The story revolves around a kitten named Smush, whom Lindsey Hidenrite, the cat coordinator for Helping Hands Pet Rescue in Gainesville, Florida, rescued last summer. Smush appeared to be weak and sickly when Hidenrite came across her, and she wouldn’t have described her as “feisty” at that time. However, being a veterinary student at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Hidenrite often rescues stray animals with severe health issues, including Smush. Someone discovered the kitten outside and brought her to Hidenrite when she was only ten days old and almost on the brink of death. Now, Smush requires a loving home that can appreciate her squished face and understand her sassy personality.
After stumbling upon Smush, it was clear that something was very wrong with her health. This little dog had a cleft lip and some physical abnormalities, in addition to suffering from both a respiratory infection and an intense case of ringworm. Unfortunately, her poor condition left her unable to eat on her own. Thankfully, Hidenrite made the decision to step in and help by feeding her through a syringe every four hours. On top of that, she also worked to ensure that Smush received the proper antibiotics and medicated baths to promote healing.
According to Hidenrite, a veterinarian, Smush was born with a cleft lip and wide-set eyes, which are typical reasons for cats to be abandoned. Hidenrite has come across similar instances where mother cats realize that they cannot look after their sickly kittens and thus abandon them to concentrate on caring for their healthy ones. Luckily, Smush was fortunate to find a guardian in Laura Braden, who doted on her and provided her with the necessary care. Smush required medicated baths three times a week and started to eat independently soon after. Despite her disabilities, she blossomed under Braden’s watchful eye.
Smush became more self-reliant and courageous after she learned to feed herself, which improved her physical and mental resilience. Despite Braden’s efforts to restrict her movements, Smush proved to be quite a handful as she recovered from ringworm. When animals lose their parents and siblings at a young age, they may miss out on important social skills that are typically learned during the first few months of life. For example, a kitten raised by its mother would learn to modify its play behavior if it bites too hard. Without these essential abilities, there may be a misunderstanding between playtime and hunting behavior.
Braden, an experienced caregiver for kittens, was affectionately nibbled on by Smush. Knowing the ins and outs of kitten care, Braden understood that Smush needed a permanent home with a family that valued her distinct qualities and character. Braden emphasized that Smush needed a family that adored her cute squished face and understood her playful nature.
Laura Braden and Lindsey Hidenrite played a vital role in rescuing Smush, and they recently reunited with her in her new permanent home. Shannon Jackson and her spouse, Sarah Jenne, stumbled upon Smush’s image on Hidenrite’s Facebook page, but they never talked about adopting her. Jenne was still grieving the loss of her beloved cat, Poot. However, whenever asked about special occasions such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, Jenne always wished for a kitten.
When Shannon Jackson worked on photographing adoptable animals for Helping Hands Pet Rescue, she met Hidenrite. It was during this time that Jackson saw firsthand Hidenrite’s kindness towards those who require help, especially towards Raisin, a special cat who gained fame through The Dodo.
Let’s come together and commemorate the day when Shannon and Sarah officially became our moms through adoption! We’re excited to share this special occasion with everyone.
Jackson contacted Lindsey to see if Smush was available as he wanted to give it to Sarah as a birthday present. Hidenrite agreed, but cautioned them that Smush was an energetic cat and suggested that they take Smush home for a trial week to determine if it would suit their needs.
Smush loves her siblings, including a greyhound named Candy who was rescued. According to Shannon Jackson, Candy and Smush had an instant connection, but it took some time for Smush to warm up to her owners. Jackson recalls that Smush growled for about 24 hours before finally emerging from her carrier, but once she did, her wonderful personality shone through. Today, Smush has found her forever home with her moms, three cat siblings, three dog siblings, and a lovable hedgehog named Homer. Smush is the first feline that Jackson and her partner have adopted together and they both agree that Smush is the perfect addition to their family.
Over the past few weeks, Smush has been occupied with various Christmas activities. Playing around with decorations, swatting at balls hanging from the tree, lounging on the tree skirt, and daydreaming about tearing apart gift wrap has kept Smush entertained.
As per Shannon Jackson, the mother of Smush, the cat has been less aggressive and more content lately. Smush received a heartwarming surprise visit from her saviors, Braden and Hidenrite, just in time for Christmas. Shannon believes that Smush’s resilience and determination have played a vital role in her recovery from the traumatic incident.