3 Legs, No Prob­lem!

They say it takes a vil­lage, and, in the case of this for­merly feral “tri-pawd” kit­ten, the adage most cer­tainly holds true.

Modern Cat - - Front Page - By Rose Frosek Pho­tographed by Laura Lemieux

Were it not for the kind­ness and in­volve­ment of many, this lit­tle feral kit­ten would have met a sad end. In­stead, we have a cross-bor­der love story with all our favourite el­e­ments: tri­umph over ad­ver­sity, an un­likely meet­ing, a fairy God Mother-like cheer squad, and, ul­ti­mately, the hap­pi­est of end­ings. This is the story of our Star Cat win­ner…

The odds were against Mar­mal­ady from the start. Born on the streets in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, the deck was stacked against her—the threats faced by feral kit­tens are no­to­ri­ously le­gion. Un­for­tu­nately, dis­as­ter, in the form of a car, did in­deed strike. How a tiny kit­ten sur­vives a run-in with a mov­ing ve­hi­cle is a mys­tery, but sur­vive she did, drag­ging her­self off the road and se­cret­ing her­self in the bushes. Two days would pass be­fore the mewl­ing, griev­ously in­jured kit­ten was dis­cov­ered by two lit­tle girls. Hear­ing me­ows, they crawled into Mar­mal­ady’s hid­ing place and care­fully car­ried out the wounded kit­ten.

Mar­mal­ady was then taken to a place that helps cats in need, the res­cue group The Cat House on the Kings (CHOTK), lo­cated just south of Fresno in Par­lier, CA. She was so badly in­jured that the team there were doubt­ful she could be saved, but they took her to the vet re­gard­less. It was de­ter­mined her left front leg would have to be am­pu­tated—the prog­no­sis wasn’t good, but they would try.

Mean­while, more than a day’s drive north across the bor­der in Canada, Laura Lemieux was fol­low­ing the Face­book page of The Cat House on the Kings from her home in Sooke, BC, on Van­cou­ver Is­land. When Laura saw a post about a feral kit­ten that had been struck by a car and was go­ing to have to have her left front leg am­pu­tated, she sent a do­na­tion and con­tin­ued to fol­low the kit­ten's progress; it wasn’t long be­fore Laura re­al­ized she’d fallen for the lit­tle cat. She’d had a dis­abled kitty be­fore and felt she could han­dle the tri­pod sit­u­a­tion just fine. Laura de­cided to sub­mit an adop­tion ap­pli­ca­tion. As it turned out, many peo­ple were fol­low­ing Mar­mal­ady’s story and over 20 oth­ers had also ap­plied.

“I waited and waited,” Laura shares, “and the night be­fore I was to leave on va­ca­tion, I was in­formed I was the suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant. The funny thing was that part of my va­ca­tion was go­ing to be a tour of the CHOTK fa­cil­ity.” Now she was also go­ing to pick up her new cat.

“Our con­nec­tion,” Laura re­ports, “was im­me­di­ate. Pick­ing her up was the best part of my va­ca­tion!”

Mar­mal­ady was to have an in­stant fam­ily. Laura has six other res­cue kit­ties, as well as a ten-year-old Ger­man Shep­herd named Tilly. Mar­mal­ady fit right in and didn't let her dis­abil­ity slow her down one bit.

“Tri­pawds are no dif­fer­ent than a kitty with four legs,” Laura as­serts. “They don’t see them­selves as dis­abled and go about their daily ac­tiv­i­ties just like any other kitty does. I have two tri­pawds and both are miss­ing their left front legs. The only ad­just­ments in my home in­volve some strate­gi­cally placed step­stools to fa­cil­i­tate their get­ting down from things. They have a bit of a limp when walk­ing but I can as­sure you that they run like the wind. Spe­cial­needs an­i­mals just need a bit of con­sid­er­a­tion as to their phys­i­cal needs and then they just carry on.”

Laura has def­i­nitely vastly im­proved Mar­mal­ady’s life, but the favour hasn’t gone un­re­turned. Laura has found her­self the cen­ter of a wider com­mu­nity that ad­vo­cates for feral and tri-pawd cat adop­tion, spay and neuter ini­tia­tives, and res­cue in gen­eral.

“Our vis­i­tors have come from Vi­enna, Aus­tria, Ari­zona, New York, and lo­cally from Van­cou­ver Is­land too,” Laura shares. “I have met up with oth­ers at CHOTK open house events where we pitched in and helped. I’ve made some amaz­ing new friends who also work hard in their com­mu­ni­ties help­ing and vol­un­teer­ing with var­i­ous res­cue agen­cies. Our com­mon bond is our love of an­i­mals and be­lief in help­ing where we can to make a dif­fer­ence in their lives.”

“A lot of peo­ple say that Mar­mal­ady is so lucky that I adopted her,” Laura adds. “I think it’s the other way around. I’m the lucky one.”

when Laura first met Mar­mal­ady

Love at first sight:

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