This is why we call Cassidy our #MiracleKitten. <3His rescue story: TinyKittens.comPosted by Tinykittens on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
With his amazing will to live, Cassidy, the ‘miracle kitten,’ has captured the hearts of people all over the world, after his story was featured on Good Morning America, Fox and TV stations across Europe and Japan.
But all the paw-parazzi and fame isn’t going to his head, jokes Shelly Roche of Tiny Kittens Society who has been Cassidy’s mom, nurse, physio and occupational therapist since rescuing him from the brink of death when he was nine weeks old.
“He never gives up, and I think that has resonated with a lot of people,” said Roche. She let The Times meet the furry celebrity last Wednesday.
The video, which Roche made of Cassidy trying out his tiny wheelchair for the first time went viral on the internet. It showed the kitten’s determination and spirit.
“People who watched him who use wheelchairs themselves, felt a kinship with Cassidy and some said ‘if he can do it, so can I.’
“Some now keep a picture of Cassidy on their wheelchair,” said Roche.
Born to a feral mom in a cat colony in rural Langley, tiny Cassidy lost his back legs shortly after birth. His dad is someone’s un-neutered pet.
Cassidy, named after Hopalong Cassidy, spent the first weeks of his life fighting to live. By the time he was rescued, he had nearly starved to death and his depleted body had stopped fighting an E. coli infection in both stumps, said Roche. To this day, the trauma of his beginnings still mark his body with white hairs that cover the top of his fur. Roche said eventually the white will grow out and return to black.
When she rescued him, she rushed him to an emergency veterinarian who told her the tuxedo kitten could not survive and must be euthanized.
Despite the grim prognosis, Roche knew he deserved a chance.
“We wanted to give him a chance to fight and look at him now. I hope when people see Cassidy and how happy he is, it shows that every life has value,” she said.
“There is this notion that cats are throw-aways. I hope to demonstrate they are much more.”
Roche has faced a number of challenges over the years, fostering dozens of litters of kittens, some with contagious ringworm, others needing to be bottle fed through the night.
But before Cassidy, she had no experience helping a kitten without hind legs.
Together they are a team, his determined spirit pushes her forward, she said.
And with each passing day, Cassidy is showing the world just how remarkable he is.
When Cassidy’s story first got out, students at Walnut Grove Secondary built him a wheelchair, using their school’s 3D printer.
At the same time, Handicapped Pets Canada provided one that he used up until recently.
Roche is spending a good portion of each day bent over, helping Cassidy learn to use his back legs while strengthening his muscles.
“He has almost outgrown his wheelchair. Right now he is getting good at scooting around.
“I’m working on getting him to flex his knees and use his muscles to hold himself up on his stumps.”
The big question is who is going to provide the miracle kitty’s forever home?
“It’s too early to say, because we don’t know what his needs are going to be for the future,” said Roche.
She’d love to have prosthetics for him, but that may not work. She is looking at possible implants but that’s all still unknown.
He’s crazy about Roche and her three adult rescue cats, which all show great patience with Cassidy’s antics.
All of the pouncing and wrestling can be viewed on the TinyKittens.com live cam, to which more than 220,000 people tuned in last week.
“I think people see Cassidy and see how he embraces his differences and they feel hope.
“Who doesn’t feel a little broken sometimes or different?”
In the meantime, Roche and a growing contingent of compassionate volunteers continue to care for a feral cat colony in Langley, attempting to trap the males, neuter them and return them to the wild.
The group estimates there around 22,000 feral cats in Langley.
“We’ve done 140 spays and neuters in the feral colony, but we need to be higher,” said Roche.
With those 140 operations, more than 1,600 kittens were prevented from being conceived this year.
“We still had kittens this year.
“Our goal is to significantly reduce the number of unwanted kittens born.”
Roche works with Langley Animal Protection Society, and has spearheaded the campaign to build an “Isoasis,” where feral cats can be spayed and neutered, and sick, contagious cats kept in isolation as they’re nursed back to health.
The facility, which will be built on the LAPS campus, is expected to cost about $540,000.
LAPS has committed to provide 60 per cent of the funding for the building, which would be owned by the Township.
Anyone who would like to help Cassidy with his journey, or contribute to any of the other cats in Roche’s care are invited to make a donation at tinykittens.com/ donate.