Eight-month-old Cassidy is like other kittens in a lot of ways. He’s playful, curious, loving, and full of rambunctious energy. But he’s different in one big one: he is missing both of his hind legs. He got off to a rough start in life, but his resilient spirit and human friends have given him a good life…which is about to get a lot better.
He was rescued from a large feral colony when he was 9 weeks old by an organization called Tiny Kittens. Tiny Kittens uses TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) techniques to manage around 200 cats, and routinely works with property owners to ensure they’ll be contacted if any injured cats are noticed.
According to Tiny Kittens founder Shelly Roche, a property owner witnessed little Cassidy walking around on his front legs. His hind legs were mere stumps which were too painful to put down on the sticks and rocks outside.
His first veterinary appointment revealed just how bad of shape he was in. He had E. coli infection in both of his back stumps, parasites, and an upper respiratory infection. To top it all off, he was nearly starved to death. A kitten in his condition would have been in no position to hunt or compete with other colony members for food.
“We didn’t know if he’d survive,” recalls Roche, “but we wanted to give him a chance as long as he was making improvements. He was a fighter.”
In the beginning, Cassidy required around-the-clock care with fluids being given every hour or two. He had also stopped using the bathroom on his own because of the pain, so his care team took the role of expressing his bladder. “We got very excited when he peed for the first time on his own.”
Cassidy had a special wheelchair designed for him when he was smaller. He had been frustrated about not being able to do normal kitten stuff and the wheelchair gave him more mobility. But he hated being strapped into it as be started to get stronger.
He eventually ditched the wheelchair in favor of scooting around sort of like a seal or walrus, dragging his back end behind him. He gets around pretty well like that, but the way he’s scooting is beginning to effect the alignment of his hips, so Tiny Kittens is pursuing a more permanent option for Cassidy.
Cassidy will soon receive osteo-integrated implants, meaning implants that will go directly into or onto his bones. The surgery will essentially restore the missing parts of his hind legs and will be a permanent procedure. Once completed, he’ll be able to do something he’s never been able to do before: walk on all 4 of his legs!
“Cassidy is a symbol of every life being worth saving,” Roche says, “He has so much to offer. He brings joy to so many people. I’m hoping people who watch him and follow his story will see that someone who is broken and different and not like the rest of us still has value and something to offer.”
(In the meantime, it looks like he’s sought out alternative modes of transportation…)