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Meet Smudge, the Vet’s Cat Assistant

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

A Cat with Dwarf Features is Born

Let me tell you my story. My name is Smudge, and I am a Melbourne-born kitty from Australia. I was born on the 2nd of October 2019 in foster care.

I was born with congenital hypothyroidism. This meant I had dwarf features, I will tell you all about it in this blog post. I was adopted at 12 weeks by my Mum, vet Jo, because of my special needs.

My Animal Sisters

Currently, I live with four other cats. Jellybean (a ginger cat), Twig (a panther-looking cat), Wink (one-eyed, with grey and white fur) and Snickers (a torti cat). They are my sisters and all female cats.

I also live with two female Labradors, Hartley (a chocolate-coloured dog) and Pretzel (a black Labrador dog).

We all live in harmony. My cat sisters and I are known to groom the doggies and sleep in their beds next to them.

Foodie Cat

Regarding my character as a cat, you could describe me as a foodie. I am a food enthusiast! Hence, I start begging for food two hours before lunch time.

Another favourite pastime activity of mine is modelling. ‘Striking-a-pose’ could be my middle name.

Moreover, I love the sound of packages that are opened. I always come flying in the room if I hear my parents rip open boxes or paper bags. Finally, I consider sleeping my favorite sport, but who doesn’t love a good nap?

Congenital Hypothyroidism in Cats

Now, let me tell you a bit more about my disease. After all, since my cat mommy is a veterinarian, I know so much about it!

Congenital hypothyroidism occurs when kittens are born with underdeveloped thyroid glands. Underdeveloped thyroid glands cannot produce enough growth hormones which are necessary for stimulating the growth and health of other organs. Without it, cats suffer from a wide range of complications such as constipation, joint disease, kidney disease or heart disease. In turn, all these complications can short the lifespan of the cat in question.

I was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism after I had some blood tests done when I was four months old. Congenital hypothyroidism has caused me to have short front legs, weight issues and also some cognitive issues. Just out of curiosity, can you see these physical attributes in my photos on Instagram?

I am very lucky that my meowmy is a vet. She has me have blood tests done annually to check my organ functions. Twice a day, I receive thyroid medications to help my organs grow and function normally. In addition, I am on an obesity diet to try to maintain a healthier body weight.

Vet Mom and Her Advice for Cats

I am so proud of my cat meowmy Jo. She is a veterinarian with 27 years of experience. She works in a veterinary clinic as a senior vet in the emergency and critical care department.

I started my Instagram account, @smudge_the_mini_cat_andcrew, on February the 22nd of 2020, just before the Covid outbreak. What started as a joke, soon became a way to feel connected with other cat lovers during the lonley days of quarantine.

It was then when it occured to my mum to share medical advice for cats on Instagram. You see, during the Covid-19 pandemic, waiting times for vet appointments ranged from four to six weeks. Moreover, a lot of people were out of work; hence, a lot of people could not affordhealth care for their pets.

So, under the pseudonym Dr. Smudge, my mum started answering people’s questions on Instagram on a weekly basis. Her ultimate goal was to alleviate the stress of cat parents.

To help my mum reach out to more people in need, I became the face of Dr. Smudge. Now, aside from helping my mum destress from a long day at work, I am also her cat vet assistant.

We both like cats a lot and we receive numerous DMs from cat people seeking guidance in health matters. We try to provide objective advice based on the information we receive.

Our Approach to Vet Care

When advising on Instagram, we try to be as open, honest, and direct as we can. We are not shy to explain in detail our opinion regarding diagnosis of various illnesses or the cost of medical care.

This is because we believe in an honest collaborative relationship with cat pawrents. Furthermore, we believe in ensuring minimizing the pain of the patient in question. Just because we can do treatment, does not mean we should, especially if it will impact the patient's quality of life.

Finally, we believe in a scientific approach based on research and data and not in old wives’ tales. While holistic medicine is available, unless there is scientific proof of its benefits, we do not prescribe it as a treatment. It can be pursued as adjunctive treatment in combination with other medicine as long as it doesn’t harm the patient.

World Tour as a Puppet

Besides being the face of Dr. Smudge, I also have been on a sort of world tour with my mom. Actually, I travelled with her as a puppet when she was on holiday.

I was virtually able to experience new cultures while also sharing my own culture with people around the world. It was such a fantastic journey, indeed!

Exquisite Cat Outfits

Another thing I am passionate about is fashion On my Instagram page, you can see that I upload pictures of me in my most exquisite fun outfit. We love anything that has bling and we love to switch things up with every occasion!

My Wishes for other Cats

I have reached the end of my story and I hope you enjoyed it! My wish for other cats and cat lovers around the world is that they stay healthy and safe!

Feel free to follow my Instagram account by clicking here.

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