Tilly’s journey began at the Westchester SPCA in Virginia. Her mother was brought to the shelter as a very pregnant street pup, and soon gave birth to 11 puppies in early January.
Having so many puppies made it challenging for Tilly’s mother to care for each of her babies properly. It soon became clear that Tilly would require a bit of extra care, which was just too much for the new mom.
Tilly’s head was much larger than the rest of her siblings, making it difficult for her to keep it up. The shelter team decided to separate her from the rest of the litter and pursue the individual care she needed.
Tilly was later diagnosed with a neurological condition called hydrocephalus, often referred to as ‘water on the brain.’ This condition occurs when cerebrospinal fluid leaks into the brain, leading to brain swelling and other complications.
After realizing the severity of her condition, Tilly was transferred to the Chris Griffey Memorial Feline Foundation (CGMFF) care at 6 weeks old. This organization typically cares for cats and kittens in serious need, but they made an exception for the adorable pup.
Ellen Carozza is not only the President of the CGMFF, but is also an experienced vet tech with a passion for helping the vulnerable. Tilly needed a team of skilled caregivers on her side, and she got just that when she was welcomed into Ellen’s program.
Ellen has access to incredible tools for treating at-risk patients, one of which is the team at Bionic Pets. This clinic caters to animals with all kinds of ailments, creating custom braces and prosthetics to meet their needs. Tilly needed a helmet to protect her head from further trauma, and donations to the CGMFF made it happen!
When creating the perfect helmet for Tilly, Ellen knew she needed a special touch to help her fit in with her many feline friends in the program. Not only did she receive her very own helmet, but it was customized with adorable cat ears.
Tilly was now ready to set off to a new foster home for long-term care. Her new foster sibling is an inspiring cat named Eggbert, who has a few special needs of his own.
Eggbert does not have use of his back legs, giving him an understanding of what it’s like to be a little different. Eggbert and Tilly absolutely love each other’s company, especially now that Eggbert has a new set of wheels.
Tilly can have a shunt placed in her brain later in life, but she is too young to undergo the procedure just yet. For now, she will continue to live her best life until she is old enough for surgical care and will have a team of animal advocates by her side along the way.
“She is TOO small and TOO young for any surgical intervention as the likelihood of a shunt placement can create more issues due to her growth pattern. Starting her on medication also means we can affect her growth greatly as well. While she is NOT having any issues currently, neurology would like to wait a few months and then revise her plan accordingly. We want as much success as possible for Tilly and we are going to monitor accordingly and in a month or so revisit the plan.” – Ellen Carozza
Tilly spends her days frolicking through the grass, playing with her best friend Eggbert, and soaking up the love from everyone around her. If you would like to keep up with Tilly’s journey, you can follow her current foster mom here.