Cats with Disabilities and Burns
Justin, Philadelphia, USA
Caffrey, Woking, England
Gracie aka Amazing Grace, Kansas, USA
found alight in Philadelphia
Justin was found severely burned one day in late April 2013 by a good Samaritan in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. The tiny, 5-week-old baby, weighing just a pound (450 grams), had been doused with an accelerant and set on fire in fact was still burning when found by his rescuer, who smothered the fire with a jacket. The Pennsylvania SPCA looked for whoever burned the kitten, and there was a substantial reward offered by HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), but unfortunately the perpetrator was never found and brought to justice.
Justin received medical attention at Crown Veterinary Specialists, an emergency and specialist vet practice, to deal with the burns he had over about a third of his body, mostly on his head and back, and then was cared for by the Animal Alliance of New Jersey. He responded well to treatment, started to show his mischievous side, began to put on weight and was expected to make a good recovery in due course; however much of his pinnae (ears) had to be removed and bald patches are likely to remain on his back. His story became known worldwide, such that his medical bills were not only paid for but well exceeded: they paid for his ongoing return to full health, neutering and still left some over for Animal Alliance of New Jersey to put towards other deserving cases. Animal Alliance initially provided updates on Justin's progress at their Facebook page; many offers to rehome him were received, but first he was fostered by one of his veterinary carers.
By late July 2013 he had a new loving home in New Jersey with a lady known as Kelley, and his own, very much visited Facebook page (see links below) to take up his story and progress. His fur has regrown and, other than his damaged ears, he is hard to recognise as the same cat that suffered the terrible burns. Justin's story and his Facebook page frequently added to and written as though by Justin himself, who calls himself 'Jman' have done much to help, and raise awareness of, other feline victims.
The Star-Ledger comprehensively covered Justin's story through to his adoption with articles, photo galleries and video clips, and these are listed first.
While Oscar has bionic back paws, and Anakin was born without back legs, Caffrey of Woking, in Surrey, England, has a different problem. And a very unusual one he's lost two legs, but both on the same side! The black Persian, aged about 13 in 2013, lost his left back leg to a car accident ten years ago that also caused some damage to the front leg on that side. However, after operations costing around £3500 (more than 5000 US dollars), he recovered well and lived a full life with just the three legs.
But then early in 2013 Caffrey developed a malignant growth on the damaged front left leg; owner Sue Greaves faced the choice of putting him down, which she couldn't bear, or subjecting him to chemotherapy and all its unpleasantness, with no guarantee of success. Or was there a third possibility? Against the advice of several vets, who felt he would be unable to walk and would have little quality of life, the offending leg was amputated, leaving the cat with just his two right legs. Expected to spend weeks recovering after the £4000 operation, Caffrey amazed everyone by cracking the balance problem in just a few days; and now there's no stopping him! Mail Online has the story and a short clip showing him in action (also at YouTube).
Gracie aka 'Amazing Grace'
the two-legged kitten from Kansas
Gracie was born on a Kansas farm, where normally the cats live outdoors and in the barns and catch rodents for their food: but that would have been impossible for Gracie, who was born without front legs. She was noticed, rescued and adopted by Ken and Karen Warnken. Like the other so-called 'deformed' cats described, Gracie of course didn't realise she was disabled; she hopped around like a little kangaroo, or perhaps a rabbit, and was able to climb to some extent she went up and down stairs and played and chased around just like any other kitten, often using her front 'nubs' for balance, although she found carpets easier to cope with than linoleum. In early 2012 Karen said that Gracie was 'a beautiful, loving cat', did 'almost anything any other cat does', that she 'never had pain from her handicap' and was 'healthy and happy'. And this was plain to see! see the videos linked below.
In March 2013, however, Karen announced that Gracie, who we think was then about 6 years old, had been diagnosed with incurable liver disease. Her family hoped for a miracle and that she'd be with them for a while longer. For a few months it seemed Gracie was holding her own and doing well, but then she had a relapse and sadly lost her battle towards the end of September 2013.
The only details known about Gracie come from three video clips available at YouTube and comments made there by her owners, and we have also been unable to trace any photos. The images used in our account are stills from these clips.
See also these further pages:
Oscar, the Bionic Cat
Burn victims Bernice (Wisconsin) and Dutchess (Illinois)
Anakin the two-legged cat
Oskar the blind kitten
Mog, the swimming cat
Scarlett, Blaze Heroine