Stockings the Kitty, a yellow tabby, was born with a birth defect that deformed his back legs, turning them inward and backwards, making it difficult for him to do normal kitty things, like stand, walk, jump, play, and use the litter box.
(See more pictures of Stockings below.)
When Stockings was brought in, he was not in very good health, and with that and his deformity, most shelters or clinics would have probably decided there was no hope for him, and would have put him to sleep. Luckily for Stockings, he was taken to Chicago’s Tree House Humane Society when he was just a few weeks old, and they felt differently.
“Both legs were basically backwards. He had to drag his whole behind, and we knew that was going to be a really difficult way to live,” Jenny Schlueter, Tree House, said.
“He had so much pent up energy! He wanted to run around like other kittens and play,” Schlueter said. “He’d jump up and fall on his face. He really wanted to do what he couldn’t do.”
Tree House contacted Dr. Steve Neihaus, an orthopedic veterinarian with whom the non-profit organization works closely.
“If we did nothing, this cat would most likely have been euthanized,” Dr. Neihaus said. So Dr. Neihaus performed an experimental surgery on the then 8-week-old kitten.
“We knew it was risky. We knew there were no guarantees it would work,” Schlueter said.
“We went forward with surgery knowing we could never make him normal. Our goal was to make his feet functional so he could live a happy, pain-free life,” Dr. Neihaus said.
It worked. Three procedures and six weeks later, Stockings’ feet point forward. He can walk and run without pain, Dr. Neihaus said. And, of course, play like a kitten.
Dr. Neihaus performed the operations on Stockings for free, bless his heart! The first operation involved cutting his tendons and fusing his feet into a front-facing position. His left leg responded well, but he needed 2 more operations on the other leg to get it working as well. Now Stockings is doing great, but not perfect. He may still need more operations to further improve his legs. But for now, he’s a very energetic and playful kitteh! Plus, he’s found a forever home with Priscilla Cherry, one of Dr. Neihaus’ veterinarian technicians at his clinic, the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center.
Priscilla Cherry originally signed on to foster the kitten after his surgeries, knowing she would be experienced in the care Stockings would need after the procedures, such as giving him medicine and changing his bandages. Cherry said it was love at first grab.
“I saw him trying to grab people through the bars of his kennel without a care about his malformed legs, and I knew he was for me,” Cherry said.
If you’d like to donate to help Stockings or other kittehz (doggehz, too), or read more about Stockings, contact the Tree House Humane Society 1212 W Carmen Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 treehouseanimals.org (773) 784-5488
Original article by Anne E. Swaney, ABC7 Chicago
Stockings and his new human, Priscilla Cherry. We’re so happy for you, Stockings! And we think you’re awesome, Priscilla! Best of luck to both of you!