adhering, stretchy bandage. I fashioned a coat of vet wrap which has worked REALLY WELL!

Baby Stitch snuggled right back in with her littermates as if nothing amiss had ever happened to her.

Baby kittens grow fast! As Stitch got bigger, I added a longer sleeve to her Vet Wrap jacket to make sure her cut remained protected. There are a few extra pieces of tape as the area that protects around the shoulder. They had to be repaired a few times. Baby Stitch didn't seem to mind wearing her feline fashion and her mom didn't care either!

Close up of the stitches 6 days after having the wound stitched closed.
Thirteen days after the injury, the stitches have been removed and the cut is healing nicely.
A few more days and a small scar is all that is left as evidence of Stitch's early mishap.

3 weeks post-injury, you can barely tell that one month old Stitch ever had an injury at all!

Below is a photo of Stitch just before she left to be in her new home.
Despite the unusual excitement of her first week of life, Stitch has turned out purr-fectly :-)

Abayomi Stitch, an Abyssinian Kitten

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