Our Cat with Feline Radial Hypoplasia

little buddy gold eyes5blue2 copy

Little Buddy

Awaiting dinner, notice my long sweeping whiskers!

Little Buddy, flattered by green

Little Buddy, flattered by green

Update: It’s with a heavy heart that I have to say, Little Buddy went to the Rainbow Bridge on September 19, 2014. He was almost 19, and had lived a long and mostly healthy life bringing joy to all our family. We are holding him close in our hearts. I can only hope his story here will help other special needs kitties find homes. Thanks to everyone, here and on other sites, for your kind expressions of sympathy.

Little Buddy, our cat with radial hypoplasia (RH), travels close to the floor. He is nearing 19 years of age. In 1995, my late Mom found a stray cat, along with her two kittens, living in her shed. This tuxie momcat had an elegant face with a white stripe down her nose. Her extra toes put her over the typical feline toe count, making her a polydactyl. One kitten, a tabby, had regular feet. The other kitty had radial hypoplasia, a condition in which the radial bones fail to generate, resulting in bent forelegs. Also known as agenesis radius, most of the literature indicates it’s a rare expression of the polydactyl gene. These cats usually learn to walk on their elbows, crouched, with a rocking and crablike gait. Mom had the momcat spayed, and later found good homes for this sweet cat and her typically-footed kitten. Mom was told the RH kitty was less likely to be adopted. So when she walked into the house hand-carrying him, setting him down carefully, he was with us for keeps. Little Buddy proceeded to captivate us all with those big gold eyes. He became a master snuggler.

Little Buddy was examined by two vets; Mom took him out of town to see a veterinary orthopedic specialist who had an interest in doing surgery on RH cats to straighten the bent front legs. The consensus of vet opinion was that Little Buddy was not in pain and had sufficient mobility as he was, therefore surgery was an unnecessary risk. Now that there are more radial hypoplasia kitties being cared for in homes you’ll see some pet parents who opt for surgery, and some who don’t. I’m not saying one approach is better than another. Every case is different, and RH cats should always be examined by a number of veterinarians. If the first vet seems really quick to recommend euthanasia on the basis of the condition alone, without in-depth evaluation, insist on gathering other opinions.

lbexploringcolor2

Household explorer.

Little Buddy sleeping next to Budster

Little Buddy sleeping next to Budster

Little Buddy is also polydactyl, with six toes on each hind foot. His wide back paws and  long hind legs are very strong and help compensate for his lower functioning front legs. As a young cat, he was bold, adventurous, and skilled at climbing and jumping. We kept finding him reclining on top of the refrigerator. To get there he had to leap up shelf by rack until he was on a high enough plateau to jump over to the fridgetop. We tried to always lift him down from any high place, to prevent him from making the hard landings RH cats can have if they jump down themselves. He moved with astonishing speed, especially when he was on a fast-waddle dash out the door, into the wild green yonder. Who knew he’d be quicker than we were? Once out, he’d hesitate long enough for one of us to grab him and bring him inside. He had no concept of being limited. He was the picture of “bright eyed and bushy-tailed” with his gold irises and floofy black fur. Mom had her house carpeted throughout to give him walking and running traction. He was more active than any of her other cats!

Hind foot with toes galore!

Hind foot with toes galore!

This links to an essay about black cats featuring more photos of Little Buddy: https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

