Simon Says…

cat with three legs

Simon Says...

One day after mom had been gone all day she came home with pictures and stories about a kitty who looked like Namir but who didn’t have a leg! We weren’t so sure about that at first because we are all so perfect, but after we saw the photos and she explained that he’s really over the fact that he is missing a hind leg, we thought we’d like to meet him. He’s a hero cat! And his people hardly notice it anymore either. Anyone who would think that a cat missing a limb might take too much care or might not live as long or any other reason there might be to not adopt really needs to read about Simon and his people. ~the Fantastic Four 

What are you looking at?

Simon is another incredible rescue I’ve met recently. He lives with the family of Cooper, one of the portrait subjects featured in Great Rescues, who have been rescuing cats for years.

cat with three legs

Simon waves his tail.

Animals are amazingly adaptive when it comes to changes in their bodies. Simon was a stray being fed outside by this couple who live in a rural area next to a farm as they tried to determine if he belonged to someone. Unfortunately he came back one day dragging a trap on his leg.

“We were actually away at the time,” said Simon’s dad. “Our neighbor found him and ran him to our vet, figuring that’s what we’d want—he was right—but he would have done that for any animal, and we’re so glad he did.”

Simon spent a month in the veterinary hospital while the veterinarian valiantly tried to save the leg, but it just kept breaking again and again.

“Simon was in so much pain, though he never acted mean in any way, but we could tell, the last time the leg broke again, he was done with it,” his people agreed. “The veterinarian removed his leg the next day and Simon was awake and alert, eating and social just hours afterward. We could tell he was thanking us!”

He came home the day after the amputation surgery and walked around as if nothing had happened except that he now had a slightly altered gait. He also had no problem being an indoor cat after that experience.

“We don’t know where Simon came from,” his mom said. “He just showed up and was eating with the outdoor cats. We were trying to track down an owner if there was one before we decided we’d get him neutered, then this happened. I think he was meant to be ours anyway.”

No one knows where Simon came from, and it’s sad to think what would have happened to him had he not felt comfortable enough with the couple giving him food and shelter outdoors to drag himself back. But he’s got a loving home now and a long life ahead of him.

For Simon, missing a leg does not mean missing a heart—he is still loving and playful and even has a snit now and then while you’re petting him, just like any other cat. If you see a kitty in a shelter who’s had a little accident, don’t pass them by.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


We’re “Less Adoptable”?!

four black cats

The Big Four at Four

You mean everyone doesn’t want a house full of five fine black kitties? We Fantastic Four certainly think we are the envy of all other households! And our Mimi mom is the best! What would our human mom do without us? We don’t understand why every home doesn’t have a black cat, or two, or more!

four black cats and calico

The Big Four With Peaches

We also found out that kitties like our beloved little big sister Peaches, who we miss very much, would not have found a home because she was a senior kitty at age 15 if our mom hadn’t taken her in. We grew up with Peaches and we can’t begin to tell you what we learned from Peaches! Giuseppe loved her very much and took good care of her.

black cat on bed

Mlle Daisy Marguerite

And Giuseppe will remind you that his lovely Canadian girlfriend, Mlle Daisy Marguerite, is diabetic as well as being black, but that doesn’t stop Giuseppe from mooning all over the house about her—or her mom from loving her and learning to give Mlle her injections twice daily.

close up photo of a black cat

Mimi tells her story

Mimi here! It’s “Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week” sponsored by PetFinder.com, encouraging you to consider a pet who may have special needs or characteristics that usually makes them left behind in shelters and animal adoption agencies.

I, too, remember Peaches fondly and was glad for her tutelage as my children grew, and for the adult instruction from Cookie, Kelly and Namir as well. This house was all senior kitties when I arrived as a young single mom.

While I admit my children are the most beautiful and wonderful foursome of black kitties who ever walked the earth, I also know there are plenty of other black kitties out there—I have no idea what happened to most of my 24 kittens, for instance, and if adoption statistics for black animals bear out, I don’t really want to know.

two cats on table

Share the Love

But hearing about deaf cats, blind cats and cats missing limbs, what’s a little black fur?! I feel lucky in the face of some of the stories my human mom tells me.

Just to prove that kitties who may not seem adoptable on the surface are all the same underneath, and there is nothing to be frightened about in a kitty who is older or blind or black or who has a treatable disease, our human mom will share stories of “less adoptable kitties who lived with her or who were adopted by friends—and they lived happily ever after, as I am and my children are doing right now.

And we’ll also introduce you to some kitties who are very  adoptable, but who may have some trait or characteristic you’re not sure about. Remember—we’re all the same beneath our fur, all capable of love and devotion.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Leggings for Life: Crocheted Leggings for Disabled Kitties

pink kitty leggings

Pink crocheted leggings for Willow.

I saw a request on the internet for people to crochet leggings for kitties born with deformed hind legs.

You don’t need to ask me twice! I crochet all the time and in addition to apparel, household stuff and merchandise I also crochet scarves for the Special Olympics, chemo caps, preemie hats, lap robes for nursing and rehab homes. Now I can crochet for kitties too, and these little leggings are done in no time!

Matching needy kitties with those who crochet

The idea behind Leggings for Life is not only to find people willing to crochet the leggings, but also to match kitties and other animals in need with the people who make them so they can communicate and ship directly.

About Willow

cat in wheelchair

Willow in her wheelchair.

You may have heard of Willow, a kitten born with deformed back legs in December 2010 who has gone on to internet fame by not only surviving but thriving even though she drags her hind legs. Aside from that she’s a pretty normal kitty—aside from that and that new cool kitty wheelchair she walks around with.

