Lindsey Hidenrite, cat coordinator for Helping Hands Pet Rescue in Gainesville, Florida is a truly amazing woman.
The veterinary student studying at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, is no stranger to hearing about stray cats in the area and usually takes in the fur babies suffering from severe health issues.
This is Smush, who arrived at the rescue when she was about 10 days old after being found outside and close to death.
Smush arrived at the rescue with a cleft lip and facial deformities and was suffering from an upper respiratory infection and a severe case of ringworm.
The poor kitten was so poorly and couldn’t eat a thing so Lindsey syringe-fed her every four hours while treating her with antibiotics and frequent medicated baths. They really helped save her life.
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Smush’s cleft lip and wide-set eyes are said to be congenital deformities, Lindsey explained:
“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”
It’s can be the case that sometimes mother cats will reject unhealthy kittens if they sense that their baby may not survive, this diverts their attention to the other kittens in a litter.
Lindsey made a huge difference to Smush’s life. Soon after being in their care Smush was able to eat on her own.
Laura Braden fostered Smush who continued giving her medicated baths three times a week.
Smush, regaining her strength day by day became braver and started earning her feisty reputation. Smush? Feisty?
Laura said: “She was a handful from day one!”
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“She climbed over every barrier I put up, so I caved in and gave her an entire room.”
It’s said that when animals are very young, they can miss out on learning crucial social skills from their parents and siblings.
If a kitten bites too hard when playing then the mother will correct them. It’s simply because the kitten doesn’t know the difference between play and prey.
Laura was the recipient of Smush’s love bites and began to understand that Smush needed a forever family with people that would be able to deal with the feisty side.
“She needed to go to a home that loved her smushy face and understood her feistiness”
Shannon Jackson and her wife, Sarah Jenne, saw an ad about Smush on Lindsey’s personal Facebook page but they never discussed adopting her.
Sarah at the time was still grieving the recent loss of her beloved cat, Poot.
Shannon explained that Sarah always responded with the words “a kitten” when asked what she wanted for Christmas, Valentine’s Day…
Shannon started to photograph animals available for adoption through Helping Hands Pet Rescue and became close to Hidenrite.
She admired Lindsey’s need to help the stray, abandoned babies.
“It was love at first sight”
“Smush growled at Sarah and I for probably 24 hours until she would even come out of her little carrier.”
Smush is so happy in her new home with her three cat siblings, three dog siblings and a hedgehog named Homer.