When Jacqueline Santiago first saw a picture of Pinocchio, she could tell that there was something different about the boy.
The skinny kitten had big blue eyes and a crooked tooth, but she didn’t realize how special it was until she met it.
Pinocchio was born with a skull defect that made his face look distorted. Due to his misaligned jaw, he can only eat wet food. He also had a large umbilical hernia that required sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ. Fortunately, rescues often specialize in special needs cases because they have an in-house veterinarian.
When Santiago met the 4-month-old kitten, he seemed completely unaware that he was any different. “He was very, very sweet on the first meeting,” said Santiago. “He growled immediately.”
Pinocchio quickly befriends everyone and animals he meets, and couldn’t be more open. “Pinocchio is not the shy type,” said Santiago. “He was extremely confident and greeted everyone almost immediately.” She added: “He ran to whoever entered the room and climbed on their shoulder to park. “He rubs his friend, loves to play and jumps everywhere. He’s a really happy guy who loves everyone else, other cats and dogs.”
While in foster home care, Pinocchio began experiencing several medical problems and had to undergo corrective surgeries to correct his umbilical hernia and the position of his sternum.
The paramedics fell in love with him and made him a Superman cape to protect his stitches. On his next check in, they added a little red cape to match.
Pinocchio is recovering well but due to medical problems he may not be adopted until near adulthood. “During his treatment, we did not accept any applications or requests because we did not have enough information about his future needs,” Santiago said. “We know what his needs are now, but as he grows and changes, those things can change too.”
When Pinocchio is allowed to adopt, he will need a special family that will love him for who he is. The kitten’s twisted face gave him a twisted smile and Pinocchio didn’t stop laughing no matter what.