The literature indicates that radial hypoplasia appears to be associated with polydactyl genes, although other causes noted are in utero events, such as mineral deficiencies. http://www.vetbook.org/wiki/cat/index.php/Radial_agenesis. RH cats are also known as ‘squittens’, and ‘twisty cats’; they are now being adopted by caregivers who make social media pages for them, and write articles supportive of these cats. But there’s also a boatload of misunderstanding about them. Negative comments have turned up,  including speculation that RH cats exist in the stray and feral population due to escapees from breeding programs. In my opinion that’s false. To the best of my knowledge there may have been one breeding episode in the past, but searches of Internet and general media do not turn up any breeding programs currently ongoing. I don’t say this to argue with anyone, but to establish a comforting truth. I personally believe that RH cats turn up naturally in randomly breeding feline populations. Little Buddy is an example of such a cat. His tabby sister had typical legs and feet. His polydactyl momcat and his own feet may be evidence of the association with polydactylism. This trait was noted to occur at a rate of less than ten percent of cats in most areas by Stephen Budiansky (The Character of Cats: the Origins, Intelligence, Behavior, and Stratagems of Felis Silvestris Catus, p. 53). It’s more common in or near seacoast areas, because polydactyls were favored for ships’ cats. There are also photos on social media of RH kitties’ hind feet that look like our cat’s, with six or more toes. Over the years two more RH kittens have turned up locally. Both were homed; there are no doubt others I haven’t heard tell of. In those cases and some described on the Internet, the RH kittens’ siblings had routine leg formations. There is no frequency data that I can find at this time, but we see RH cats mentioned more often these days. I believe this is because many humans have become more educated, more active and more caring regarding animals. RH cats may not survive in the wild; as neonates, they may have difficulty milk treading, and if they survive that stage they may not be able to defend themselves in the outdoors. More people doing TNR means more of these kittens are discovered, raised, and homed along with their littermates. Another factor is that RH cats found in previous years may have been euthanized immediately by persons who thought they could not have normal lives. Both those factors, lack of survival in the wild plus early ‘euthanasia’ of those who did survive, would blur the true rate of random occurrence in nature.

Now we know that the less severely affected cats like Little Buddy can have great lives with a committed caregiver. Sadly, some kill shelters likely still label these cats and kittens “unadoptable”, kill them immediately and never give them a chance to be adopted. Not only would that also obscure the real number of RH cats born, it’s just not necessary because these cats are adoptable. RH cats are a very small subset of the polydactyl population, but I see so many social media pages now devoted to them, in both the US and UK, that I expect they turn up more frequently than is generally known. I personally think that NO healthy or treatable animals should be killed; I also think the RH cats and other special needs animals should not be killed. Certainly no one should be breeding cats for this trait; but those RH cats who already exist can be cared for. We’ve managed with Little Buddy for nearly 19 years. There are people out there who will adopt them and provide special care.

Tips on how to care for an RH cat:

– Get a number of veterinary opinions about your cat and his/her chances of living a pain-free life. It’s best to include an orthopedic specialist. Part of the orthopedics determination about Little Buddy was made through observing his walk. I would suggest that observing your cat’s demeanor while he/she walks is important, too.

– RH cats can’t be outdoor cats, or even indoor-outdoor. They can only go out in the company of a human and with close supervision, and only if there is access to a completely safe area such as a fenced-in yard.

– Watch their forelegs carefully for any signs of sores and abrasions. If this occurs, protective covering can be fashioned. Although skin toughens up as a kitten becomes an adult, it’s best to keep up inspections. Any covering will have to be changed frequently and the limb checked to see that the garment itself doesn’t cause abrasion.

– Lift the kitties down when they get into high places, whenever you see them. Making a carpeted ramp can help for high spots the cat might insist on reaching frequently. Or, make a cushioned floor area near those enticing summits, since there will be mountain climbing when humans are absent. Access to high places can be also be avoided by re-arranging the furnishings the cats use as “steps” to climb to those high areas.

– If you live on more than one level, prevent access to stairs with barriers that RH cats cannot breach.

– Tend the litterbox(es) often because RH cats may not be as agile about avoiding whatever is already in the box. You’d want to do this anyway.

– A larger than usual litterbox is helpful for RH cats; it also helps if the box has low sides.

– Rugs and carpets will help provide traction for walking. That said, when we had to urgently transport Mom’s cats to our home because of a tornado, Little Buddy scampered easily on the uncarpeted surfaces. Your RH cat’s results may differ. It’s all about finding what works for your individual kitty.

– Little Buddy is a sturdy character who kept the upper paw in both our multi-cat households. Nevertheless, having an RH cat in a multi-cat household means staying alert to inter-cat dynamics.

