When we saw Celine, a tiny tabby and white cat with dwarfism, on Instagram, we had to learn more about her! We reached out to her mom Paige, the president of Isle of Misfits — a farm sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, that is dedicated to caring for animals with special needs — and she told us all about Celine. Paige not only shared how Celine’s big voice helped save her life and find her a forever home, but she also explained why caring for a “perma-kitten” can be a lot more challenging than people often assume.
Paige told us how Celine’s other medical issues helped the two of them form an unbreakable bond, which led her to give this little girl a forever home at Isle of Misfits Farm Sanctuary. We also learned about Celine’s life as an adventure cat, and why her mom thinks she’s more like a dog than a typical cat. We really enjoyed hearing Celine’s incredible rescue and adoption stories, and we hope you like learning about her just as much as we did!
Meow As Fluff: How did you end up meeting Celine?
Paige: I was contacted via Instagram by the woman that found Celine. The lady had been walking her dog at night and heard a kitten crying. She followed the sound and thought she would find a full-sized kitten because of how loud the cries were. She was shocked to find tiny Celine stuck in the bottom of a chain link fence!
I picked Celine up from her the very next morning. She only weighed 4.5 ounces (kittens weigh around 2.5 to 3.5 the day they’re born) so I initially thought she was a neonate! Imagine my surprise when I went to syringe feed her and found that she already had teeth! I knew then something was “different” about this little girl.
MAF: Can you tell me the story behind her name?
P: Celine is named after the singer, Celine Dion, because her powerful voice is what saved her. Despite weighing less than five ounces, her cries for help were strong enough and loud enough to alert a Good Samaritan that she needed help. If my tiny girl hadn’t had such powerful lungs, she may not have been found at all!
MAF: Could you please tell us a bit about why Celine is so tiny?
P: Celine has pituitary dwarfism. That means that when she was developing, her pituitary gland didn’t release enough growth hormone. Her growth was stunted, so she will always be very small. She is essentially a “perma-kitten.” She was also full of hookworms when I found her, so I’m sure that factored into her stunted growth as well.
MAF: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about dwarf cats like Celine?
P: I think the idea of a “permanent kitten” sounds cute to most people, but the reality is that dwarfism can often come with other health complications. Kittens with dwarfism can have heart, lung, and neurological issues as well. I am happy to report that, so far, Celine has remained extremely healthy, however that is not always the case for every dwarf cat.
MAF: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a result of Celine having dwarfism?
P: The worst part was probably not knowing if Celine would make it when she was very young. She was so tiny and fragile that I was almost afraid to get too attached to her. She had an episode of low blood sugar about a week after I got her, and I had to rush her to the emergency vet to get her stabilized. That was very scary, and I was so afraid I was going to lose her. She’s a fighter though, and she pulled through.
MAF: What made you decide to adopt Celine?
P: Since she was so fragile in the beginning, Celine went everywhere with me. For the first six weeks, she was eating every few hours, and I brought her everywhere in a tiny carrier. She came to work with me every day and slept in an incubator by my bed every night. We bonded through all of that, and I knew very quickly there was no way I could part with her.
MAF: What do you wish more people knew about special cats, particularly cats with dwarfism?
P: I have 11 cats on my farm, and ten of them, including Celine, have some sort of complex medical need. I wish people understood how amazing and resilient these cats are. It still amazes me that Celine fought and pulled through despite being smaller than a hamster! Her will to live is unmatched, and all of my special kitties inspire me every day.
MAF: What are some of Celine’s favorite activities?
P: Celine takes after me and loves to eat! She is incredibly food motivated and loves to learn new tricks as long as I’m feeding her plenty of treats! She’s so smart! She’s more like a dog in that she loves to go on leashed walks and road trips with me. Sometimes I’m not sure she knows she’s a cat!
MAF: What does she mean to you?
P: Everything. She is my best friend and my constant companion. I am so blessed to be able to care for her.
To learn more about this adorable cat, you can follow Celine on Instagram.