Recently, a litter of special kittens was found in a Philadelphia backyard. Each kitten had a congenital deformity and yet despite the odds being stacked against them, they were saved and are now in loving foster care. One kitten, Salt Water Taffy (or SWT) was “extra special” since she suffered from radial agenesis. SWT describes her own disorder on her Facebook page as, “It seems I have contracted tendons and missing radial bones in my front limbs!”
This bittersweet story of a little stray kitten with a major congenital malformation struck me as interesting in so many ways:
1. This kitten with what her rescuer called “lobster claws” likely has no idea she is different and she just fights like a champ to get through each day as normally as possible. And her siblings love and cuddle her just the same.
2. Most people would have immediately had SWT and her siblings euthanized, but the person that found the kittens demonstrated St. Francis of Assisi-like compassion and decided to give them a chance.
3. This stray and deformed litter of kittens REALLY beat the odds especially when so many perfectly healthy kittens and cats are euthanized every day. All it took to save these kittens was human caring and compassion – which is then true for all kittens and cats who are at risk for being euthanized. One caring human – and you don’t even have to be a bona fide saint – can make all the difference.
4. What caused this entire litter to have congenital defects? Did mama cat eat tainted food? Was it environmental exposure? Or just the chronic malnourishment of being a stray? I find it odd that every kitten was genetically challenged.
5. The foster family has a big dog, Lena, who seems to understand that something is different about SWT and will “nudge” the kitten along, especially during physical therapy.
To see a photo collection of SWT with her siblings, during physical therapy and with her number one cheerleader, Lena, visit the Buzzfeed website.
After viewing the pictures and considering the above comments, I am interested in what you think. How did this story make you feel? Would you have saved this litter of kittens? Have you ever heard about an entire litter having congenital defects? Do you think SWT can have a “normal” life?