They say when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. That certainly seems to be the case with Wolfie. The 12-week-old kitten has an overbite that makes it look like he’s smiling all the time. One look at his big, goofy grin and it’s nearly impossible not to crack a smile yourself.
“I laugh constantly in sheer joy every time I see his face,” his foster mom, Jacqueline Santiago, told us.
You’d think that with such a happy smile on his face 24/7, Wolfie has had a charmed life of ease and comfort. But he’s faced many challenges.
When he was about 5 weeks old, Wolfie and two of his siblings were found all alone, cold and starving, in a parking lot in Los Angeles. Santiago, who is a co-founder of Friends for Life Rescue Network, came across the kittens — two boys and a girl — while at work and was able to trap them.
Unfortunately, Wolfie’s brother didn’t make it through the night. It soon became clear that something was terribly wrong with Wolfie, too. He weighed only 15 ounces, was constantly vomiting, had no appetite and had difficulty breathing.
“At first I thought perhaps there was something upper respiratory going on because after being syringe fed, he would start gasping for air,” Santiago said.
Nothing she did to help him seemed to work. Wolfie couldn’t even keep a few drops of water down. Santiago, who is very experienced in caring for malnourished kittens, feared the worst.
“I was certain he was dying,” she said.
After consulting with her veterinarian, Santiago brought Wolfie in for an X-ray.
“My vet felt it was less upper respiratory and more stomach/gastro-intestinal,” she said.
X-rays showed Wolfie had a growth in his esophagus that blocked food from getting down into his stomach.
“His entire esophagus was 100 percent blocked/impacted with food,” Santiago told us. “His stomach was empty. The sheer volume of food debris in his esophagus was pressing on his trachea, affecting his airways.”
Wolfie had to have an emergency procedure to remove all of the food that had gotten stuck, and he was put on a liquid-only diet. He was fed a milk replacement every 2 hours. Afterward, he had to be held upright for a couple minutes to make sure the formula reached his stomach.
The liquid diet is helping, but Wolfie’s fight is not over yet. He underwent surgery to determine if his issues are correctable. “The vet found that [Wolfie’s esophagus] constricts and rolls constantly even while under anesthesia,” Friends For Life shares on their website. “With this new discovery, it is recommended to maintain a liquid diet until treatment can be found.”
Despite his rough start, Wolfie continues to smile. He’s very energetic and is even a bit of troublemaker, running after the other cats in the household. You can see many of his antics on his Instagram page, @wolfie_smiles.
“He’s spunky, social, brave and completely fearless,” Santiago said. “He’s also very, very sweet.”
Santiago has decided to adopt Wolfie, and she’s determined to get him the help he needs to live a happy, healthy life. Wolfie started out all alone, but now he has a loving, devoted mom by his side. Now that’s something to smile about.
By: Stephanie Brown