Facing Grim Diagnosis, Determined Kitten Rolls On

////Facing Grim Diagnosis, Determined Kitten Rolls On
Facing Grim Diagnosis, Determined Kitten Rolls On2017-07-24T16:40:38-04:00

Trixie is everything a kitten is supposed to be: adorable, lively, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed. At least at first glance. Take a second look at this sweet, seven-week-old Persian mix and you’ll notice that her hind legs are limp and lifeless. And you’ll wonder, what happened to this little girl?

Bottom line? We don’t know. Although no fractures were seen on her x-rays, a spinal abnormality is the most likely explanation for Trixie’s paralysis. We don’t know whether this is congenital or the result of an injury—though her doctors suspect that injury is the more likely cause.

At this point, Trixie’s right hind leg appears to be useless. But as you watch this spunky little girl pull herself forward, you can see a slight movement in her left hind leg. She’s clearly trying to use it, and it responds, if only a little.

This subtle movement, combined with Trixie’s incredible determination and our talented medical team, gives us hope for her future.

Dr. Philip Litwack, Trixie’s primary veterinarian, says she’s looking at a long, hard road to recovery — at least three to four months, if not longer. “Fortunately, her front legs work great,” he says. “But her right back leg looks quite abnormal. We are providing physical therapy now. Only time will tell how useful that leg will be to her in the future. Also, because of where the spinal abnormality is located, she’s not urinating on her own. So we have to help her express her urine several times a day.”

However, Dr. Litwack remains optimistic. With time and expert physical therapy, he believes that Trixie will acquire significant use of her left hind leg. He’s also hopeful that she’ll be able to urinate on her own and use a litter box. Sadly, he’s less optimistic about her right hind leg, which has suffered nerve damage. “Eventually, I think she’ll be a walking kitten,” he says, “probably a three-legged walking kitten, but mobile and healthy, nevertheless”

Because of her size, Trixie’s rehab presents a unique challenge. Over the years we’ve used many mobility carts for Mutt-i-grees® with problems similar to Trixie’s. But this kitten is so tiny there are no commercially made carts small enough to suit her. So after doing some research, Dr. Litwack built a customized cart for Trixie from K’Nex toys, an Ace™ wrist wrap, and some strategically placed Velcro®. As Trixie grows accustomed to her cart, she’s using her left hind leg more and more, scooting about to investigate her new world. In the meantime, Dr. Litwack is refining her cart’s design, which he calls “a work in progress.”

As we see it, Trixie is also a work in progress. Fundamentally, she has everything an adoptable kitten needs, and everyone who meets her knows that, someday, she’ll be the perfect companion for a very lucky adopter.

But until then, Trixie needs extensive rehabilitation, a lot of TLC, and most likely surgery, so she can live the full and happy life she deserves. That’s why we immediately placed Trixie in our lifesaving Help Me Heal Program. Trixie is proof positive that our no-kill mission makes all the difference for so many animals in need. Without Animal League America, this beautiful kitten — with a future full of love to give — would almost certainly have been destroyed.

Your contribution to our Help Me Heal Program will provide Trixie and others like her with the lifesaving medical care they need to become the loved companions they were meant to be. Please give to this crucial program now.

On behalf of Trixie and all of our shelter pets, we thank you for your continued support of our no-kill mission.

After months of caring for Trixie, Dr. Litwack decided to adopt her, adding to his feline family, which includes four other cats. She now joins Little, Isabel, Curtis, and Brisket, as a member of the Litwack clan.

“She really loves Brisket. Whether it’s lounging around, or playing together on my bed, they spend the most time together. They also like to wrestle. It’s really not a fair battle though, because of the way cats kick with their hind legs. Obviously Trixie can’t do that,” Dr. Litwack said with a laugh. “She likes all of the other cats actually. For the most part they all get along great.”

Doctor Litwack said the most taxing part for him is tending to his cats’ special needs. Although Trixie’s care is the most time-consuming, three of his five felines have ongoing medical issues that require individualized attention, special diets, and constant maintenance. Basically, when Dr. Litwack isn’t performing his veterinary duties inside our medical center, he’s home performing similar duties caring for his own cats.

“My routine for all of them when I first get home takes about 45 minutes,” he said. Throughout the night, I check in on Trixie regularly. Every time she goes to the bathroom, I take her to the bathtub for a quick cleanup and apply diaper rash ointment. I definitely have moments of caretaker fatigue, but I love her and want her with me regardless. I do hope to be able to fix some of her problems. But I’m prepared to continue doing what we’re doing now for her entire life, if that’s what she needs.”

When Trixie isn’t at home with her feline siblings, she’s at Animal League America with her new adopted dad while he tends to other sick and injured Mutt-i-grees®. Because of her condition, she can’t be left at home like the other cats. So, when Dr. Litwack comes in to work, Trixie is in his arms awaiting another day with all of her friends inside our medical center.

Whether Trixie ever gains use of her hind legs, or has control of other bodily functions, this beautiful kitten will always have the love and support of her biggest fan – something we hope all of our adopted Mutt-i-grees® have the chance to experience one day.