Determined Kitten Takes Disability in Stride

A kitten born with a rare deformity was rescued from a hoarding situation and given a second chance at life when he was taken to a no-kill animal shelter.

The weeks-old orange tabby kitten - whom the shelter named Stockings - had hind legs that were turned inward and twisted like a pretzel. He was also underweight and needed treatment for a respiratory infection.

"He had to drag his whole behind, and we knew that was going to be a really difficult way to live," Jenny Schlueter, development director of Chicago's Tree House Humane Society, told ABC Chicago.

The shelter brought in veterinary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Neihaus who decided that Stockings should undergo a series of surgeries to cut the tendons of his back legs so they could be extended and properly aligned.

"If we did nothing, this cat would most likely have been euthanized," he said.

Also see: 7 inspiring dogs with disabilities

The first surgery took place in October and was followed by three more. Priscilla Cherry, a veterinary technician, nursed the kitten back to health.

Cherry often fosters shelter cats, but Stockings won her heart and she decided to give him a permanent home with her and her two dogs.

"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," she said.

The tiny kitten is in good health now and is slowly recovering from his surgery and "taking charge of the household," according to Cherry.

"While Stockings will not have the same range of motion or mobility as other cats, he is an unbelievably resilient and determined little kitten and has gained incredible dexterity in his front legs, which helps compensate for the limitations he has in his hindquarters," according to Tree House's most recent update on the kitten.

Related stories:
Custom leggings help disabled cat walk
Kitten's recovery inspires Facebook fans
Rescued kitten + ferret = An unlikely love story