– Be extra careful about stepping around in the house yourself, in case the cat is underfoot. We cat caregivers do this anyway, but with an RH cat, it’s even more important.

littlebuddyexpects canned food2

Those eyes!

Little Buddy has lived a normal cat life, and he’s been beautiful and contented. As an elderly cat, he has now moved into the phase of life in which he has the same ailments as other older kitties. His in-depth story is part of my upcoming book and I hadn’t intended to excerpt part of it for this blog. However, seeing an increase in the numbers of radial hypoplasia cats on the web caused me to post these experiences. I wanted to get the message out there for all those individuals and animal advocates who may find RH cats like Little Buddy: this condition is manageable, and these cats can do just fine in homes with humans who accommodate their special needs. Like all cats, with the right care and understanding, they make sweet and loving companions. Little Buddy is a glorious pet!

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About Catwoods

I'm a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
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99 Responses to Our Cat with Feline Radial Hypoplasia

  1. abetterman21 says:

    Little Buddy is indeed the best! Good post.

    Like

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  4. Sharon says:

    I have just read your story on your beautiful cat Buddy and it has given me great hope ,Also having a cat with Radial Agenesis , he is 3 years old and has been under a vet for his general wheel being , but we have just been in contact in regards to having him fitted to a wheel chair .I will pass on your notes and information to help further understand the condition and there every day needs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Sharon, thank you! I’m always happy when our Little Buddy’s story helps another kitty! And thank you for caring for a special needs cat. I’m glad you have him under a vet’s care as every cat and every case of radial agenesis differs. Wishing you and your cat all the best!

      Like

  5. I enjoyed hearing about your Little Buddy. I didn’t know much about RH before, so very educational too. He lived a good life to make it to 19. Anyway, just wanted to comment that his polydactyl condition reminded me of the Hemingway cats I visited at their beautiful chateau in Key West. Hemingway actually willed the house and property to his many polydactyl cats and it was so fun to visit them in their home. Check it out – here’s a starter page: http://www.hemingwayhome.com/cats/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed our Little Buddy’s story, Bonnie. Though he was with us for a long time, we still miss him every day. I loved your photos and I look forward to exploring your site further when more time opens up for me. Thank you for the link about the Hemingway cats. I had heard of them but haven’t visited – that must have been a great destination to visit indeed! I’ll also look around further at the Hemingway home site. I believe a sea captain gave Hemingway the first polydactyl cat. Polydactyls were favored on ships, and are more common in seacoast areas.

      Like

  6. Stacey Ann says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! Thank you for this information. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks, Stacey Ann, for your kind words. We still miss Little Buddy every day. I’m happy to be able to write about what great pets RH cats, and other special needs pets, can be. I enjoyed visiting your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Carolina says:

    hi! I’m Brazilian and I’m feeling so excited reading your text, because I have a cat with the same condition. I adopt my cat already adult, so I have no idea of his past, and the veterinary can’t tell me nothing about his legs (I discovered the RH reading Internet pages like yours). I’m sure you cat had a amazing life, full of love. If you had other information about RH it would be great for me. Sorry my English. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your kind words about my Little Buddy, Carolina. I admire you for adopting a special needs cat. You can find many articles by searching “feline radial hypoplasia”. Some are more technical than others, and some relate every day experiences. There are also many Facebook pages now about RH cats.

      Like

  9. pascalleah says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, HIS story, and the information. Condolences and blessings to you and your family – we miss them forever. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. my empathy and sympathy for your loss

    Liked by 1 person

  11. RMW says:

    I never heard of RH before, truly fascinating. One of my cats has an extra small paw on both front feet and several extra webbed claws… he walks like a penguin but that doesn’t stop him from running!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you, RMW, for telling me about your kitty! Our Little Buddy could also run, and pretty fast. Cats have no concept of limitations and just move when the impulse comes!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. chattykerry says:

    Buddy had an amazing life and what a wonderfully informative blog. We have had/have many cats, most of whom we have had to euthanize when they got old and sick. Currently we have Zhenny who is F1 feral from Egypt and mentally ill – really! She is impossible to handle and I have taken her home from veterinarians to die but somehow I manage to keep her alive. She is 13 (very old for a feral), healthy at the moment and as crazy as a loon. The vet suggested I give her Xanax. My response was, “How do you suggest I do that – with a blow dart?” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you, Kerry, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I admire you for taking in a difficult feral! We’ve had some ferals too, who eventually became friendly but only with those of us in the household. LOL about the blow dart! Sometimes you can pill a cat by placing the pill inside a small amount of canned food, but that doesn’t always work as some cats know that pill is in there and will not eat it!

