How old is he?
Mercury will be 5 months old on the 4th of February (our best guess for his date of birth).
Where did his name come from?
We chose his name because my husband and stepson were talking about Roman Gods and mythology, and my first thought when I saw Mercury was that he made need wheels one day, so the song Bicycle Race by Queen was playing in my head. After a short discussion we settled on Mercury because he is the messenger in Roman mythology, as well as being the lead in Queen, satisfying everyone.
I read that he was found at 5 ounces, where was he found?
Mercury was found on a person’s back porch in Moore, Oklahoma, brought there by their cat. He had accidentally been hit with a weed whacker across the street, resulting in the loss of both front legs, and all but one toe on his back left foot. He was taken to one of our vets to see if anything could be done, and they called us to take him since we do bottle babies for local rescues. His umbilical cord wasn’t completely gone either, though it was very short.
How long did it take for him to open his eyes?
It was a week before he started to open his eyes, and they were open fully after another 2 days. He was found on September 7th, 2013.
How long was he bottle fed?
We bottle fed Mercury until he was about 6 weeks old, but we started to introduce mushy food (wet food mixed with kitten milk) when he was 5 weeks. For the first week he was fed every 2 hours, then for the next two weeks he was fed every 3 hours, and then fed every 4 hours after that. He was very easy to feed, taking to the bottle immediately, and once he figured out how to balance over the bowl he ate his mush, and then his wet food, really well. At about 8-9 weeks old we put dry food in front of him and he ate right away. Since the start he has also had cat and dog companions, as one of our adult cats, Nala, and two of our dogs, Rascal and Ginger, love to clean bottle babies.
Does he need any therapy or medication at this time?
The only medication Mercury has taken has been antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection he had. As for therapy, he has had that since the start, though nothing formal. Food has always been a big motivator for Mercury, so from the start we would make him push himself forward for his milk to work his back legs. When he was about 3 weeks old we started balancing him on his back legs at every feeding, just for short periods at a time to help build strength. After he was standing on his own we would then put a hand under his chest and encourage him to walk forwards on his back legs, and we would use his favourite toys to get him to jump in the air. As he grew we would create slightly bigger challenges for him- making him jump onto short stairs, walking on different surfaces, making him run after toys, making him balance for longer and longer on his back legs. We refused to carry him from place to place if it was something he was capable of doing on his own. He can now jump onto the couch from the ground, onto the back of the couch from the seat of the couch, walk on his back legs on a carpeted surface, and walk/run/balance on wood, tile and concrete, though he can’t grip slick floors very well since he only has 5 toes to hold on with. Each day we work with him on different aspects of moving around, to have him be as independent as possible.
How do the other cats of the house react to him?
The other cats are usually pretty good with him. We have other foster kittens just a little younger than Mercury, and they play with him just like they play with each other. Some of the adult cats refused to be around him until he was neutered, but they have the same reaction to all kittens until they have been spayed/neutered. Nala, the cat that would clean him as a baby, is one of his biggest idols, and he follows her around, trying to imitate her.
What’s his favorite thing to do?
Mercury loves to play with teasers. His favourite ones have a little mouse on the end, and one that has a mixture of feathers and mylar. He will wrestle with the kittens when they get in his way, and if they try to get on the couch with him he will bump them off. Something he has done since tiny is bury himself in blankets or a covered cat bed, often with just a tiny part of him sticking out. When he wants cuddles he will follow us around, yelling his little war cry, until he gets pats.
Is there anything else you would like to share about him or the furry family?
We would love if people look at Mercury and realize that just because someone is different doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a chance, love and attention. To us, Mercury is an inspiration to keep going, even when you have the odds stacked against you. He does everything a normal kitten does, and he has so much love and determination, he is simply wonderful to be around.
Of course you can use some of his photos/videos for the article. Thank you very much for taking an interest in him.
Mercury’s mum, foster for the Community Cat Coalition of Edmond.
For more Q & A on this amazing cat, please go to his page FAQs.