Smiley was rescued as a kitten after being found in a storm drain.
She was taken to a rescue group called Whisker Town Cats in Florida, USA, where it was discovered that not only did she have an obvious cleft upper lip, but a jaw that was fused together too.
This meant that she couldn’t open her jaw at all, and could only stick her tongue out to eat.
It was fortunate that she did have a cleft upper lip, because otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to stick her tongue out to eat at all.
A special foster
Smiley was taken to the foster home of one of the volunteer’s from Whisker Town Cats, Kathleen.
Kathleen didn’t usually foster very often because she had three young children, and two cats of her own, but Smiley was a special case.
“The first day we got her I just held her on the couch and I just cried. Like there was so much wrong with her.”Kathleen
The main problem was that she had to eat almost like a lizard, by dipping her tongue in food and bringing it back into her mouth.
Her food had to be mushed up and wet in order for her to take any nutrition in.
According to Kathleen, the surgery for her jaw was going to be around $6,000, too much for a small rescue like Whisker Town Cats to afford.
So Kathleen took to the internet for help.
Kathleen and Whisker Town Cats set up a GoFundMe for Smiley’s surgery, hoping they would get some help affording the cost.
They didn’t expect such a huge outpouring of support for little Smiley and were thrilled when they could finally book her surgery!
“It was really amazing because it was people all over the world [who] were contributing money to this kitten in Florida that they’d never met and they were just happy to help.”Kathleen
The surgery was a great success, and soon Smiley was able to open her mouth to yawn, meow, and was able to eat properly and groom herself for the first time in her life.
And her newfound health was already showing a month later.
She had gone from under two pounds (0.9kg) to six and half pounds (2.9kg) in the space of a month after her surgery!
And more good news was to be had, as Kathleen decided to officially adopt little Smiley, adding her to her family forever.