      Like

      • chattykerry says:

        LOL! Pills – crushed, in gourmet pate, salmon – none of it works. The vet has to give them massive injections of painkiller, antibiotics and/or steroids before we leave. The only silver lining is that they have very few teeth now and can’t run as fast. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Dog Mom Days says:

    OMG. I am SO shocked! My Joey has radial hypoplasia (both front legs) and I’ve never seen another cat with it! I adopted Joey from a cat sanctuary after he was in foster care for a year. He’s SO loving and wonderful. He acts like any other “normal” cat! I wish more people would see past animals’ disabilities. I’m so sorry to hear Little Buddy passed. He had such a long amazing life! It’s good to know that a cat with this disability can live so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m happy to hear that you have given a home to a cat with RH, Dog Mom Days! So nice to hear about your Joey! I had heard of two other RH cats over they years in our location, and was surprised to see that there are many who have facebook pages now.

      Like

  14. Thank you for sharing Little Buddy’s story. He was a special furry friend 🙂 I’ve had a lot of cats none that needed extra care. After the last of my family cats passed we took in an 18 year old forever foster. I never thought anything about taking in an older cat (I’ve had a ton of seniors). I’m finding animal lovers congratulate me for taking in a senior other people are like – why? It’s nice to know there are special people like you that take in our furry friends that need extra TLC. A lot of the times they can live good lives like ‘regular cats.’ The world needs more people like you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comment! So nice to feel appreciated! Good on you for taking in a senior kitty! We’ve had many cats live into their senior years and they are such sweeties at that age. I think it’s so sad when a senior pet loses a home and if I was able to adopt at the moment I would certainly take a senior!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing I was scared about was vet bills but Leia’s human family is paying for that. I’ve had 17 cats live till their senior years and my god that cost a lot. If I adopt I’d go younger – anywhere from 3-7 years just so I could get pet insurance this time around. I did find a way to still help my senior fur buddies. I can foster through a non profit – some pay for vet bills and we’d pay for food, litter and other stuff. I know the older ones tend not to get adopted. Have a really soft spot for older animals because most my guys lived very playful lives until the last year or last few months. I miss them everyday. Stories like yours make me happy knowing that there are caring people out there 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Catwoods says:

          I know the costs do mount up when kitties become seniors! We’ve been fortunate in having vets who would do payment plans, or reduce costs in some cases. Sounds like you are fostering and helping lots of kitties, and it does my heart good to hear that!

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Catwoods says:

    Reblogged this on Catwoods Porch Party and commented:

    We’re well into kitten season! Rescuers may find a few radial hypoplasia cats, so I’m reposting my article about our late, spirited little RH kitty, Little Buddy. It tells some of his story and includes tips for caring for these special needs pets.

    Please click on the link below to see an adorable RH black cat who is up for adoption! He’s located in Michigan.

    https://www.dearbornanimals.org/2015/05/unique-challenges/

    Like

  16. joyful2bee says:

    Thank you for an amazing story about your amazing cat, Buddy! Your insights and knowledge into this feline genetic malformation were most interesting and educational!

    I have a black one who looks like Buddy. She however has asthma. Your article has inspired me to write the article I have been thinking about writing to educate others about feline asthma!! Thank you for being such a wonderful example of a loving, compassionate, educated and amazing cat mother!! Is there a support group for cats like Buddy? The one for feline asthma that I found has been a godsend for me!! If there isn’t one, you should start one!

