Save Penny’s Esophagus

Thank you for coming here to read Pennys story. I rescued Penny from the side of a mountain where I work when she was about 8 weeks old. She was too scared to come near people, but after observing her for a week, and seeing she was in fact all alone with no mama or siblings in sight, I set up a trap and within hours, I had her. After taking her to the vet I got a routine clear bill of health and initial vaccines. She has a special left eye but the vet assured me that it’s just a birth defect and it appears to be fine and something she can live happily with.
I had a co worker who was ready to give her a loving home and after a little socialization over the next couple weeks, I sent her on her way.

My coworker started messaging me almost daily after that over the next couple weeks saying she wasn’t keeping down food and kept vomiting. After changing multiple foods and trying to help, my co worker was at a loss and couldn’t financially and emotionally take on this cat once the vet suggested x rays. I took Penny back into our care because I felt responsible for her and was in hopes I could help her and then find her a new home.

We took her in for X-rays and eventually a CT scan and they revealed she has a condition called a persistent double aortic arch. Her heart didn’t form correctly in the womb and now she has a blood vessel (vascular ring) that is connecting two of her heart valves where there normally wouldn’t be one. The vascular ring is where the esophagus would normally fit through comfortably but because of the ring, it’s crushing her esophagus. They helped me in figuring out how I can feed her, limiting her vomiting, but that’s just the beginning of the issues this disorder can cause if she doesn’t get it fixed.
Now she’s about 6 months old and we spoon feed her wet food 2-3 times a day at an elevated level to keep the esophagus straight, but she is still susceptible to get food stuck in the esophagus which can lead to choking, aspiration leading to pneumonia and a guaranteed shorter life expectancy. The longer we put it off, the worse it will get.

We found a specialist in Carlsbad who can do the surgery, but at full cost. As cat lovers, we have fallen in love with this special sweet kitty but it was not my intention to take in another cat as we already have others to care for. I’m a softie who was trying to find her a home but we are in way over our heads. Her current vet bills have already set us back, but we had to come this far to get to the source of the problem.
Penny deserves a good long life and with the surgery it will be possible. I’m currently trying to find any organizations that can help with any grants or funding, with no luck yet. We can’t afford to give her this fighting chance surgery alone. I’ve attached a photo of her estimate and a drawing of her condition so you can get a visual of what’s going on.
Any amount helps to save this rescue kitty!!
Follow Penny on Instagram for daily pics and updates @savepennysesophagus
You can also donate through PayPal: [email redacted]

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Theresa McBride
La Quinta, CA

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