Special Needs Kitten Gets Unique Feeding Bowl To Survive With Medical Condition

A tiny pair of kittens was discovered tucked away in a boat after their mama was seen fleeing the area.

When the mom didn’t return, the owner of the boat took the 2 lonely kittens and brought them to a local shelter. The kittens were too young to be at the shelter though and needed special care to survive. St. Francis Society Animal Rescue in Tampa, Florida welcomed the furbabies into their foster program.

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate; Baby Sailor

Abandoned at around a week old, the brothers would need to be bottle fed around the clock. Luckily they had a team of experienced foster moms ready to help. 

Kellie Bouley raised the bottle babies until they were about 7 weeks old. Then Jen Tate, who has fostered almost 650 cats and kittens (!!!) took over the duties. These two little brothers joined her household on April 11th.

The black kitten was named Smee and the little grey tabby, Sailor.

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate; Sailor and Smee

As the weeks went by and the boys eventually began to eat solid food instead of formula, Jen noticed there was something a bit different with Sailor. He was getting sick after eating and not gaining weight properly for his age. At 10 weeks old, he was only 1.09 pounds!

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate

At this time, Jen was also fostering a cat named Bristol. This pretty girl had the same issues Sailor was now exhibiting. After visiting the vet, Bristol had been diagnosed with Megaesophagus. This is when the esophagus is enlarged and doesn’t allow the food to move into the stomach.

Photos Courtesy: Jen Tate

According to PetCareRX.com, “Because foods and liquids cannot make their way into the stomach, a cat may regurgitate and begin to lose weight. In addition, foods or liquids that are inhaled into the lungs can cause aspiration pneumonia, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.”

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate; The diagnosis

Sure enough, Sailor was diagnosed with megaesophagus too, although less severe than Bristol. Jen now had confirmation and knew just what to do for little Sailor to survive.

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate; Carrying Sailor after meals to help keep his food down.

The big name may sound scary and there is no cure, but for Sailor, his condition just needed the right person to help him manage it. 

The main thing he required was for his food dish to be elevated, ideally also tilted. This may sound easy, but there are not many options for cats with this diagnosis. He also takes pepcid and another medicine twice a day.

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate; Bristol and Sailor at dinner time.

For dogs with megaesophagus, they will use what’s called a Bailey Chair. This is basically a high chair that the dog sits up in and can then use gravity to force the food down. But anyone who knows cats, knows that they are not going to stay confined in a chair.

Photo Pinterest

With the recommendation of Kitten Lady, Hannah Shaw, who has fostered kittens with the ailment, Jen was introduced to Preston Tobery. Preston worked with Hannah on designing and creating something just for these special kittens and cats that would help save their lives.

Before this genius invention was created, there was nothing specifically designed for felines. But now they have… The Mega Feeder 3000!

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate

Preston is working on raising funds so that he can officially turn his heroic hobby into a business. He plans to purchase a 3D printer so that manufacturing can be quicker and cheaper for needy cats.

As Preston points out in his fundraiser, “So many animals with disabilities or special needs are euthanized before they are given a chance at life. I’d like to hopefully make a small impact on changing this.”

He has almost reached his $3000.00 goal that will help him save countless lives!

With this discovery, Jen knew that it meant the box that Sailor was using to hold up his food bowl could be put to better use. Jen’s husband had built Bristol the purrfect feeding stand that she’d been using successfully, but didn’t have the “tilt” of the Mega Feeder.

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate

Then they received an amazing donation where she was able to purchase feeders for both of the deserving cats!!

And the packages arrived this week! Bristol just found her furever home on August 12th, so as a “standing ovation” for welcoming the girl into her family, Bristol’s new mom was gifted with her new feeder. 

Sailor is still with foster mom Jen, and he was absolutely delighted when the packages arrived…especially about the box!

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate
Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate

But now Sailor can eat from his Mega Feeder 3000 with no issues and he just loves that he can stand up at his very own bowl.

My sincere thank you to Preston Tobery for designing and creating this amazing feeding station specifically for cats with megaesophagus!! This is a condition that many dogs live long lives with, thanks to the Bailey chair. Now cats have their very own Bailey chair – the MegafEeder 3000! When my first ME foster was diagnosed, her vet told me he recommends she be euthanized due to the difficulty she would have in getting her food to her tummy. It’s sad that many vets are so quick to recommend euthanizing rather than trying to help owners come up with a feeding solution. Now that the MegafEeder 3000 exists, I am hopeful that fewer cats and kittens will be euthanized unnecessarily. Many thanks to Sailor’s guardian angel, Christine L, for funding this feeding station for sweet Sailor! Thank you also to Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw and her former foster kitten Badger for setting this creation in motion! (Sailor is still searching for his forever family as well! DM me for more information on this snuggly sweet boy!) If anyone is interested in finding out more about the MegafEeder 3000 and how to go about purchasing one, contact Preston here: preston.tobery@gmail.com.I am also raising money for the rescue group that saved Sailor and his brother Smee when they were abandoned by their mom cat at only 1 week of age. Please consider donating to this amazing rescue group that saves so many in need, many that other rescues won't touch due to medical conditions and expensive surgeries needed. Thank you!! <3.#sailorkitten #megaesophagus #megaesophaguskitten #megaesophaguscat #adoptaspecialneedspet #megafeeder3000 #thankyou

Posted by Jen Fortheanimals Tate on Friday, August 24, 2018

He is sure to give his foster mom lots of snuggles and purrs after a good feeding. Sailor loves to perch on her shoulder like a “parrot kitty”.

Now Sailor needs to find his furever home!

He is good with other cats, dogs and even kids. If you are in the Tampa area and interested in adopting Sailor, please submit an application here

He’ll be sure to thank you with his beautiful green eyes and purrs which we’re told are “as loud as a motorboat”. 

Photo Courtesy: Jen Tate

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the Mega Feeder 3000 and how to go about purchasing one, contact Preston here: preston.tobery@gmail.com.

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3 Comments

  1. I have an 11 year old female with little short legs very likely has this problem. Regurgitates right
    after eating, not even digested yet. Sometimes just a little liquid and food. Not always. Goes immediately back and eats again. Nibbles at intervals all day long. Occasionally vomits food from entire day at one time. Do not think she is nauseated. Struggles to maintain 6.5 pounds.
    Two complicating factors. She is blind, has detached retinas, roams around the house at will, can
    find litter box and water without difficulty, have to keep floor clear of impediments. Has rapid heart
    rate with murmur but could be mostly anxiety. She gets frustrated when she runs into other cats and
    gets grumpy. She would need elevated device she could lie on so as not to get too fatigued. Ideas?

    • First, give that girl some extra snuggles from us. Then I would check with vet to see if perhaps she has this as well. Then if so, the amazing man who makes these may be able to customize one she could lay against while still being at the 45 degree angle? His email is at the end of the article <3

  2. What an wonderful story. So pray and hope that the right loving home for Sailor opens up so he will be adopted very soon.

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