    Your love of Buddy was deeply felt through your writing. Losing our furbabies is something we all think about and we wonder how our lives would be without them. So sorry for your loss.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks, joyful2bee, for your comment, and for your sympathy on the loss of our Little Buddy kitty. It’s always so hard to say goodbye.
      You’ve made me feel appreciated, which is always a great feeling! I think it’s a wonderful idea for you to write an article on feline asthma – let me know when you do – and I’m glad you’ve found a support group. Wishing you great success in managing your kitty’s condition!
      So far, I have not found a support group online for RH cats, although there are some articles around, and many facebook pages by individuals who have RH cats.
      A support group is a good idea but I couldn’t take on the enormous task of being admin to a group at this time, due to chronic health problems of my own which are worsening. I’m barely keeping up with present obligations.
      This article, along with the further information about Little Buddy and RH cats in a book about our cats I’ve written and hope to bring out in the next few months, will have to be my contribution. I’m hoping that showcasing our cat’s long and happy life will be a help somehow in raising awareness that special needs pets can do well with the right care.

      Like

  17. leemalerich says:

    Had not heard of this problem, but am sure he lived a full and respectable life! After my Mouse died at 17, our next kitty has a permanent third eyelid over one of her eyes. She does not know any difference and is a happy girl.

    What is sad about this story is that you had a love for 19 years, and now he is gone. Terrible.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your kind and understanding words, leemalerich. We do miss our little guy, and I still catch myself expecting to see him around the house. So sorry about the loss of your Mouse! It is hard to lose them after having them for so many years.
      Good for you, giving a home to a kitty who is a little different; those kitties are a little extra precious!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Cate says:

    Very sorry for your loss. This post is a beautiful blend of education and personal essay. Thank you!

    Like

  19. foguth says:

    I loved this memorial to Little Buddy. You were very fortunate to get to spend 19 years with him. Rom was our ‘Little Buddy’, in that we thought of him as ‘the greatest cat ever’, unfortunately we lost him a few years ago, when he was 16.5. I know that you will hold Little Buddy in your hearts, they way we still hold Rom.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      I appreciate your kind words about Little Buddy, foguth. We are indeed grateful to have had him for so long. I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your Rom. They do stay in hearts forever.

      Like

  20. I’ve never heard of this condition before- This is a wonderfully educational and inFURmative post! I’m so thankful you helped those kitties and kept Buddy fur yourself- You’re a very smartty (and sweet) Kitty mom! *((purrs))*

    Like

  21. susanpots says:

    Sorry for your loss. Little Buddy was fortunate to find such a loving family. Sounds like your relationship was 2-way: you both gave and you both benefited from being together.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your kind words of sympathy, susan. Little Buddy and the other cats have all helped keep us enormously happy, beyond what I can ever describe. I can’t imagine living without them.

      Like

  22. sandradalton says:

    What a cutie! It is good to hear his success story. He must be very missed. Thank you so much for sharing all this very educational information!

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m happy to get this information out to everyone, especially those who are rescuing animals and might find these kitties. We’re still brokenhearted missing this little guy. Thank you for visiting and commenting, sandradalton.

      Like

  23. dogdaz says:

    What an incredible story. I learned so much. You were blesses with this big footed guy. Thanks.

    Like

  24. Kev says:

    Bless him! and he’s so beautiful as well. Very much like our Rico.. he’s a rich black. No matter what, you’re a purrrfect kitty little buddy! 🙂

    Like

  25. doddsjzi says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I am sorry to hear of Little Buddy’s passing and enjoyed reading about him.

    Like

  26. lbellucci111 says:

    I know all about cats stealing your heart. Want to go read “Meow’s Way” at smashwords.com?

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Well, sure, I’d be interested in reading it, but it will be a long time as I have a heavy schedule ahead of me. I’m also not set up to use smashwords. Thx for your comment.

      Like

  27. Bernadette says:

    Catwoods, I totally missed this post. What a wonderfully unique house panther. I’ve never actually seen this condition. I’m so glad it was you who found him.

    I’m also hoping this time I’ll actually be signed up to get posts from you!

