So my girlfriend recently started trying to tame a stray kitten. She's been taming cats for years - she's in a very rural area and loves animals - so this wasn't particularly unusual.
She fed the kitten and after a day or two it allowed her to stroke it. At one point it sat on her which was very cute. :)
Today she messaged me in a panic saying she'd gone outside and found the kitten lying immobile on the welcome mat. At first she thought it was dead because it was so still, but she realised that it was paralysed. She brought it inside; she thought it might be the cold so she put in on a hot water bottle, but that didn't seem to help.
We then scoured the internet looking for some way to help it. She can't drive and didn't have access to a car so the vet wasn't an option, unfortunately - I have a feeling that this might have been the only way to save the kitten's life, which is very sobering.
The kitten seemed to be unable to move at all except for opening and closing its mouth, and its pupils dilating. It seemed to be trying to mew but no sound was coming out. Through my internet searches I thought it could be any one of a number of things: leukemia, anemia, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, dehydration or poisoning. She kept the kitten warm to cover hypothermia; she fed her milk to help with dehydration; she tried to comfort her with stroking and music as best she could. She didn't have any kitten formula in the house, or honey or corn cyrup, so it wasn't possible to feed her with anything that might have countered hypoglycemia.
She also tried to stroke the kitten's bowel area to help her poo or pee - one person online had a similar problem which was helped by this. But that didn't work either.
For this whole time the kitten seemed to be in pain (but difficult to tell since she couldn't mew). Her gums also seemed to be slightly paler than usual - maybe that's significant.
After 45 minutes of frantic messaging, the kitten died. It's worth noting that the kitten was so still and paralysed the whole way through this that my girlfriend's words were "I think she just died - but I'm not sure."
I know this must seem like I'm overreacting but I'd like to know if anyone has any ideas about why she died? And, more importantly, what a cat carer should do if this happens to them. This kitten is sadly beyond our care but if this happens again then I damn well want to know what the right course of action is.