Sometimes Facebook can do amazing things. As with many things in life, animal rescue is all about networking–getting the right pets in front of the right people so they can find a foster or adoptive home. Look through Facebook and you will find dozens of pages dedicated to helping get the right animals in front of the right people, helping to save lives and transfer cats from shelters and animal control facilities not equipped to handle them to smaller rescue organizations that can. Such was the case with a now four month old special needs kitten.
The kitten, now named Pip, was born with deformed legs which prevent him from walking on his paws. Instead he walks around on his elbows. “The bones are formed in a way that prevents them from straightening. He moves around in a sort of army-crawl, using his “elbows” to hold up his front”” says Elizabeth Frick, Director of Tenth Life, the shelter caring for Pip. Thanks to the power of Facebook Pip managed to find his way from Nebraska all the way to Tenth Life, a small cat shelter in St. Louis, Missouri. Tenth Life is a small cats only shelter that focuses “on felines with extreme medical needs or ongoing health conditions that make it difficult for typical shelters and rescues to afford their care.”
Frick saw a posting about Pip, then named Whiskers, from Cats Cradle, the shelter housing Corky, another famous cat with deformed legs. A shelter in Kearney, NE was trying to help the young lady who found Pip. The shelter was unable to provide the care Pip needed, so they turned to Facebook to find a shelter who could. Luckily for him Tenth Life stepped up to help Pip and with the support of two volunteers and a number of donors (who chipped in to pay for gas) Pip was able to take his first road trip and get a new chance at life.
As for Pip, he doesn’t seem to notice there is anything different about him. He runs around playing just like any other four month old kitten, as you can see in the YouTube video below. “People should realize that he is not in need of pity – this is a tenacious little cat with so much bravery and love for life that his disability does nothing to slow him down. He’s incredibly happy. When picked up, Pip purrs loudly and nuzzles the human. He even uses his little front paws to stroke your face!”
Frick says that right now there are no treatment options for Pip. “We consulted with an orthopedic specialist at Mizzou’s veterinary school, who very confidently said that surgery was not appropriate at this point in Pip’s life. He gets around fine, he’s not in pain or discomfort” she says. He will need to be monitored as he grows, to make sure there is no discomfort or pain. Frick says while there may be a chance of surgery in his future, right now Pip is happy, healthy and active. Which is all anyone, including a kitten can ask for. Lucky for Pip there are so many people willing to help him out.
There are the people at Leggins for Lifewho “created custom-crocheted leggings for Pip, to help protect his joints from the abnormal use they get.” According to Frick Pip is still getting used to them. Of course we can’t forget all the wonderful people who helped get Pip to where he is. Anne Meyer and Jennifer Masters who met halfway between Kearney, NE and St. Louis to get Pip to his new home. Anne drove from St. Louis to Kansas City and back again in the same day just to make sure Pip was in the best hands possible.
Pip’s story can serve as an inspiration to us all. Not just this amazing kitten’s thirst for life an ability to “overcome” his disadvantage; also the power of people working together, using social media to make a difference in the lives of animals. Pip’s story is an illustration of just how powerful social media can be, how powerful animal rescue communities can be. Perhaps most importantly though, its the story of how powerful love and the desire for life can be!