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Bernadette, thank you for your kind words! Finding him meant good fortune for all of us. Sadly, we lost Little Buddy about a week ago; I just haven’t posted about it yet. He lived a long happy life and brought much joy to our family.

      I hope you will be able to get the posts. If you have more trouble, let me know. I don’t know anything about tech myself, but I’ll be glad to ask about it in the wordpress help forum.

      Like

  28. You have educated me! Thank you for telling Buddy’s story so well.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you! I’d like to get the word about radial hypoplasia cats out there, and I’m so glad to know when people find the post informative.

      Like

  29. Heidi Marie says:

    My RH kitty is extra special! Willowmena Bobcat has a tail that is bent in 2 places creating a curled look. Luckily, she is only missing one radius bone and one thumb and uses her strong leg for jumping down off of things. I adopted her immediately when I found out they were going to list her on Craig’s List. I knew she would always be cared for if she lived with me. Thank you for the story! Mena’s mama only had 2 kittens in the litter, also. Very interesting. And, finding others on Facebook helped a lot.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for telling me about your RH kitty, Heidi Marie. I’m so glad to find that others have also adopted these special needs cats. Interesting about the litters of two. I love your cat’s name, Willowmena Bobcat. I sometimes called my other cat Bobcat because he’s rather large, although his name is actually MochaBud.

      Like

  30. FLORA says:

    Hello,I am so glad to see so many people that are thoughtful and caring about their kitties.I worked at an animal shelter for 5 years and so many came through the front door that it was appaling and the reasons they gave were just as appaling. I just wanted to comment that my daughter has a 10 year old gray stripped kitty her name is Zelda and she is also a RH baby also polydactyl.From the day she was born we took care of her the best we could and we massaged her front legs and each individual toe because they were horribly twisted and if we hadn’t she wouldn’t have been able to walk. We even put splints on the legs to help the bones correct.Her hind legs were bent backward and she hopped like a rabbit when she ran and could outrun any of us. She has been a indoor -outdoor baby and wouldn’t hear of any other way( very opionionated)She is a pleasure to be around.Thank God for caring and loving animal people.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your comment, FLORA, and for telling about your daughter’s kitty, Zelda. She sounds like a wonderful kitty and it’s so good to hear from caring pet parents of special needs pets! Kudos to you both for the care you have taken to nurture Zelda. Commenting about your experiences also helps get the word out that these animals can be homed and can lead happy lives. All the best wishes going out to you both, and to Zelda.

      Like

  31. cdog5 says:

    This is a fascinating post, Catwoods — I’ve never heard of this condition in cats, and I’m especially grateful to learn about it here. Glad to see Little Buddy getting around so well, having an otherwise normal kitty life … and 19, wow, terrific! Also terrific is that you’re back writing! Welcome back! 🙂

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Cdog5, much appreciation to you for your comment! Little Buddy thanks you too! I’ll still be slow to post due to a complicated ‘to-do’ list, LOL, but hopefully it won’t be too long. All the best to you!

      Like

  32. Thank you for caring for this special creature!!! We have two rescue cats but it’s always hard to figure out who rescued who(m)!

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Lori, thanks for your response. I’m with you, most of our cats have come to us directly from the streets or the woods, and they have chosen to rescue us!

      Like

  33. I have never heard or read anything about this, but it was very informative! How wonderful to have a cat live such a long life!

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you, joeyfullystated! I’ve had several cats live to advanced ages, like 17, and 19 and a half. It’s always a joy to have so many years with a feline friend!

      Like

      • My childhood cat lived to 21, but you don’t hear much about long lives of cats so much as the nine lives of cats. I had to put my beloved Felicity down at 11. Sarcoma. Lost another one, indoor outdoor (had been an abandoned barn cat) and one day she never came back. She was 9. I always hope someone took her, but she was microchipped, so, I dunno. I won’t take in cats who’ve lived outside anymore, because my belief is that if they loved the outdoors, they always long to be outdoors, and it’s just too scary for me.

