Kitten Born with Special Needs Gets Help in the Nick of Time

Posted in Cat Stories - On: June 21, 2023 - Author:  Jan Travell
Posted in Cat Stories 
Last Updated: June 21, 2023  
Author:  Jan Travell

Rachel Lienemann is the director of Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and she was contacted about a special needs kitten that had been born to a stray cat at a shelter.

Sadly his sibling didn’t make it, but he was hanging in there, fighting to live.


“We take in special needs animals throughout Texas. We focus on the underdog,” Rachel told Love Meow. “He has a cleft in the front of his hard palate, a unilateral cleft lip, and he was born without a functional nose and is most likely missing his right eye.”


Rachel knew she had to act quickly, so she started tube-feeding him every hour around the clock. They decided to name him Voldemort or Voldy, he was determined to live and with the help of Rachel put on 0.7 ounces overnight.

Rachel added: “I kept telling myself, ‘if he lives through the first 24 hours, I will be more hopeful,’ then it became if he lives to be a week old, I’m sure he will make it.”


Little Voldy was showing all the signs of a bubbly newborn, he moved around his bedding and meowed whenever he wanted food.


“He is sassy. If I am even a couple minutes late to feed him at night he will let me know. He absolutely loves belly rubs, the fact that he is gaining weight and active shows us that he is a fighter. He wants to live, too.”


“Every day has been a milestone,” she said. “He wants everyone to know that he is not going anywhere.”


Veterinarians are now exploring options that will help him breathe easier as at the moment he is breathing through his cleft lip but with his mouth closed. But the future looks good as they believe they can help him.


“Cleft palate babies should never be allowed to nurse or be bottle fed as they will aspirate and die quickly. Tube-feeding is the only way to save them. Not many people know how or are comfortable tube feeding, which is one of the reasons we started getting these cleft palate babies,” Rachel told Love Meow. “There is a huge lack of awareness that they can thrive with the right TLC. They need to be in the hands of an experienced rescuer and they too, can thrive.”


A week down the line and little Voldy is doing well, getting stronger every day. He is lucky to be in such good hands that will do all they can to improve his quality of life. A big thank you to Rachel and her dedicated team.

Watch his journey here:

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About the author

Jan Travell is a lifelong cat owner and a feline expert. She's been the Cats and Kittens lead editor from the start. She lives in rural France with her two rescue cats, Tigerlily and Mr.Gee. Her senior kitty, Ducati, passed over the rainbow bridge recently at the ripe old age of 22.

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