Butterbean kitten is originally from Florida. He was left at a county shelter where a volunteer did her best to care for him and find him a home. His hind legs are both deformed, one permanently bent, the other one sticking out and straight. He is incontinent. But is he all purrs and smiles and loves everyone he meets. Where to find a home for such a kitten?
On www. handicappedpets.net of course!
We saw Butterbean's story and contacted the people in Florida. Transport was arranged and Butterbean came to live at Bendy's Home.
It was originally thought that Butterbean would need to have his tail and hind legs amputated, but once here it was clear that he knew they were his. Unlike nerve-dead limbs, he was not biting them and injuring himself. Instead he groomed them. At first we could not get the stiff leg or tail to move at all, but with warm water baths and gentle physical therapy his joints began to relax. Over the course of a just a couple weeks he gained some involuntary movement in his limbs. After several months he is beginning to move his legs a tiny bit on his own. His tail has made the fastest recovery, he will flick it out of the way of being grabbed, if it is patted, and will put it up to avoid running water. Instead of leaking urine, he began to have some control over his stream. Whenever he sees the sink, he pees.
He gets two baths a day, which he cooperates with very well.
The biggest challenge as with any incontinent animal, is keeping him clean to avoid urine scald and urinary tract infections. Expressing his bladder to keep it empty is also a big part of infection control.
He scoots around by pulling himself with his front legs. When he first arrived he was not very strong, as he was used to being carried. He can scoot around very effectively now. My hope for him is that he will get enough control of his hind legs to keep them from getting stuck on things. We are experimenting with different 'cart' ideas. Just having a slippery diaper is a big help to him. Another idea is a plant dolly, so he will have wheels. Just have to experiment with attaching him to it.
Butterbean, showing his stiff leg. Butterbean loves to snuggle.