        Like

    • Catwoods says:

      21 is a grand old age! Indoor vs. outdoor is a difficult question, and no one answer works for every person and every cat. I’ve had some formerly outdoor cats who made the adjustment to indoor quite well and became really happy; it was a long process, and a few were feral, unapproachable at first. Later though, they became lap cats.

      Like

      • She was a lovey girl, laps and all, but she kept escaping every time the door opened, so we took her in to get all the other outdoor shots and let her come and go as she pleased. Seven years might be good for indoor outdoor, I dunno?
        Sounds like you might have a lot of knowledge and wisdom in these matters — and I sure don’t! lol

        Like

        • Catwoods says:

          I’m so sorry that your kitty didn’t come back. That happened to us with one, a long time ago when our cats were indoor-outdoor, and it’s heartbreaking. We found that indoor worked best for us whenever possible, but as you say, it won’t work for every cat. We’ve cared for some ferals so wild that they had to remain outside. LOL, I don’t now about having knowledge and wisdom – nice compliment, thank you! But we do have lots of experience over many decades. I’ve written it all up in a book which I hope to get published, one way or another.

          Like

  34. Gail says:

    I had never heard of RH. Thanks for this excellent information. I had a polydactyl cat for several years, and she was quite a delight. So smart, she learned to open sliding screen doors! In keeping with your “statistics,” she came from Newport, RI.

    Like

  35. animallogic says:

    Animals’ adaptation to practically any situation, medical or otherwise is phenomenal. What a great little cat Buddy is, and 19! Just brilliant! ❤

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  36. Candace says:

    Awww, he’s sweet. And 19, that’s great! Looks like he is having a wonderful life.

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  37. KerryCan says:

    What a fine public service announcement this post was, to help many kitties. And, of course, your beautiful cat is just the right poster child!

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  38. Marc-André says:

    So lucky he found you. And yeah more people need to be aware that it doesn’t matter if your cat has or hasn’t got a disability! 🙂

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      There was good fortune all the way around in finding Little Buddy, for sure! I completely agree with you that ability or disability is not important when it comes to taking in an animal and bonding with him or her. I’d love to see all friendly cats find homes, and all ferals cats find caregivers.

      Like

      • Marc-André says:

        Yep indeed :). We took in a three legged black cat from our local charity. She is just adorable, cute and cuddly (while mad in her own ways sometimes!!! Lol) if we hadn’t taken her she probably would have spend ages at the shelter. Double negative – black and disabled 😦

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        • Catwoods says:

          Good for you for taking the 3-legged black kitty, Marc-Andre! And you are right, the black kitties also are less likely to find homes. While I’m fascinated with cats of all colors and patterns, I find the black kitties especially beautiful.

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  39. ginnietom says:

    19 years is really splendid success * 😉 *…our oldest cat this year went over the rainbow in age of 17+ some month – diseased with dementia and nearly blind…not an easy job. sometimes she fell off the stairs – we pad out anything, including cat net…but she tried to go upstairs until her very last day…
    think Buddy is in good hands, hope he has animal appetite every day – knock on wood… 😉
    overseas greets…

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    • Catwoods says:

      Awwww, I’m so sorry that you lost your kitty, ginnietom. Sounds like she had a strong spirit, and you took loving care of her; I believe cats know you are caring for them and do appreciate it.
      Little Buddy does still eat well, like a little panther in fact.
      Good wishes going out to you!

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  40. Herman says:

    Beautiful post and beautiful cat. Respect!

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  41. Little Buddy is one lucky cat to have found a home with you!! I knew nothing about RH so this was very informative. It is wonderful that he has found a loving home!! Thanks for posting such an uplifting and informative post!

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  42. derrycats says:

    He looks beautiful. Thank you so much for caring for a special kitty!

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  43. Charles Huss says:

    I have heard many stories of cats with disabilities that function quite well. I hope these stories spread to the general public so they will consider them when adopting. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Catwoods says:

      I too am seeing so many stories these days about cats and other pets with disabilities. I’m hoping along with you that this will become really well known. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting!

      Like

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