When Lisa Ancarrow-Maltby and her husband Brian were walking their pugs near their home in Richmond, Virginia, in fall 2017, the couple encountered a very special young cat. “She came running down to meet us as we were talking to our neighbor Tyler,” remembers Lisa. “I saw that smushed-in face and instantly fell in love!”
Tyler, a vet tech at the animal hospital where Lisa and Brian have taken their pets for the past 16 years, explained that the cat — whom she had named Smushie — showed up at her home one day, and she had been feeding her ever since. After meeting the young cat with the unique face that fall, Lisa began feeding Smushie as well, and she was often greeted by the friendly feline when she arrived home from work.
On one particularly cold night in early January 2018, Smushie waited on Lisa’s front porch while she went inside to get her some food. “She approached our glass door, sat down, put her paw on the glass, and started crying,” says Lisa. With two inches of snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing, Lisa couldn’t bear the thought of allowing Smushie to spend the night outside, so she and her husband decided to give the young cat a warm place to stay for the night.
“We set up a bed, food, and litter box and put her in the kitchen for the night,” explains Lisa. “She did wonderfully all night long.” The following morning, Lisa and Brian, concerned about exposing their 12-year-old kitty Battle Cat Jack to a potentially sick cat, called their vet’s office to make an appointment for Smushie.
“Tyler answered and was thrilled that she was warm and safe,” says Lisa. “She told us that she had already taken Smushie to the vet weeks before and had her up to date on all of her shots and she was healthy. Smushie just needed forever home.”
While the couple hadn’t been looking to adopt another pet, they readily agreed to give Smushie the home she needed and deserved. “She was a baby in need of care and we were determined to provide it,” says Lisa. However, due to Smushie’s unique appearance, Lisa and her husband weren’t sure if the adorable young cat would need any sort of special accommodations, so they took her to their vet for an examination.
The couple learned that Smushie was around a year old, so she was most likely born in late 2016 or early 2017, and she probably had chromosomal abnormalities. “Her facial features are most likely due to inbreeding,” explains Lisa. “I asked what special care did I need to give her and they said she will be fine.”
Lisa and Brian officially adopted Smushie in January 2018, and over the last few months, she’s settled in well with her new family. “Smushie loves to be around her pug sister Reba and comes running whenever you shake the treat bag!” says Lisa.
When Smushie isn’t spending time with her favorite canine companion, this beautiful young cat enjoys sunbathing, playing with her sushi and doughnut toys, and posing for pictures.
However, due to Smushie’s unique facial structure, she does have some respiratory issues. “Sometimes she has trouble breathing if she gets too hot or excited,” explains Lisa. “Since she is still so young, she loves to play and is constantly running around the house like a crazy cat — the zoomies!” Thankfully, Smushie’s breathing problems are relatively minor, but Lisa and Brian are keeping a close eye on her just in case they become a more significant issue.
Aside from occasionally getting out of breath, Smushie is a healthy cat who doesn’t let anything stop her from having a happy and active life. While Smushie doesn’t look like every other feline, her parents are convinced her unique appearance is just part of her charm. “Smushie’s imperfections make her who she is,” says Lisa.
Without a doubt, Smushie is a one of a kind kitty who has shown Lisa and her husband Brian how rewarding it can be to adopt a cat with special needs. “She is our first special needs animal and she won’t be the last,” says Lisa. “They all deserve a chance for a loving home; you could be perfect for them and they for you.”
Smushie is indeed perfect for Lisa and Brian, and this sweet young cat — who cried at the couple’s front door to be let inside — couldn’t ask for a happier or more loving home. “She’s so precious to us and we are so thankful that she chose to join this family,” says Lisa. “We just love her so much.”
To learn more about this adorable cat, you can follow Smushie on Instagram.