Jada's and Penny's hearts bring them together
Jada and her wish cat Penny both have unique heart conditions. And since they have been together, they've been inseparable.
Ultrasounds link excites Jada
Jada was born with, in simple terms, a weak heart.
When she was researching Sphynx cats with a view to asking for one for her wish, something unexpected happened.
Jada discovered that amazingly, the Sphynx cat also carries a gene that could cause a heart condition similar to hers.
“Jada had restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), and when she came out of her room and said ‘you wouldn’t believe it, but the Sphynx cat can have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and has to have heart ultrasounds like me’,” Jada’s mum Leah said.
“From that very moment, there was a strong connection for Jada.”
Swollen abdomen triggers concern
Jada’s medical journey that ultimately led to her wish for a Sphynx cat started in 2018 when the then 8-year-old unexpectedly had five litres of fluid drained from her abdomen over a weekend in the ICU.
Days later, a cardiologist delivered the news Leah wasn’t expecting; Jada’s heart was in failure, she had RCM and would need a heart transplant.
Just 12 months later, Jada’s parents received the phone call that a donor heart was waiting for their daughter interstate in Melbourne.
As Jada received her new heart in a lengthy overnight operation, Jada’s family felt their own hearts tighten until finally they were told the transplant was a success.
'Special cat for special girl'
Jada’s wish to have a Sphynx cat as a companion began with Make-A-Wish volunteers visiting Jada.
“The volunteers were simply amazing; they truly understood what Jada has been through,” Leah said.
“In fact, they helped break down some anxiety barriers. The team came to meet Jada, and we had a picnic. Jada did not want them to leave.”
The volunteers, known as the Wish Force, then got in touch with cat breeder Amba Weaver from Furrvelvet Sphynx Kittens.
Amba, although inundated with people wanting kittens, did not hesitate to make Jada’s kitten a priority.
“The kitten I gave her it had really unique markings, three different colors when usually they only have one or two colours,” Amba said.
“It was a nice match for Jada. A special cat for a special girl.”
Penny's immediate impact
The arrival of Jada’s new cat, Penny, had an instant effect. On their first day together, Penny came with Jada for one of her regular blood tests.
“It was one of the easiest blood tests Jada has ever had,” Leah said. “The kitty cat made such a difference.”
As Jada continues her medical journey, Leah said Penny would “give her strength and hope”.
“The wish is definitely life-changing,” Leah said. “We have a new bundle of love in our lives. It means everything to me to see Jada happy with Penny.”
The wish is definitely life-changing. We have a new bundle of love in our lives.Leah, mum of Jada restrictive cardiomyopathy