How old are you?
I turned 2 in March
Where did your name come from?
Mom thought I looked like a Pip.
I read you made quite a journey to your forever home, can you tell me about it?
A woman in Nebraska found me amongst a litter of stray kittens. All of my brothers and sisters had average legs; I’m the only special one. But the lady who found us felt she couldn’t care for my special needs, so she reached out to social media. Word spread, and Tenth Life heard about me. Within a day, volunteers had agreed to transport me ALL the way to St. Louis!
Were you scared?
Nah, I’m an outgoing guy who loves an adventure. Plus, I was only 4 weeks old and didn’t know the dangers (and excitement!) that the world held.
How many different vets did you see about your legs?
I started off seeing my favorite vet, Dr. K. She took X-rays of my legs and sent them to specialists all around St. Louis. When they couldn’t decide what to do with me, she enlisted the help of an orthopedic specialist at the University of Missouri. Clearly, I’m special – it took a lot of super-smart people to figure out how awesome I am 😉 They all agreed that I was getting around fine just the way I was born. So I’m on a “wait-and-see approach,” as mom says. So far, so good!
How many fursiblings do you live with?
I have five permanent fur-siblings, and an ever-changing number of foster siblings. Mom always has someone new she’s trying to help!
Does anyone treat you different?
If you think being adored by thousands is being treated different, then yes!
Is there anything you can’t do?
Absolutely not!!! I run, jump, play, and even attack my siblings. Although I do prefer carpeting.
What would you like to say to cats that are like you awaiting their forever homes?
Hang in there, my friends! Though it may take longer than you want, the perfect family for you is out there! They just have to realize how awesome you are. And if a different-looking fellow like me can find a loving home, you can too!
These questions are for your mom: Have you ever had a cat like Pip before?
Pip was Tenth Life’s first kitty with a congenital condition like this. However, after we helped Pip, we had several other kitties with the same or a similar condition to him. Though kitties like Pip may have physical difficulties down the road, they fare well if simple accommodations are made in the home. Soft surfaces are easier for them to handle, and a close eye must be kept on their joints, since those bear the brunt of the cat’s weight. Pip has a very strong callous on his left front elbow (he holds the other front leg up against his body when he walks).
What are some adjustments you had to make for Pip?
We added rugs to our mostly-hardwood-floored home. Other than that, not much. We already provide low-sided litter boxes for our other kitties with special needs, so he assimilated very easily!
Why did you choose not to take the specialists recommendations for Pip?
We actually did take the recommendations of the specialists. The only alternative to letting him live as-is was athrodesing his joints, which presented another whole category of problems; he wouldn’t be able to bend his legs at all and would make him more susceptible to breakage every time he jumped down from somewhere. Our regular vet and the orthopedic specialist agreed that Pip was better off without medical intervention. They did advise that we reevaluate his comfort regularly and make adjustments accordingly. But so far, he shows ZERO signs of discomfort
What would you like to say to people who are worried that cats that need extra love & attention won’t have a high quality of life?
It may be more work to care for cats with special needs, but the rewards more than make up for the extra efforts. In my 3 decades of experience with cats (over 10 years professionally), I’ve found that the cats who need our love the most seem to appreciate it the most. There’s something very special about one’s bond with a cat who has been through a lot of medical treatment, abuse, or mistreatment. It’s something I can recommend to those who truly love companion animals.
What tips/advice do you have for first time parents of pets that need extra love & care?
Find an amazing vet you trust. Many vets don’t understand cats; do your research. I’ve encountered too many veterinarians who have only a perfunctory knowledge of cat care. Coming to appointments prepared, yet not combative or defensive, can be your greatest asset. Additionally, please BUDGET for pets with special needs. Medical bills add up incredibly quickly, and nothing is more upsetting than being unable to give your pet the care he/she needs when the time comes.
Is there anything you would like to add about Tenth Life Cats?
Tenth Life is my heart and soul; my passion. I want the world to know that cats with special needs are so incredibly deserving of wonderful lives, but they need our help. Additionally, ourcounty needs help when it comes to appreciating cats and their amazing qualities. Tenth Life exists to elevate cats’ status in the public eye and to do everything possible to make life better for felines with and without special needs.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Pip & his mom for letting me ask questions about Pip. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit his facebook page – Pip the Wonder Kitty.
This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed Theme, click on the badge below for more interviews with pets that need extra love & care.