For some time, Anne-Marie and her family had been feeding a black and white feral feline, trying without success to sterilize her, when the tuxedo cat gave birth to two kittens in early May 2018. “She has managed to elude our traps to spay her,” explains Anne-Marie. Initially, Anne-Marie and her family didn’t know about the female feline’s small litter until the day the mother cat decided to introduce her caretakers to her kittens, one of which was a tabby and white boy.
Due to his dark and light coloring, Anne-Marie and her family began calling the tiny kitten Domino. “Domino was brought on to our deck at about two weeks old by his mother,” explains Anne-Marie.
At first, Anne-Marie thought Domino was a typical kitten. However, it didn’t take long for her to realize that there was something unusual about the adorable feline, so she decided to have him looked at by a veterinarian near her home in Maryland.
“When we noticed his back legs didn’t seem to be working after a couple of days of him being on the deck, we took him from his mom for a visit to the vet,” says Anne-Marie. A thorough examination revealed that Domino was unable to walk like a typical cat because he had been born with a malformed spine.
“Domino has curvature of the spine which is a birth defect,” explains Anne-Martie. “It pushes his legs out into a frog-like position and causes him to have little feeling in his hind legs and incontinence.”
Given the impact of the congenital condition on Domino’s mobility, Anne-Marie and her family are very thankful his mother dropped him on their porch when he just two weeks old. “If we hadn’t taken Domino on in when we did,” says Anne-Marie, “he most likely would not have survived outside for much longer.”
Determined to help Domino have the best life possible, Anne-Marie and her family decided to foster the little special needs kitten until he finds his forever home. In an effort help Domino — who isn’t in any pain as a result of his condition — Anne-Marie started doing physical therapy to help strength his hind legs, although this rambunctious kitten doesn’t always cooperate with his foster mom.
“He constantly wants to be on the go and doesn’t want to be held for physical therapy, so we have to bend his joints and exercise his legs when he is dozing off or asleep on our laps,” explains Anne-Marie.
Given that Domino is incontinent and doesn’t move around like a typical cat, Anne-Marie has also had a few challenges protecting his delicate skin. “Abrasions and diaper rash have been our biggest issues,” says Anne-Marie. “Because he can’t use his hind legs, he drags himself by his front paws, When he was younger and still had very fine hair, it caused abrasions on his legs and belly. And now because he is incontinent and wears diapers, he tends to get diaper rash which we have to use Desitin on.”
Aside from these relatively minor challenges, Anne-Marie and her family have found Domino fairly easy take care of, and while people often think cats with hind leg paralysis can’t have good lives, they’re certain this adorable tabby and white kitten is thriving.
“As you can see from videos, this little boy is happy, healthy, and loves to play,” says Anne-Marie. “He loves wrestling with his sister and playing with my tennis shoes.”
Since that day in May 2018 when Anne-Marie and her family met Domino for the first time, they’ve developed a strong bond, and this unique little feline has taught his foster mom that special needs cats make great companions.
While there’s no doubt she will miss Domino and his loving and playful personality when he goes to his forever home, Anne-Marie is determined to find this special boy a family that is willing to give him the care and attention he deserves. “He is very special to me. I love him very much and will be sad when he leaves, but I know whoever takes him will love him as much as I do,” says Anne-Marie. “His cuteness will melt your heart.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Domino on Instagram.