The Story of Precious -
the Little Handicapped Cat

Reading about a handicapped cat was not the thing I expected to do when I got a submission to the Singapura Cat Breeders page.

The submission was by the Mangalakatzs Singapuras of Australia. I did what I always do: went to read their website and checked they were a reputable, reliable breeder of cats before putting their page “live” on this website.

I was very happy about what I read and gladly added their information on the website. And then, out of interest, I returned to their website to read some more. I fully expected to read stories and see pictures of carefully bred, healthy cats.

I noticed a video I had not spotted on my first visit to their site and clicked on it.

Fiona Stokes had been interviewed about their cats for the “Talk to the Animals” TV-show and I watched with interest the antics of their lovely Singapuras.

On their website Fiona calls the Singapura kittens little “pocket rockets” - a very fitting description to say the least! I laughed out loud when Fiona said the Singapuras are like potato chips – you can’t have just one, you have to have two. I can so believe that…

handicapped cat

And then Fiona told the story of Precious, the Singapura she was holding in her lap. I could not believed Precious was a handicapped cat.

I want to repeat her story here because this little beauty’s story of survival is amazing, a real proof that you should never give up if there is hope. The story of little Precious tells that being a handicapped cat is really just another characteristic, not a hindrance.

Fiona and Bill Stokes breed Singapuras and Devon Rexes and take exceptionally good care of their cats and kittens. They observe their cats and kittens all the time, and even built a house specifically to give their cats better surroundings.

The cats are family members to them. And so, one morning Fiona quickly noticed that one five-week-old Singapura kitten had suddenly been paralyzed during the night. She was dragging both her hind legs and they felt cold and lifeless.

You can imagine the horror Fiona felt. The kitten was quickly brought to the vet who gave a diagnosis of rickets. Because the back legs were so badly paralyzed, the vet wanted to put the kitten to sleep right there and then. Somehow Fiona could not allow this and said no. She wanted to observe how things developed at before making any decisions.

Fiona had a pretty good idea what might have caused the paralysis. As they live in Australia where there are many poisonous spiders, she suspected the kitten might have been bitten by one.

handicapped cat

The vet was not so sure – surely such a tiny little kitten would have died quickly, if a poisonous spider had bitten her. After all – the Singapuras are the smallest registered cat breed and the kittens are really tiny.

So Fiona brought the kitten back home and started searching. She looked into every imaginable place and moved everything around - and find the spiders she did. Two white tail spiders to be exact. A quick call to the vet – and again he recommended they euthanazie the kitten. A kitten this small surely would never survive a bite by a white tail spider…

The kitten’s lower body began to get hot and swell. Fiona made her decision – despite the severity of her condition, the wee little Singapura kitten was lively and interested in her surroundings. She did not look like she was dying at all.

So Fiona started to treat her. According to the vet’s advice she injected the kitten with histamil, gave cold water massages every two hours on those tiny, lifeless hind legs, rubbed pure Aloe vera gel on the legs, and gave the kitten vitamin C and other nutrients.

She continued this for five days. Imagine – every two hours for five whole days… And the miracle began to happen. After four days the swelling started to disappear slowly. Now Fiona (again, after consulting the vet) started giving antibiotics to the wee one to promote healing.

It was really heartbreaking – to see those little lifeless legs, wondering if it was the right thing to do to keep Precious alive. How would a handicapped cat be able to life a full and happy life?

Little Precious slept in Fiona’s arms while she was couldn’t sleep because of her worry for the kitten. When she or Bill lifted Precious up, the little kitten would hug their face with her front paws and lick their noses. She was such a loving little creature Fiona’s heart ached at the thought of maybe losing her, and she became more determined than ever to save Precious.

Then the right hind leg began to shrivel. And then – one day it was clearly coming away from the kitten’s body. Worried Fiona rang to the vet, and once again got the recommendation to put the kitten asleep.

But by now Precious had shown she was a real fighter. She was clearly not giving up on life – and in this her ancestry showed clearly. These drain cats of Singapore had developed into quite some survivors because of their harsh surroundings, and little Precious was now making her ancestors proud.

The tiny handicapped cat dragged herself with her front legs to use a tiny litter tray of a small plate. And she had started eating Royal Canin Baby Cat 34. That was the only food she would eat.

The leg continued to shrivel and then one morning it was totally loose with only a tiny shred of healthy skin holding the leg to the body. Fiona could see the thigh bone from the gaping hole – but there was no necrotic tissue, which gave her hope. And despite her condition, this little Pura was hopping around, all bright and responsive.

So Fiona carefully snipped off the little piece of skin still holding the leg. There was no way the wound could be bandaged and so all Fiona could do was to keep filling the hole with pure Aloe vera gel every hour. And the hole got smaller very quickly.

Then the toes of the left leg and the tip of her tail began to shrivel. With fear in her heart Fiona watched this new development – but the little kitten just determinately moved around on her own, using her front legs which were getting stronger by the day. She showed no signs of pain and ate like a healthy cat, having moved from kitten food to red meat and chicken.

Fiona took the little fighter to the vet again, with the shriveled leg in a jar. The vet watched the tiny handicapped cat moving in her box and heard how well she ate and used the litter box. He no longer mentioned euthanasia. I am sure Precious gave him a good look from those huge, bright green eyes and convinced him he obviously had had no idea about the spirit and life force of a Singapura cat.
In time the shriveled toes of the other leg just dropped off, as did the tip of her tail.

handicapped cat

And she made it. Precious is now a healthy, happy cat in the household, as you can see in the video below. Just look at her go! Some missing digits certainly don’t seem to slow her down one bit! I still have to look closer to believe I am looking at a handicapped cat!

Fiona herself is a retired veterinary nurse, so she had the professional skills to observe the kitten’s condition. Had there been any signs of discomfort or if the kitten had stopped eating, Fiona would have put her to sleep. But this little kitten was an amazing fighter, full of life. And she still is.

I hope as many people as possible can read this story – little Precious serves as an example to both animals and humans that life is always precious, even if it expresses itself in a less than perfect form. It’s the life and love in that form that count. You can see it in those beautiful eyes, you can feel it in the touch of those gentle paws, and hear it in that content purr that warms your heart. Love is never limited to
physical form, and it flows strong and pure no matter what the limitations of the body are – if you allow it. I am very glad that Fiona and Bill allowed that pure Singapura love to flow.

I wish that maybe, if you consider getting a cat from a shelter, when you have read the story of this little brave handicapped cat, you might give the less than perfect cats a second look. A cat has an amazing energy and will to live, and a handicapped cat can adapt to its physical condition surprisingly well.

After all it is the love and affection that counts, not the beautiful looks... A handicapped cat can be the best family memeber you can imagine.

I wish to bring up the awareness of cat shelters and the important work they do. So if you are interested in adopting a shelter cat, do visit the Cat shelters page.

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