Millions and millions of kittens born with deformities don’t survive. Whether they’re shunned away by the mother cat protecting the rest of the litter or abandoned by the humans that were supposed to care for them, there are more than enough cases that attest to the fact that deformed kittens have a hard life.
Deformities can be hereditary, but more often than not, they’re a consequence of environmental factors, nutritional deficiencies, or trauma during the mother cat’s pregnancy.
When you take a look at the statistics, you might think that most kittens at rescues and shelters get adopted right away – because they’re kittens, and they’re cute and cuddly.
We’re over the moon that we have organizations working toward providing better care for abandoned animals, but kittens with deformities oftentimes get put down due to a lack of space, as well as a lack of people willing to adopt a kitten that requires 24/7 care.
Northwest Animal Companions, an animal rescue located in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon, happens to be one of the few no-kill rescues.
With the help of hardworking foster volunteers, Northwest Animal Companions manages to ensure respectful and humane treatment of all animals – whether they’re healthy, suffering from health problems, or dealing with deformities.
Northwest Animal Companions rescue provides assistance to abandoned animals, educates people about the humane treatment of animals, and brings people and animals together to better each other’s lives through adoption.
What a great organization, right? We aren’t talking about them for no reason, though. Northwest Animal Companions happens to be the rescue where we meet the protagonist of our story Jessica Thompson. She’s a foster mother who took on a kitten born with twisted back legs.
Where do we even start? Shelby Thrope, Jessica’s friend and a foster volunteer at Northwest Animal Companions, was the first to bite the bullet and bring the poor kitten home. Tigger was born with twisted legs and was unable to walk normally.
When he was brought to the rescue, he was beaten down and barely holding on. But Shelby nursed the poor kitten back to health and continued working day and night trying to figure out how to help Tigger walk normally or as normally as he can.
When Jessica took to Instagram to share about Tigger’s hardships, he’d already undergone three surgeries at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. Before the surgeries, Tigger couldn’t move whatsoever.
But after the surgeries, he started to sort of hop and move around Shelby’s home which made Jessica cry tears of joy. Shelby was the perfect fit for Tigger because she’d already taken care of kittens with deformities and kittens that needed 24/7 care.
Shelby and Jessica started working on Tigger’s recovery right away. From feeding him and helping him use the litter box to exercising with him and petting him, the two were adamant about making progress ASAP.
Tigger was over the moon that he was finally able to move around. He started playing with toys, limping around Shelby’s home, and purring the days away. He was obsessed with both of them and he trusted them completely.
He was hitting every milestone he needed to. He was walking, strengthening his legs, and wiggling his paw pads. Jessica was excited to post everything about Tigger’s recovery on Instagram.
She shared the details of how the three surgeries went and what the doctors managed to do to ensure Tigger would be able to walk normally once everything healed. She added that the doctors managed to “untwist” Tiger’s legs and that Tigger was learning how to walk on them the right way.
Before the surgery, he wasn’t keen on putting pressure on them. But after the surgery, he was learning how to use them to stand up or push away. Shelby noticed that, even though he was getting better and growing stronger, he wasn’t able to put too much pressure on one of the legs.
When the doctors took a closer look, they scheduled another surgery to work on Tigger’s knees and kneecaps. Surgeries were hard on Tigger, but he seemed to understand why he needed to get them. He was patient and positive, for the most part.
He was excited whenever Jessica came to visit, and he was comforted by the fact that she stopped by before the surgery day. But that surgery wasn’t the end of Tigger’s woes.
Shelby took to Instagram to share that Tigger needed two more surgeries because something went wrong during the previous one. She was frustrated but positively hopeful that everything was going to be OK.
Shelby’s followers pulled through and managed to gather enough money to pay for both surgeries and help Tigger walk normally. Tigger truly took the Internet by storm without even knowing.
Now, we do need to say that Tigger spent months and months undergoing different surgeries, treatments, and even never-before-seen shock wave therapies to try to combat the complications that occurred when the doctors performed the first surgery.
Tigger was a true champ! Even though he needed 24/7 supervision and wasn’t allowed to move at all, he was happy, healthy, and ready to poke fun at Shelby and Jessica.
We’re relieved to say that Tigger pulled through, healed, and learned to walk normally (sort of) without Shelby’s or Jessica’s help. We’re sending you lots of love, Tigger, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed you continue to make progress!