Born with a severe birth defect that could have cost him his life, Stockings the kitten was unable to walk or even stand.
Found living in a suspected hoarding situation, the kitten was brought to Chicago’s Tree House Humane Society.
“We were taken aback by what we saw,” the shelter posted on their website. “This little kitten was unable to stand or even extend his hind legs.”
With his feet essentially “put on backwards” and his legs fully turned inward, fixed in a “W” position, the kitten got around by scooting on his hind hocks.
When he arrived, the shelter said Stockings was underweight and suffering from the beginning of an upper respiratory infection, but surprisingly had no sores or calluses on his ankles.
“Given the severity of his deformity, and the uncertainty of treatment outcomes, a traditional shelter would most likely have viewed Stockings as a lost cause and simply euthanized him,” Tree House Humane Society wrote on their website. “We, however, believe that Stockings truly deserves to have a chance at a long and happy life.”
Tree House Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Lynda Ewald, consulted with an orthopedic specialist and, after consideration, decided to use a surgical procedure to cut Stockings’ tendons.
The procedure, which was performed on one leg in October, allowed Stockings’ legs to be extended, and his ankles to be placed in their proper position, the shelter said. A splint was then placed to help his legs heal in a straightened position. Stockings’ feet were fused in proper alignment, in hopes that he would one day walk again.
Stockings then underwent a second surgery for his other leg and was placed in foster care with a veterinary technician while he recovered.
The shelter said Stockings’ progress has been “truly remarkable.”
He can now fully extend his left leg, and after two additional surgeries on his right leg, has begun standing and even walking.
Stockings can now stand on his hind legs and pull himself onto the couch, the shelter said.
“He has no fear as he leaps toward a sparkle toy and tosses about tirelessly,” the shelter posted. “It is incredible to see him take a few, tentative steps as he learns to navigate on his new legs.”
Ultimately, Stockings was adopted by his foster mom who “fell in love" while caring for him after his surgeries.