UPDATE: Fredo found an amazing forever home with a wonderful family!
When Patty LaQuay, founder and president of Paws4Life, Inc., learned about a special needs kitten who was rescued near a highway in May 2018, she was eager to help the adorable 6-week-old cat.
“The family that found and rescued him were on their way home one evening and saw some kitties just on the side of the road,” explains Patty. “They pulled over and tried to get the ones they could, but they all ran off into the dark. All but Fredo, that is.”
Fredo — who received his name from his foster dad, David — was unable to move as quickly as the other kittens because he was born with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a non-progressive neurological condition that affects balance and coordination.
“To our knowledge — more times than not– kittens are born having CH due to their mom contracting the feline panleukopenia virus during pregnancy,” says Patty. The people who rescued Fredo were unable to keep him, so they shared a video of the cute black kitten in a Facebook group, which is how Patty discovered him.
“I began communicating with the family, letting them know I was sharing their post around, as well as checking with our wonderful foster couple, Kelly and David, to see if they thought they’d be up for fostering a special needs kitten,” remembers Patty. “They did not hesitate at all and opened their hearts and home to fostering this tiny black kitten.”
While it was difficult for the family who rescued Fredo from the side of the highway to let him go, Patty, Kelly, and David assured them they would find the perfect forever home for the little wobbly cat, making it easier for the rescuers to say goodbye to the adorable black kitten.
When she finally met Fredo in person, Patty was able to evaluate the severity of his cerebellar hypoplasia, and she determined his condition was somewhere between moderate and severe.
While a lot of other rescues are reluctant to take on cats with special needs, knowing they often have trouble finding forever homes, Paws4Life, Inc. — which is dedicated to helping homeless cats in and around Charlotte, North Carolina — doesn’t shy away from kitties who are different. “Special needs cats have always tugged at our hearts,” says Patty, “and even though right now our rescue is so small and we only work with a few cats at a time, we just felt that we were ‘supposed’ to help Fredo.”
While cats with cerebellar hypoplasia sometimes need more assistance than a typical feline, Fredo is incredibly capable and extremely active. “He really wants to go and is just a normal kitty cat as far as he — and we — are concerned,” explains Kelly, Fredo’s foster mom. “We had past experiences with other non-CH special needs cats, so we were nervous about what he would need and how he would develop, but he has blown our minds and exceeded every single expectation and hope. He is really an inspiration to us!”
After they figured out a routine that would provide Fredo with the safe, happy, and healthy environment he needed, David and Kelly watched as this incredibly cute black kitten grew into an independent — but very sweet — young cat. Six months later, Fredo is thriving with his foster family, and like the average feline, this handsome boy enjoys eating, cuddling, playing with his parents and siblings, sitting in cardboard boxes, and relaxing in front of the fireplace.
“He gets himself around just fine, and even uses the ‘little boys room’ like a champ!” says Patty. While he’s a fairly average cat in most respects, Fredo adores going on trips with his foster parents, and he loves meeting new people, making this cute special needs kitty a bit different from the typical feline.
Even though Fredo is the first cat with cerebellar hypoplasia Paws4Life, Inc. has rescued, he almost certainly won’t be the last, having inspired Patty, David, and Kelly with his determination and resilience. While people who have never met a CH cat in person might think kitties with cerebellar hypoplasia are miserable or suffering simply because they can’t walk like typical felines, Fredo is proof they can have wonderful lives!
“We feel the biggest misconception is that cats with CH are not happy and cannot have any type of quality of life,” says Patty. “These cats have all the same desires, needs, and emotions, and they can have a great quality of life and give just as much love as non-CH cats.
When Fredo finds his forever home, it will be difficult for David and Kelly to say goodbye to him, having spent the past several months bonding with this affectionate boy and developing a routine that meets his unique set of needs. However, this incredible couple will be able to take comfort in the knowledge that they helped Fredo grow into a happy and healthy young cat, one who is able to inspire yet another family with his exceptional spirit.
“Fredo has been a gift to each of us and we hope whoever adopts him will find their life to be equally full and blessed because he’s in it,” says Patty. “He has a zest for life and is so sweet and loving and he enjoys each moment and day to the fullest. He just truly shows that with love all things are possible.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Fredo on Instagram.
If you’re interested in adopting Fredo, please contact Paws4Life, Inc.