Cluck came to the Kitty Bungalow School for Wayward Kittens in Los Angeles, California, as a newborn with her feral mom from the city-run shelter nearby. The Bungalow often pulls feral mothers, with and without babies, to save them from euthanization. It’s a good thing they found Cluck — first and foremost because it saved her life, but also because Cluck was missing something pretty important that she needed a lot of help getting.
The kitten was born with a condition called imperforate anus, which meant she could not defecate. Kitty Bungalow started a fundraising campaign to give Cluck an anus — or butthole, as the cat rescue’s director, Shawn Simons, puts it plainly.
“Cluck was just a few days old when she arrived with her mama and her siblings,” Simons told Petcha.com. “We always weigh and take temperatures on intake, and one of our new med interns was doing that. When she came to tell us she couldn’t temp the kittens because she couldn’t find the butthole, we were not expecting to also not be able to find it. Sure enough, Cluck did not have a butthole.”
For this feature, staff named the kitten Cluck, like a chicken. Chickens have a cloaca — one chute for all elimination. Poor Cluck was reduced to that.
The team learned about the operation necessary to give the sweet girl a better life. It would take a lot of money. They turned to crowdsourcing the funds, and news of this campaign caught on.
“It was actually Huffington Posts ‘Strange Things’ that got us really noticed and the bulk of our donations,” Simons told us. “That is how Daniel Tosh must have found out about it. We were also on the radio in San Fransisco and in People Magazine digital.”
Tosh talked about it on his show “Tosh.0” and said he wanted so many donations for this fundraiser that they “could buy 100 buttholes.” The attention helped, and surgery went forward.
What limited the enthusiasm about the success was that Cluck needed more surgeries. After the buzz died down, so did the fundraising wave, which was unfortunate because Cluck ran into a few problems.
“We had to do another surgery!” Simons told Petcha. “So we have now paid for an entirely second surgery. We are beginning to think that maybe she loves the limelight or that she has a crush on Tosh?”
She’s pulled through after both surgeries, but her body hasn’t quite believed that she has a working large colon, so the motility in her intestines ends before the end. The final surgery she needs would remove the last part of her intestines and shorten the digestive tract.
“There’s a surgical solution that’s easier but less funny than getting a new butthole,” Simons said. Her stools might be soft, and she might have to wear “an adorable diaper” if they get looser.
“People have fallen in love with Cluck and she’s an amazing girl; even if she has to wear an adorable diaper it wouldn’t be life-threatening,” Simons said. “She’d have a regular quality of life.”
Cluck is getting closer and closer to being a normal little kitten. Like the book says, everybody poops. Some of us need a little help, is all.