Miniature Kitten with a Big Personality

Shetland (aka BooBoo) was born in a horse barn along with her two sisters.  While her siblings, Clydesdale and Appaloosa, grew quickly, Shetland remained tiny. She was half their size. At eight-weeks-old, Shetland was not even a full pound. 

We brought her to Dr. Culver in Helena where Shetland was diagnosed with a severe heart defect. Essentially, she has a sizable hole in her heart. There is no treatment and, because of the severity of the defect, she is at great risk for developing congestive heart failure. Dr. Culver’s prognosis was devastating.  Shetland is likely to live only about one year. Perhaps less. 

It seemed an impossible situation. We could not in good faith adopt her out because little Shetland may not live long enough to even get adjusted to a new home. We could not put her in a boarding facility because she needed care and she needed a low-stress environment.  Normally, our volunteer fosters open their homes temporarily, knowing that the foster kitties will eventually be adopted. What we needed was foster hospice care. Thankfully, Pam, one of our deeply devoted volunteers, welcomed Shetland into her home, providing the “fospice” care that this little one needs.

When Pam first brought her home, she expected Shetland to be meek, shy, maybe frail. Perhaps it would take a long time to earn her trust, to bond with her. Much to Pam’s surprise, Shetland, who was quickly and affectionately renamed BooBoo, bonded to her almost immediately, looking up at her with large, trusting eyes. And, what’s more, BooBoo soon started acting much like any other kitten. She plays with cat toys, she runs up and down the stairs, she gobbles up the wet cat food, she climbs up onto the dining room table to sneak a lick of cream cheese from Pam’s bagel. As small as she is, she even figured out how to climb up the cat tree and go out into the catio to watch the birds and squirrels. And slowly but surely, she has grown these past few months.  Shetland has become a very enthusiastic eater and we were happy to learn that she now weighs four pounds.

For such a miniature kitten, her personality is larger than life. We don’t know how much longer BooBoo will remain with us, but while she is here, we can give her the best life possible. She has shown us how sustaining love can be. Thanks to her foster mom, Shetland gets to have the life she deserves. And, in the process, this tiny little kitten has captured Pam’s heart.

Sadly, on November 17, 2023, BooBoo was helped to pass over the Rainbow Bridge in Pam’s arms. The little sweetie had been struggling all week due to her heart problems. It didn’t matter that Pam knew Shetland’s life would be short. This was devastating for Pam. We thank this dedicated volunteer for her willingness to give Shetland a sweet life during her remaining days, knowing that Pam would shower BooBoo with all her love and then suffer the pain of loss when the kitten’s time with us would end. Pam’s dedication to her “BooBoo Baby” was a beautiful gift.

Without our foster homes, we would not able to rescue as many cats as we have this year. We do not have a shelter facility. It is thanks to our volunteer foster parents, those generous souls who open their homes to these cats and kittens that are waiting to be adopted, that we can continue to care for the many homeless felines in our community. It is through patience and understanding that our foster parents help the cats in our care thrive during this transitional period in their lives. By providing a safe and loving environment, a foster home can make all the difference for our kitties. Of course, it is a commitment that requires work and dedication, but it is undoubtably worth it when you see them finally find their new family.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer foster parent, please do not hesitate to get involved.

Pam’s son Andrew wrote this beautiful poem about BooBoo for Pam:

The doctor said that something was wrong;
There was a hole in your heart,
And you wouldn’t have long.

But, to me, you were perfect in every way;
There was nothing wrong,
No matter how brief your stay.

And now, I miss every single thing you would do;
Even when you were naughty,
You were my perfect little BooBoo.

I couldn’t help but just sit and laugh
When you jumped on the table
And knocked over my glass.

I didn’t even mind when you took the food off my plate;
Because I knew you must be hungry,
Even though you just ate.

You bit me on my hand, but it was all right;
I knew you were just giving me
A tiny, little love bite.

And although you weren’t supposed to, I guess it was okay,
You chased all the other cats through the house,
Only because you wanted to play.

Your purr was so sweet, but your growl was sweet too—
Sure, you may have been mad,
But still I just smiled at you.

I didn’t mind at all that you were constantly under my feet,
Because at night you would sleep on my chest,
And I could feel your perfect little heartbeat.

It was adorable, every single thing that you did;
It took only a moment to love you,
As if you were my very own kid.

And now that you’re not here, and we are apart,
Maybe I wouldn’t be having such a hard time—

If your sweet and perfect little heart
Hadn’t so sweetly and so perfectly stolen mine.



A few more pictures from the short but sweet life of Shetland, aka BooBoo:

Pam’s son Andrew enjoying a tender moment with BooBoo.

Kittens can be so “helpful” when you have reports to read!

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