When a good Samaritan brought three tailless kittens to The Cattery Cat Shelter in Corpus Christi, Texas, the staff decided to name them after fictional rabbits: Peter Rabbit, Thumper, and Cecily Parsley. “Without their tails and with their big ears and eyes they looked like little bunnies,” explains Katie Hattfield, the organization’s social media manager.
The kittens were less than two months old when they arrived at the shelter on April 3, 2018, and an examination revealed Cecily was born with Manx syndrome, a congenital condition that causes tailless cats to have spinal issues that can lead to health issues like incontinence and partial paralysis.
The vet also determined Cecily — in addition to Manx syndrome — had malformed hind limbs, making it impossible for her to use her back legs, so she was given a permanent home at The Cattery Cat Shelter.
“At first I don’t think we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into,” says Katie, “but as the situation developed with the vet we realized she would have this handicap and of course we were willing and able to provide for her.”
However, not long after arriving at the Texas shelter, Cecily began chewing on her back legs, causing serious injuries to her hind limbs. Cecily’s self-injurious behavior significantly increased her risk of developing an infection, and the vet determined it would be best to surgically remove her back legs, especially because she was unable to use them. “She was a kitten at the time and she recovered quickly,” says Katie, and it didn’t take long for Cecily to adjust to her new life as a two-legged cat.
Nearly three years after she was brought to the shelter, Cecily is doing extremely well, and she currently lives in the Teen Room at The Cattery Cat Shelter with more than 20 other cats. While people often assume special needs cats aren’t capable of having happy and active lives, Cecily really isn’t all that different from the average feline.
“She uses the exercise wheel, she runs around chasing her friends, and she loves snacks and wet food,” says Katie. “She might not be able to climb cat trees but she still uses cat scratchers and plays with toys. She is very capable of living a normal, happy life.”
In fact, aside from not being able to climb like a a typical cat, the only real difference is that Cecily has to wear diapers — and clothing to keep them on — and have regular baths due to her incontinence. “An issue with her wearing a diaper is that she is prone to infection and we must be diligent about making sure she gets bathed twice a day and is in a clean diaper,” explains Katie.
Thankfully, the shelter’s staff and volunteers are willing and able to give Cecily the extra care and attention she needs to thrive, proving special needs cats are capable of having great lives. However, because she is incontinent and only has two legs, Cecily is definitely more challenging to care for than a cat who may simply be missing one of their eyes or legs. “There is a lot of behind the scenes time, effort, and money that goes into her daily care, including diapers, clothes, special food, and routine vet visits and testing to make sure she’s healthy,” says Katie.
Fortunately, Cecily has found a forever home where she gets not only the attention she needs, but the attention she craves! “Cecily loves being the center of attention,” says Katie. “We do a photo shoot every Friday and she runs into the center of it and will pose for the camera.”
Thanks to her out-going personality, Cecily has helped The Cattery Cat Shelter raise awareness about special needs cats, and she’s shown the public — as well as the organization’s staff and volunteers — that there’s no reason to pity an animal just because they’re different.
Cecily is also an inspiration to everyone she meets, especially to the people at The Cattery Cat Shelter who have cared for her over the past three years. “Cecily, to us, symbolizes hope, strength, courage,” says Katie. “She inspires us all to be better and do better every day.”
To learn more about stunning girl, you can follow Cecily on Instagram.