Smush was a kitten rescued a summer ago.
Lindsey Hidenrite, a cat coordinator at Helping Hands Pet Rescue in Gainesville, Florida, rescued Smush. Hidenrite is a veterinary student at the University of Florida College of Medicine, leading her to be called on often to care for stray animals in need.
Smush had been found outside at ten days old, very close to death. He had a cleft lip, facial deformities, a respiratory infection, and ringworm.
Since Smush was unable to eat, Hidenrite fed her with a syringe every four hours. She also provided Smush with necessary antibiotics and medicated baths.
Hidenrite explained to the Dodo that Smush’s facial features are considered congenital deformities. “I’ve seen a few instances where kittens with deformities are found abandoned as if their mother knew she would be unable to take care of them,” she said.
In some cases, mother cats will reject their unhealthy kittens, knowing there is a chance they will not survive. The greater need of the litter is what the mother holds important.
Thanks to Hidenrite’s care, Smush was able to survive and thrive. She even was able to eat by herself.
Once able to handle her own, Smush was brought to a foster mom, Laura Braden. Braden gave Smush medicated baths three times each week to help continue her healing process.
With every passing day, Smush developed a reputation for herself – she was one feisty kitty. “She was a handful from day one!” Braden said. Braden tried to keep Smush confined to a space because of her ringworm. “She climbed over every barrier I put up, so I caved in and gave her an entire room.”
Usually, kittens learn valuable skills from their mothers and siblings. When separated at such a young age, a kitten misses out on learning about things such as how hard to bite in play, rather than hunting.
Braden, an experienced foster mom, was prepared to handle Smush’s bites.
“She needed to go to a home that loved her smushy face and understood her feistiness,” Braden said.
Shannon Jackson and her wife, Sarah Jenne, noticed Smush on Hidenrite’s Facebook. Jenne had been grieving the loss of her kitty, Poot. When Jackson would ask Jenne what she wanted for each holiday, Jenne would say “a kitten”.
Jackson and Hidenrite became friends while taking photos of animals up for adoption at Helping Hands Pet Rescue. Jackson loved how caring Hidenrite was for the helpless animals in need.
“Sarah’s birthday was coming up, so I messaged Lindsey to see if Smush was still available,” Jackson said.
Once Hidenrite told Jackson that Smush was still available for adoption, she also let her know that Smush could be a little feisty!
The couple took home Smush for a week to feel things out…and the rest was history.
“It was love at first sight,” Jackson said, adding, “Smush growled at Sarah and I for probably 24 hours until she would even come out of her little carrier.”
Once Smush came out, her personality shined.
Smush now had a forever home with three kitty siblings, three dog siblings, AND a hedgehog sibling named Homer! Smush was the first kitten adopted by the couple together – and it was a match made in heaven.
Since being in her new home, Smush has been more of a lover than a biter. Her rescuers, Braden and Hidenrite, came to visit right before the holidays. Everyone was glad to see Smush’s tough spirit pulling her through her hard times.
Follow Smush’s life on Instagram!
Source: The Dodo