The Cowlitz Kittens are all adopted!!!

Bandit and Cleo from the Cowlitz Kittens

On June 2, 2018, Furry Friends took in 10 kittens from a hoarding situation in Cowlitz County. We were told they were all healthy but upon first glance that was obviously NOT the case. When they came in they were all examined by our vet tech Sandy Bush. There were several people on hand to help with this intake. Naomi Washburn and Heather deRenne assisting Sandy, Donna Hooker recording for the medical record, Linda Rader syringe feeding, Jennifer Hart bathing, Malinda and Julie Goldbeck holding and drying freshly bathed kittens. All of the kittens were in VERY bad shape, some lifeless and very near death. All had upper respiratory infections, were infested with fleas, and were emaciated (you could see their bones), some were also dehydrated had had to be given fluids.

But really, those were the easy things. The biggest challenge we discovered was …they all had ringworm! This meant all contact was with gloves and gowns over clothes for the next 5 months. Because they were so small, the smallest were only 12 and 15 ounces upon arrival, they could not have the ringworm medication. The only alternative was weekly, medicated baths and until all 10 of them tested negative for ringworm, all of them had to continue with weekly baths as they were all together in the same room. Here are the numbers: 10 kittens x 14 weeks is a total of 140 kitten baths. At first it was fairly easy as they were small and weak. But as they grew and gained strength it was much more challenging. None of them ever got used to it! None of them ever liked it.

Bandit and Chloe both saw an Ophthalmology specialist, as they were missing one eyeball each. When they were finally free of ringworm, had put on weight and were healthy, their eye sockets were cleaned and stitched permanently closed (Enucleation) to prevent infection and should need no further treatment.

The kittens were all together with our foster Dena Hugh. She took on the huge task of caring for 10 sick kittens all the while having to protect her personal cats and two other Furry Friends foster cats from spreading the ring worm and the URI. The Kitten Room and the bathroom where they received their baths became quarantine areas. No one was allowed in without gloves and gowns for 5 months. This room had no A/C and the summer of 2018 had many days with 100+ temperatures. Those gowns and gloves were not fun. Nothing left the room without being bleached to prevent spreading ringworm through the house.

Bean, the 2nd smallest upon arrival and still the smallest upon adoption, was the sickest. It took several rounds and several different kinds of antibiotics to clear up his upper respiratory infection. The prolonged illness took its toll on his nasal cavities, they are permanently damaged. He will need a mild steroid nasal drop from time to time for the rest of his life. When he first arrived, his eyes were also completely caked shut with eye goop. He didn’t appear to be able to see and for the first week, we thought he was blind. With eye medication, his eyes started clearing up and he could finally see. He will have permanent cloudiness in his eyes and his depth perception is a little off but otherwise his vision now seems fine.

Bumble came in with a weird green film over his eyes that the veterinarian wasn’t even sure about. Thankfully with the eye medication the green film completely went away and his eyes are now totally clear.

Sadly, after 6 months and after we all marveled at the fact that all ten kittens survived and were almost ready for adoption, Bash got sick. He ate very little and started losing weight quickly. He seemed to improve with medication but started losing weight again as soon as the medicine was complete. It was found that he had an incurable disease. The only thing we could do was prolong his life for a couple weeks but we couldn’t cure him. The quality of his life, if extended a couple weeks, likely wouldn’t have been very good so we made the decision to humanely euthanize. He was purring in Dena’s arms when he passed.

Because of the ringworm and their quarantine, Dena, Sandy (vet tech), and the vets were the only ones the kittens saw for almost 5 months. This meant other people seemed very scary to them. Once they were given the all clear by the vet, the task of introducing them to strangers began. Visitors came over to play with them. They went on the big adventure of cat adoption events at PetSmart, and one of the local news channels even came to visit them!

  • Bean was the first of the group to be adopted into his forever home, Dec 2018.
  • Brandy and Chloe were adopted together Dec 2018.
  • Bumble and Charlie were adopted together Jan 2019.
  • Chester and Cosmo were adopted together Jan 2019.
  • Bandit and Cleo just went to their new home Feb 16, 2019.

Furry Friends incurred approximately $15,000 caring for the Cowlitz Kittens from June 2 to our last kittens that were adopted Feb 16, 2019. Many medications, many vet visits and exams, vet specialists, tests and retests, and surgeries. This was a labor of love for everyone involved. We owe a huge thank you to Dena, she put her life on hold for 6 months caring for these fur babies. It takes committed volunteers like Dena and our vet tech Sandy Bush to do the hands on daily care, but your continued monetary support makes it possible for us to even consider taking on the responsibility of 10 kittens from a hoarding situation and all the unexpected costs that will go with that.

If you want to help us continue to take difficult health cases please donate with a check or with Paypal through our website Thank you for your generosity. We could not have saved these babies without your support.

About Furry Friends

Who we are

Founded in 1999, Furry Friends is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, no-kill organization that rescues and adopts out homeless, relinquished, and abused cats in Clark County, Washington. We care for them as long as it takes to find their forever home. We are an all-volunteer organization; there is no paid staff.

What we do

We rescue, care for and rehome approximately 150 to 200 cats annually by providing medical exams, medications, spay/neuter, food, and litter. We have adoption events

at PetSmart Hazel Dell where we have an Adoption Center. There are adoption events at other locations throughout the year.

Mailing Address: 6715 NE 63rd Street, Suite 450, Vancouver, WA 98661

(360) 993-1097 –

Our shelter can be visited by appointment only. You can see all of our available cats on PetFinder

Posted in Adoption Stories.

Diane Stevens