Kittens born with deformities like Willow’s are not rare and are documented in various places. Sometimes the legs will grow into the proper position and the kitten will gain full use but later kittenhood or adulthood. Some kitties have only one leg that’s a problem, or they have some control over the legs even with some difficulty. The dependable Sarah Hartwell has an article about just this issue on Messybeast, and you can see photos of other cats with leg deformities and explanations of related conditions, such as radial hypoplasia which Lisa mentions below in this article. PandEcats.com and ShowCatsOnline.com share a number of articles on breed kittens born with these conditions.

cat with deformed legs

Willow on the couch.

Willow’s legs actually turn inward and in this position she can’t use them at all. When she’s not in her chair her legs chafe and ulcerate when she’s dragging them across any surface, even softer, smoother ones. Fur and skin just aren’t meant to be dragged in that way.

The chafing and ulcerations lead to infection and often amputation, which may then mean the abdomen drags on the ground developing the same issue with ulcerations, certainly a shame if the kitty is having a normal life in every other way. (Some of these kittens have other issues in the area of the hips and lower abdomen as well, such as intestinal and bladder development and function.)

pet flex tape

Pet Flex tape protecting Willow's leg.

A product called Pet Flex tape, which you may have seen if your pet has ever had an IV line for a procedure or a splint where stitches aren’t required, for instance, can go a long way toward keeping the legs protected, but other problems develop when the skin is constantly covered by this impervious cover.

Lisa Krolasik, who “virtually” met Willow’s mom Wendy Michelle Matthews on Facebook, designed and crocheted a pair of leggings for Willow and sent them off to Wendy.

cat with leggings

Willow with her set of pink leggings.

“Willow has almost completely healed since wearing them a couple of months now (since June),” Lisa said in an e-mail to me. “It was my idea to make them, because I hated to see her having to wear the Pet Flex tape all the time. The leggings allowed her legs to breathe, and Wendy was able to put aloe on Willow’s legs without removing the leggings,” she explained. The leggings also provide cushioning when Willow walks, sliding her legs along the floor or even climbing up onto furniture.

“Willow’s leggings are actually kind of wide, because she has polydactyl feet and they need to be able to slip over them,” Lisa continued, adding that Wendy added a second layer of stitches to make Willow’s leggings even more cushiony. “I have sent her 8 pairs, because they might get dirty and need to be changed.”

crocheted kitty leggings

Lisa's other pairs of crocheted kitty leggings.

Lisa went on to explain that because Wendy is in the process of adopting a paralyzed kitty named Lifey from the Philippines, she made a couple pairs of leggings for Lifey which she put in the mail last Monday; more about Lifey a little further in this article.

She is also currently crocheting modified leggings for a cat named Starr who has radial hypoplasia. Her brother has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Ody.the.Cat.

The Facebook page for Leggings for Life http://www.facebook.com/Leggingsforlife simply took off on Saturday morning. Lisa explained that it was Wendy’s idea to make the page and that more info and instructions would be added in the coming days.

“It all happened so fast!” she said. “The emails from people wanting to crochet are rolling in, but what we really need now are ‘customers’ for the leggings.” She is hoping next week to be contacted by people with animals needing leggings.

“I say ‘animals’ but it will most likely be cats, though I can see how a dog or rabbit might be able to use them,” Lisa commented. “The crocheters want to get started right away! But each animal is different, has a different condition, is a different size. I am hoping to match the crocheter with the animal using geography. If both live in the same city, they might be able to meet. Or postage might be cheaper and mailing faster if they are closer to each other,” she continued.

As of midnight on Saturday, a little over 12 hours since the page was posted, it had 275 “likes”, and Lisa had 13 crocheters and three people who wanted to donate yarn.

Please send email to LeggingsForLife@yahoo.com for more information, if you can crochet leggings or know of an animal who needs them. Please include your city and state in the email. If we can, we will match up crocheters with animals who live nearby.

Videos about Willow

“Willow”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb8WlDIscU4

“A Miracle for Willow”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvHDKrCGbKo&feature=related

“We All Matter”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKAu5s0hsKU

Adopting Lifey

calico kitten

Lifey lives in the Philippines right now.

Wendy and Willow have arranged to adopt a kitty with a similar condition named Lifey who had been living on a roof, dragging her legs on concrete and developing ulcerations. But Lifey lives in the Philippines and Willow and her mommy live in the United States, and they’ve encountered a number of problems trying to transport Lifey here. At last count, the airline said it couldn’t transport a cat less than six months old. Please check this page to read about Lifey and if you have any ideas for how to get her into the United States, Wendy would love to hear.

Lifey’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Loveforlifey

Lifey’s video, also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=255024897844786&oid=180585791997638&comments


Simon Says…

cat with three legs

Simon Says...

What are you looking at?

Simon is another incredible rescue I’ve met recently.

Animals are amazingly adaptive when it comes to changes in their bodies. Simon was a stray being fed outside by a couple in a rural area next to a farm as they tried to determine if he belonged to someone. Unfortunately he came back one day dragging a trap on his leg.

He spent a month in the veterinary hospital while the veterinarian valiantly tried to save the leg, but it just kept breaking again and again. Simon was in extreme pain, so they decided to remove the leg.

cat with three legs

Simon waves his tail.

He came home the day after the amputation surgery and walked around as if nothing had happened except that he now had a slightly altered gait. He also had no problem being an indoor cat after that experience.

No one knows where Simon came from, and it’s sad to think what would have happened to him had he not felt comfortable with the couple who was giving him food and shelter outdoors. But he’s got a loving home now and a long life ahead of him.