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.
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: