Picture a cat with a posture similar to a squirrel or a kangaroo. That's what the folks at a Kansas City no-kill shelter have on their hands. They've named the sweet stray kitten Stiles.
"This is very rare," said Wayside Waifs veterinarian Alison Liu. "None of the vets here at Wayside Waifs have ever seen this condition. I've also consulted with a special surgeon who sees a lot of orthopedic cases and she's been in practice for about 10 years and she's never seen one."
Stiles has only a stump for one of his two forearm bones, the radial bone, and only a stump for one of his two wrist bones. Some call cats like him "twisty cats," because of how their front paws twist inward. Others call them "squittens," because of how their standing posture resembles a squirrel.
"It's a congenital abnormality, meaning he was born like that," Liu said.
Stiles is also polydactyl, a more common condition of having extra toes. Stiles has six toes and pads on his hind legs, making them look a little like a duck's feet.
It's undeniably cute to watch him stand like a kangaroo, but when he walks, he uses his wrists and has trouble with gaining traction. It's a situation that can cause pain and ulcerations.
As a result, Wayside Waifs has turned to a volunteer group called Leggings for Life. Participants crochet leggings for dogs and cats with leg problems. The group says the leggings are often more comfortable and more practical than the usual solution of medical tape. They are easier to put on, they breathe and provide traction.
Liu said the staff will be monitoring Stiles closely after the leggings arrive to see if he tries to eat them, which could cause more harm than good.
"Some cats like to eat yarn," Liu said. "The yarn can cause lots of stomach problems."
Stiles stands out not just for his condition but for his demeanor.
Once he recovers from an upper respiratory infection, he can be adopted.
"Stiles is actually one of the most affectionate cats that we have here and is a staff and volunteer favorite," she said. "So he's going to continue to give a family lots and lots of love."
To ensure a good quality of life for him, his adoptive family will likely have to make some minor accommodations in the home, such as carpeting for traction. Regular veterinary check ups will also be especially important since he is prone to arthritis and back strain. For now, however, he seems to have no discomfort and loves being held.
To read more about Leggings for Life and help use your skills with yarn to help animals in need, click here.
Leggings for Life is looking for those willing to crochet in other countries. All the group's work is done via the internet.
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:23:41 GMT
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.The threat for severe weather will continue into Monday.StormsMore >
The National Weather Service said there is a moderate risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:27 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:27:31 GMT
Students are calling the death of a Harrisonville teen a rude awakening. Troopers said 16-year-old Savannah Nash pulled in front of a semi Thursday at Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. Savannah wasMore >
The deadly accident near Harrisonville is an opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about texting and driving, but now several smartphone companies have created apps that could put a stop to some of the dangerous behavior.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:57 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:57:19 GMT
It can be a little disconcerting spotting a wild animal in your backyard, but it's happening more and more lately. People in Mission, KS, said they're seeing coyotes near their homes – something that'sMore >
People in Mission, KS, said they're seeing coyotes near their homes - something that's becoming so common the city is offering advice on how to avoid them.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:52 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:52:00 GMT
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.She is recovering at Children's Mercy Hospital with a broken arm, ruptured ear drum and fractured pelvis. Her family isMore >
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:04:56 GMT
One child was sent to the hospital when a go-cart they were riding in collided with an SUV Saturday afternoon. Police said the wreck happened about 2:30 p.m. in the area of 55th Street and Cambridge Avenue.More >
Two children were sent to the hospital when a go-cart they were riding in collided with an SUV on Saturday afternoon.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:38 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:38:11 GMT
It's the largest Powerball jackpot in history and Saturday night everyone's talking about the record $600 million prize. Locally, a Dearborn couple made Powerball history in November by winning half ofMore >
It's the largest Powerball jackpot in history, and Saturday night everyone's talking about the record $600 million prize.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 6:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:47:09 GMT
Imagine suffering a medical emergency in a foreign country, half a world away. It happened to a man from Overland Park, KS, in Japan. Now, his family is trying to come up with a way to get him home whereMore >
An Overland Park family is trying to raise enough money to get their son back to the U.S. from Japan after he suffered a massive stroke in the other country.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:55:42 GMT
It's a game of skill and chance and the best part is it was designed by two Kansas City natives. Now they're hoping their early success pays off. It may look like just a game, but to Ryan Drews and MaxMore >
A local group of friends have created a new board game they hope to have on store shelves soon. The game's goal is to grow a city and defeat your enemies.More >