This will be the story of my cat, Luna.
She was apparently found the side of a backroad. A man pulled over to answer the call of nature and she came wandering out from under the shell of a old burnt out car. That particular gentleman didn’t really like cats, but instead of leaving the little adventurer behind, he took her to the local animal shelter, the Mareeba Animal Refuge.
This is where I first saw her. I would visit the shelter from time to time to play with the cats. I saw her, in a cage, with what looked like nasty eye infections. She looked so small, like she couldn’t be more than 6 weeks old at that stage. The shelter has to make really tough calls when it comes to expensive/arduous treatments for animals that are really unwell. But she was too adorable, so they committed to her treatment.
It wasn’t long after that, that I returned for more kitty time. Luna (called Layla by the shelter), was doing well. Her infections had cleared up, though she still seemed a little sniffly. She climbed up onto my shoulder and snuggled in, and I was hooked. I adopted her.
I noticed that she continued to sneeze a lot. Especially when eating and drinking. I took her to a vet in town and he was initially a little stumped. That was until he opened her mouth and spotted a small hole in her hard palate. My baby had a cleft palate and this was the issue.
Since then, it has been trial and error in regards to her food and drink. If she drinks from a fountain, or slowly running tap, she seems to be able to get some hydration without it pouring out her nose. Drinking out of a bowl is a total waste of time. Small-sized cat kibble goes down okay, but large kibble requires too much chewing and the small fragments go into her nose. Small pieces of diced meat or fish are good as well. She chews a little, then swallows them whole. Minced meat is a no-go though. “Temptations” cat treats seem to be okay as well (she loves them!).
I’ve looked into surgical correction of the cleft. It is expensive, and there are no guarantees that it will work. While she is healthy, not losing weight, and not having infections, we will wait and see. If her health becomes compromised, then I will not hesitate to consult the specialist vet surgeon again.
She remains a small cat, with a big personality. She loves cuddles, treats, and leaving white fur on everything.