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Help Us Save a Precious Life

Precious the kitten was born at our centre with a rare chest deformity.

Now she needs an urgent operation to save her life.


On 4th September a young cat called Poppy was brought into our rescue centre in Devon. Poppy’s owners had given her up after they discovered she was pregnant. On the 16th September Poppy gave birth to three beautiful kittens called Precious, Penelope and Polly.

The first couple of weeks went by and Poppy and her family appeared to be thriving. She was a fantastic mum and the kittens were doing well. Nobody could have expected what staff would notice when the kittens were just three weeks old.

It became clear that there was a difference between Precious and her two sisters. Precious’ breathing was rapid and so we treated her for an infection. Although she seemed fine in herself, Precious didn’t have the stamina of her sisters and we made the decision to x-ray to see if the problem could be diagnosed.

Precious was diagnosed with Pectus excavatum, a deformity which is a congenital defect.  Pectus Excavatum is a Latin phrase that literally means ‘sunken chest’ or ‘hollow chest’.  The condition occurs when the central chest bone, the sternum, and ribs grow in an unnatural way, creating a significant indentation in the kitten’s chest. The indentation caused by this deformity can lead to a host of health issues, including weight loss and bodily weakness. Lung diseases, including pneumonia, as well as difficulty breathing also are common symptoms. Since the indentation severely limits the amount of space available in the cat’s chest cavity, their heart also may have trouble maintaining regular circulation.

Without treatment, the future looks incredibly bleak for poor little Precious. Many cats with the condition succumb to right side heart failure before their first birthday. The only option for Precious is a life-saving operation. 

Precious will visit Eastcott Veterinary Clinic in Swindon who have performed this type of surgery in the past. Tim Charlesworth, one of the vets that will be caring for Precious, explains how the procedure works: “Her operation will involve placing a splint and anchoring sutures from the sternum to the splint to apply traction thereby correcting the deformity. We have had to wait until Precious is 10 weeks old as operating before this time would involve too much risk.” 

Surgery is the only option but sadly it is not without risk. If all goes well, after a few weeks the splint will be removed leaving Precious with a normal sized chest. Her heart and lungs will have the space that they need to function and Precious will be able to play and keep up with other kittens without getting so tired out.

Our promise to Precious is that we will do absolutely everything in our power to save her life. But we need your help. 

Precious’ operation will cost in the region of £800 but Precious’ veterinary care will total more than £1,000 overall. Please help us save this Precious life by making a donation today.

Any amount, however small or large, will make a huge difference to this tiny kitten.

Precious rest time with sisters

Thank you 

Any donations received over our target will go towards the care of the other animals at our rescue centre in Devon. Thank you for supporting us.