Misty meets fund-raising goal to pay for life-saving surgery

NASHUA – Misty the kitten reached her goal of raising $1,500 to pay for life-saving surgery at 11:20 Wednesday morning.

After The Telegraph posted a story online Tuesday telling Misty’s story, the community rallied to enable the 9-week-old kitten to have surgery to repair a concave sternum.

The cat’s owner, Elaine Oulundsen raised the money through the site www.wepay.com. It took 48 donors to reach the $1,500 goal.

Misty lives in Oulundsen’s basement in Nashua, alongside his mother, who has been named Bella. His long, white whiskers stand out against his black face, which has white fur surrounding his nose and mouth. His body is mostly black with a white chest and paws, and he is as lively as one would imagine any 9-week-old kitten being.

After taking the cats to Merrimack Veterinary Hospital, Oulundsen learned that Misty had a condition called pectus excavatum, which means his sternum is abnormal and concave and on the side of his chest instead of the middle. His heart has been pushed further to the side and isn’t protected by the sternum.

Oulundsen consulted with Dr. Jim Whitebone, who showed her the X-rays and said a surgery is necessary to fix the problem.

“When you gently pick him up, you can feel his little heart beat because there’s not that protection,” she said. “The surgery will correct it. From what I understand, he could potentially live a happy, normal life once this gets corrected. But if nothing is done, nobody has a crystal ball, but he won’t live for very long.”

Misty used the area of the basement surrounding the cage as his personal playground. He climbed on a small step ladder, leapt from the middle step and attacked a stuffed star on a string. After that, he tumbled and rolled into the side of his cage, stretching his tiny claws out to grab the star and yarn ball next to him.

“From what I’ve read, it’s a miracle that he’s lived 9 weeks,” Oulundsen said, noting that kittens with pectus excavatum usually die 10 to 12 days after being born. “He’s adorable and he acts perfectly normal.

“We actually thought it was a girl until we took it the vet and realized it was a boy. We didn’t want to change it,” Oulundsen said about Misty’s name. “We get a little misty-eyed when we think about his future, so we thought, well, the name sort of fits. You look at his face and you go, ‘Oh, goodness me. We’re going to do everything we can for you, little buddy.’”