Ghiradelli Chocolate Drop

Ghiradelli and his sibs were left at the shelter door one cold evening. If a shelter worker hadn't happened to recheck things that evening, the three tiny kittens would have died of cold.

Each kitten had something wrong.
Whitman had a partially healed stump for an arm.
Godiva had an ear nearly torn off.
At first Ghiradelli seemed uninjured, just small and weak. He didn't have the strength to nurse on a bottle, so had to be syringe fed. His coordination was poor and we began to suspect some kind of head trauma. One afternoon, just as he finished eating, he had a seizure. At the vet's office we discovered he had a skull fracture on the left side behind his ear. There was a palpable ridge on his head where there should not have been one.
Despite his injury, he was inquisitive
and had a good appetite, letting me know when he didn't have enough to eat.
Weaning was difficult for him, but with time and patience he caught on.

As he became more mobile, it was clear that his legs would need some help. His right front leg was bowing under, much like Bendy's had. His hind legs bowed out but seemed to work.
To help keep his right front leg straight, he wore a little bendy brace.
He had to learn how to walk in his brace, and he was not happy about it.
He quickly discovered that backwards was easier.

This was not his only challenge, from time to time his legs had a mind of their own, much to his confusion.

Sometimes his legs would just go stiff
or float on their own for no reason
and often his feet were just uncooperative!
His struggles to develop co-ordination, and heal from whatever trauma had happened, put him a little behind his sibs in growth. Here he is next to his brother Whitman who is easily twice his size!

By the time he was three months old, most of the hard work was behind him. He seemed determined to not use a litterbox, preferring the floor next to it. Close observation showed that his hind feet often caught on the edge of the box on his way in, making him fall. No wonder he didn't want to use it! He figured out on his own a way to slowly climb in, but often he just uses the newspaper I leave on the floor next to the box.

His right side remains weak, and he does not have good control of his front paw. When he tries to swat at something, it is a frantic swatting with little or no control. He is aware of this and so tends to go after things with his teeth instead! The right side of his face droops a little, and his right eye is a bit smaller than the left, and crossed. He does not appear to have any trouble seeing.

He certainly does not let his co-ordination problems slow him down! He wrestles and climbs just like any other kitten.

He hasn't forgotten the cuteness lessons Bendy gave him. He will melt when picked up, snuggle next to my face at night, and present his belly for rubbing at every chance.