Rescuer Helps Kitten Hildy, Named for Battle Women, Overcome Collapsed Lung

Australian kitten rescue student and mom Jessica Ruf shared the story of Hildy, who came up with atelectasis, and swimmer. So she was faced with a very difficult hand when she entered the world. However, she received a special name “Hildy”.

When Hildy arrived in late February, rescuers suspected the 3-week-old gray and white kitten had flat-chested kitten syndrome (FCKS), caused by a collapsed lung. When this happens, the kittens may experience chest collapse, shortness of breath, and problems like swimming syndrome.


Kittens can swim? What is that? Simply put, it means that the kitten crawls flat with its legs spread out to its sides. When crawling, they appear to be swimming across the carpet. In Hildy’s case, her hind legs were affected.


“When she was first cared for, she looked like a starfish,” says Ruf. Next, she will go to the vet for an X-ray, which will then confirm her suspicions. Rescue.

“Our lovely girl will need to be splinted every 3 days (when she grows up), put pressure on the ribcage, to create a positive air pressure effect, gradually re-pumping the lungs by pulling them open up instead of pushing them out,” writes Jessica. “This adorable baby also has splints on his forelegs and hind legs to correct for swimmer’s syndrome (split legs). She’ll need these constantly so her legs can adjust gradually.”


Due to the constant need for veterinary care, rescuers can only hope advocates will help cover an intensive care unit and regular vet checkups. To cover everything, the cost would be well over a thousand dollars. Even then, Hildy might not have survived.

Luckily, the tiny kitten survived the week and even started eating some wet food along with his formula. After that, a successful lottery raised enough to buy a special “Dehumidifier” to help Hildy recover.


Despite the uncertain prognosis, Hildy improved rapidly in early March. Now, her swimmer’s syndrome has greatly improved and she can move around without a bandage on her leg.

She will then see a specialist to monitor her progress.


As he grew up, Hildy became confident and always hungry, demanding breakfast. After meeting an expert in mid-March, Ruf shared a great update. Thanks to Humidicrib, she overcame all her problems when her lungs started to inflate again. With daily exercise on soft carpeted surfaces, they hope her feet will grow healthy.


Hildy has an appointment with a specialist. The specialist vet said Hildy’s collapsed lung had begun to inflate again even though her rib cage was still very abnormal. The vet says this is not a concern unless she starts coughing or has breathing problems. Her legs are also doing very well, and will continue to exercise daily.

Hildy’s expert said Humidicrib helped save her life. She was shocked and said that little Hildy is a miracle!


Thanks to Jessica Ruf and help from her supporters, Hildy has become more and more of a beauty. Taking care of foster cats is a full-time job, but she’s managed to do it while balancing the lives of a student and a mother.

“Jess, you are amazing!! An earth angel!! Thank you for everything you do for the animals.”


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