Rescuer Mel Lamprey celebrated the first birthday of Tulip, “the cutest T-Rex/kangaroo/bobblehead” meerkat foster. She was a little angel born with a condition affecting her front legs as well as a “giant personality.”
Lamprey knew from experience that this little flower could have a happy and fulfilled life given the care she needed.
At first, the rescuer believed the kitten had radial hypoplasia. Cats with this condition may have underdeveloped legs that prevent full mobility. But they manage to get around just fine, sometimes standing upright like kangaroos!
Lamprey successfully treated another kitten named Quill’s legs with a range of therapies. So she prepared immediately to do the same for this little one.
Tulip Has Radial Aplasia
In an update, Lamprey explained that X-rays showed Tulip had Radial Aplasia, not Radial Hypoplasia.
“Tulip’s X-rays showed that she suffers from Radial Aplasia, vs Radial Hypoplasia. So, she’s missing her radius in both front legs entirely. In Radial Hypoplasia, where the bone is there but twisted, if we get to the kitten in time we can usually manipulate the legs into a good position through splinting and therapy. (As you might remember, we did successfully in foster Quill!) In Radial Aplasia, there isn’t much that can be done other than therapies to strengthen the body in support of the way the cat will ‘walk.’”
A risky surgery was ruled out, but nevertheless, she can still have a happy life. Her therapy would be lots of toys to play with, exercise, and lots of love. She didn’t know she was different and believed she was a cheetah moving remarkably fast. She became “frightfully good,” standing on her back legs and developed amazing core strength.
“So, Tulip will live her life perfectly imperfect, a high energy and happy little girl who doesn’t know she is different and approaches life with complete excitement and curiosity. We just love her to death and know that we’ll find her perfect forever home when she’s ready,” she wrote.
Tulip Blooms in Foster Care
Tulip plays and has fun like any kitten but with “perfectly imperfect flipper arms.” By late August, she was ready to find a forever home.
Answers to common Tulip questions:
1. She can easily stand on her back legs for minutes at a time, and take about 5-7 steps on them.
2. She has incredibly strong back legs for jumping. (Think high kangaroo jumps)
The Purrfect Ending
Then one happy day, Tulip found her forever home, and her new mom cried tears of joy to adopt her. She was about to turn one year old. Now, she would continue to have everything she needed and a kitten sibling to play with. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye for Mel and Zane too. But since they cared for her, she will live her best life, and the rescuers could continue to save special needs cats who wouldn’t make it without them.