Special Need: spina bifida
Every kitten is cute, but Dot is simply irresistible: two pounds of sweetness from the Old Dominion State.
Born in a garage in Virginia, Dot was immediately blessed with angels. From her first rescuers to a devoted foster mama and several hundred Facebook friends, Dot hasn't known a moment without being loved. Dot's biggest adventure began at the dawn of 2012. Just days after we learned of Dot's situation, our two resident paralyzed cats, Tashi and Gabriella, were adopted together. This pair seemed to be passing the torch to the Virginia tabby. And, so, we were thrilled to welcome Dot to Tabby's Place.
But how does a little brown tabby find friends up and down the Eastern seaboard? Dot was born with a bundle of unique traits: she has a "dot" where most cats have tails; she?s as sweet as maple syrup; she has a definite preference for the color blue; and she has a rare condition called spina bifida.
More common in humans than in cats, spina bifida occurs in the womb, when the baby is still in the embryonic stage. Some of Dot's vertebrae are not fully formed. This condition leaves her incontinent, without the use of her hind legs.
But don?t tell Dot she's got any problems. Skittering along with her front legs, Dot blissfully hunts her favorite fuzzy blue toy. Cuddling in your arms, her happy eyes tell you she?s in heaven. Even during medical poking and prodding, Dot has a purr that would put the loudest lioness to shame. Dot has no sense of being different, and she's not about to let anything hold her back.
At four months of age (as of January 2012), Dot is an extremely tiny two pounds. We?ll be starting a physical therapy routine with our brave kitten right away. Starting with exercises to flex and extend her hind legs, this therapy will help to build up muscle tone, and give her a better chance of being able to use those legs to some extent. We will soon order Dot a customized mobility cart (similar to the one modeled by Tashi here). Water therapy will also help to strengthen Dot?s muscles and improve her coordination. It?s fortunate that we?re starting Dot on these adventures so young, as it gives her a great chance of getting used to her exercises and even enjoying this special playtime. Of course, after each physical therapy session, we love to snuggle Dot in a baby-blue blanket and give her all the kisses she craves.
Baby Dot will also receive first-rate nutrition support at Tabby's Place. She?s struggled with diarrhea, so we will adjust her diet and medications until we find the right blend to keep her comfortable. In addition, our gentle and skilled staff will express Dot?s bladder and bowels three to four times each day, which will help to keep Dot comfortable and to prevent infections.
In the near future, Dot will have what will likely be the first of multiple MRIs (a medical imaging technology). This will help us to see whether Dot?s spinal cord is attached to her vertebrae. If it is, Dot will need surgery to release her spinal cord. This will help her to continue stretching as she grows, and may help her nerves to better respond to signals from her brain.
We don?t know exactly what Dot?s future holds, but it?s as bright as her wide green eyes. Whatever baby Dot may need, it is our delight to provide. Dot?s care will be very costly, but we know anything we can offer her is a small fraction of the love and inspiration she lavishes on us.
As Dot?s sponsor, you?ll help this wonder-baby to grow up healthy, happy, loved and strong. Please nurture Dot with the special care she needs. She can?t wait to welcome you to ?Team Dot? with her larger-than-life love.