Shelter Stories

Saving Cornelius


Saving Cornelius

JANUARY 11, 2024 UPDATE – Cornelius has come through his cleft repair surgery with flying colours!! He is still on the mend, of course, but Dr. Pegg says she was pleased with how the repair went. There may be additional procedures to come, but with his heart defect, this was the one we were really worried about.

DECEMBER UPDATE – While getting treatment for a bout of pneumonia, we discovered Cornelius had a heart murmur. After several tests, we now know its more than a murmur – its a heart defect, one that increases his risks of not recovering from sedation and surgery. Because Cornelius has never been able to eat normally and has always had to be tube fed, he has developed a condition called pica, an eating disorder which means he eats things not usually considered food. In his case, nothing is safe, including fabric and clothing. It’s a dangerous condition and sadly, it means we can’t really let him roam free around his foster home anymore. That’s a loss for Cornelius, one that has made it clear that for his own quality of life, we need to pursue a surgical fix for his cleft palate despite his heart defect, so that he can begin to eat normally, be adopted and regain his freedom to explore his surroundings. Luckily, we did receive some good news – we have found an animal dental specialist in the GTA who is willing to attempt his cleft repair, despite his heart defect. This will involve multiple procedures/surgeries, which will start in the new year.

AUGUST UPDATE – he’s recovered his energy after a bout with pneumonia last month. We are taken a closer look at the heart murmur to judge its seriousness and decide whether it will affect the timing of possible surgeries.

JULY UPDATE – Thanks to all of you, our campaign to raise money for Cornelius has now concluded! We asked for your support to raise $10,000 to help Cornelius get the specialized care he needs to repair his cleft palate, and you responded by donating over $15,000 in 7 weeks.

Thanks to all of you, our campaign to raise money for Cornelius has now concluded! We asked for your support to raise $10,000 to help...
Thanks to all of you, our campaign to raise money for Cornelius has now concluded! We asked for your support to raise $10,000 to help Cornelius get the specialized care he needs to repair his cleft palate, and you responded by donating over $15,000 in 7 weeks.

Meet Cornelius – one tough little kitten who has survived, despite the odds, and stolen our hearts in the process. We hope he will steal your heart too, because we need your support to help him survive.

Cornelius’ story

Cornelius was born two months ago in our care at Humane Society Hastings Prince Edward. Our dedicated team noticed he was having trouble latching onto his mother for milk, and upon further investigation we realized why. This little boy was born with a cleft palate – an opening, in his case very large, between the top of his mouth and his nasal cavity. Because of this, he couldn’t latch onto his mother, and receive the hydration and nutrients he needed to survive.

Mammals born with a cleft palate risk aspiration at every feed. Milk and fluids can be misdirected to the nasal cavity, and if the animal breathes in the fluid, it results in pneumonia and often death.

Because of this, and the severity of Cornelius’ cleft, we were told his odds of survival were slim.

A helping hand

But Kaitlin, one of our long-time animal care attendants, was not going to lose Cornelius without a fight. She began to feed him, every two hours at first, by inserting a tube down his esophagus and into his stomach. She did this day and night, volunteering to bring him home every evening and back to work every morning. Her sleep patterns were sporadic and interrupted but that didn’t matter, because he is worth it!

The prognosis

The bottom line for Cornelius is this – without surgeries, Cornelius will never be able to eat normally and will always be at risk for lung infections and death. Right now, in his current condition, the burden of caring for him, preparing his food and feeding him is huge and constant.

Without surgery, Cornelius will not have a chance at a normal life, despite his fighting spirit.

Your support will help us, help Cornelius by giving him the medical support and surgeries he desperately needs.

We have supporters and staff willing to donate their time to drive Cornelius to exams and surgery. We have staff willing to volunteer their time to continue to care for him post-op.

How you can help

We need to raise money to pay for Cornelius’ surgery (or surgeries) and related exams and tests.

Total costs are expected to be $10,000.

Funds raised by this campaign will be used for medical expenses Cornelius incurs. Any funds raised in addition to his needs will be used to support other special animals in need at Humane Society Hastings Prince Edward.

 

Stores accepting donations for Cornelius

Pet Valu, Trenton, Belleville, Brighton

Global Pet Foods,  Belleville

Ren’s Pets, Belleville

Little Stinkers, Belleville

Island Smoke, Trenton

Hillcrest Vet, Trenton

The Pier Bar and Grill, Belleville

Birdy’s Restaurant, Belleville

Update July 14

Our cream-coloured bundle of joy has kept us on our toes these last few weeks.
His normal sneezing and cough turned serious and he was diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks ago and put on a course of antibiotics.
The good news is he has responded well to the medication.
The not-so-good news is that the vet discovered a heart murmur during his most recent examination. We are thinking and hoping that this murmur will fix itself as he grows over the next few months. But it does mean that surgeries will have to wait until that happens.
Speaking of procedures and surgeries, these are some of the options in play.
1. Cornelius could have a tube inserted in his neck temporarily, to aid with feeding and help alleviate the risk of aspiration.
2. He may need to have some of his upper teeth removed to clear and expand the useable area on his palate prior to his cleft repair surgery.
3. The cleft repair can only be done once his skull stops growing – at approx 6 months of age. He is almost four months old now.
As for the donations, they just keep coming. Kudos to all for your support. The GoFundMe Campaign tally is over $6,500 – https://gofund.me/a0351ee7
Other donations keep arriving too, like the $160 collected recently from the generous staff and diners at Birdy’s Fine Casual Dining.
We were delighted to see our Cornelius donation box front and centre at The Pier Patio Bar and Grill at Meyers Pier.
Special thanks to Herman Lopez, pictured here with Cornelius – server extraordinaire – for his help in raising funds for Cornelius.
Thank to all for their heart-warming support of this very special kitten. Your support means the world to us.

Update June 16

Cornelius made a cameo appearance at last weekend’s Bay of Quinte Pride Parade and Pride in the Park to hang with his friends Andrew and Andy and the team at The Priory Wellness Centre
It was an amazing day!
Thanks to all who came by to support Cornelius and the team and clients from The Priory Wellness Centre who raised over $200 to help pay for surgery to repair his cleft palate.

How to support Cornelius

• Through our GoFundMe Campaign –  Saving Cornelius

• By Etransfer to etransfer@humanesocietyhpe.ca (make sure you mention Cornelius in the message).

• By Cash or Cheque at the following locations:

Pet Valu, Trenton, Belleville, Brighton

Global Pet Foods,  Belleville

Ren’s Pets, Belleville

Little Stinkers, Belleville

Island Smoke, Trenton

Hillcrest Vet, Trenton

The Pier Bar and Grill, Belleville

Birdy’s Restaurant, Belleville

or at the shelter and make your donation in person – we’d love to see you!

More Shelter
Stories You Might
Like