.Many of you know Wolfie Smiles, a grey cat with a famous werewolf-like toothy smile. Rescuer Jacqueline Santiago and fellow rescuers saved him as a scruffy kitten from LA’s Skid Row in December 2017 with his sister Foxy.
A Star Who Helps Other Cats
The rescuers brought the malnourished kitten back to health, and he overcame many serious health concerns. But, veterinarians didn’t think he would survive and recommended euthanasia. He had a narrow esophagus and had to be put in an oxygen chamber due to gastric distress from food impaction in his digestive system. Later he needed a liquid diet. Then, when he finished feeding, the rescuers needed to hold him upright for a time. It’s similar to cats with megaesophagus, (enlarged esophagus) that need to feed standing upright so the food goes down.
The kitten also needed a heating pad to stay warm since he had problems regulating his body temperature. However, with round-the-clock care from many rescuers, he recovered, started gaining weight, and became an adventurous little gremlin. Eventually, Jacqueline adopted him into the family, becoming tightly bonded.
Then, he became pack leader to hundreds of thousands of “Woofies,” his social media fans. Wolfie’s appeal and story have helped many other cats through the volunteer-based Friends for Life Rescue Network (FFLRN) based in downtown Los Angeles.
Recently, Wolfie, who turned 5 on November 13, 2022, has been helping to educate people about what to look for if a cat has gastric distress and pain. So we knew we had to pass along this valuable information! We also recently shared another article about signs when cats are in pain, which can be easily misread. Also, we shared one rescuer’s story about quickly taking her cat to the vet when her cat had a dangerous urinary blockage.
Wolfie Shows Signs of Tummy Upset
Below, Jacqueline shared what to look for if your cat has pain, tummy upset, or other health concern. As you can see, it’s a very subtle but distinct stance. He appeared tense and sat like this for an extended time of about 30 minutes and didn’t want to be approached.
She has been working with a vet to treat ongoing gastric issues and tummy aches. As always, we suggest getting a veterinarian’s advice if you suspect your cat is in pain. As she says, this is for educational purposes only.
“For education purposes: this stance in a cat is often a sign of gastric upset or pain in a cat. It can be for a wide variety of reasons, including upset tummy, acid reflux, stomach ulcer, diarrhea, c. Perf, and more.”
A ‘Good Loaf’ for Contrast
For comparison, Jacqueline shared what it looks like when Wolfie feels okay and sits in a “good loaf.”
“These are normal, happy, body language. The last photo gives greater context on how his body was showing pain. Make sure to note the difference in head/neck placement, paw placement, tension in shoulders, arched back, etc.
I hope this visual aid helps better so you can identify when your cat isn’t feeling well. Please note, holding this position is not bad for short few minute periods of time. They usually hold this position longer when it’s painful. In Wolfies case, he was in the position for about 30 minutes in different locations. He stopped holding the position after having diarrhea and getting comfort from Meowmy ❤️.”
Sending Wolfie Healing Purrs
“Thank you all so much for all your healing vibes. Wolfie was given cerenia, pepcid, and omeprazole yesterday and he finally ate this morning. This was him today waiting for a piece of ham ❤️.”