Smush’s cleft lip and wide-set eyes are considered congenital deformities, Hidenrite told the Dodo. “I've seen a few instances where kittens with deformities are found abandoned as if their mother knew she would be unable to take care of them,” she said. Sometimes mother cats will reject unhealthy kittens, sensing they may not survive, so that they can tend to the needs of the other kittens in a litter.
Smush thrived under Hidenrite’s care and was soon able to eat on her own. She moved in with her foster mom, Laura Braden, who continued giving her medicated baths three times a week.