When Deanna learned through a Facebook page for her small community in Eastern Oregon that a fellow resident’s cat had recently given birth to a litter of kittens that included a black and white male with malformed hind legs, she was immediately interested in helping the very young special needs feline the family had named Quasi. “At that point, Quasi was only 4 days old,” says Deanna, and she discovered that the family was considering putting the newborn kitten to sleep because they feared his condition would cause him to have a life filled with suffering.
Deanna, who has an affinity for special needs cats — “It started with a blind 5-week-old kitten in the summer of 2017,” explains Deanna. “Sadly, that kitten died just a few days later of a viral infection.” — sent Quasi’s mom a message on Facebook on March 11, 2018. “It took some doing, but I convinced her to let me help the kitten when he was big enough,” says Deanna.
She also reached out to Cat Utopia, the rescue in Eastern Oregon Deanna and her husband Tom had adopted Tippy — a stunning black and white cat with vestibular syndrome and Horner’s syndrome — from in late 2017.
“She was really the start of a burning heart to rescue and give these unique babies a warm, comfortable, and love-filled home,” explains Deanna. Cat Utopia agreed to help not just Quasi but also his litter mates, eventually rehoming all four of the special needs kitten’s siblings.
When Quasi was three weeks old, Deanna met the adorable black and white kitten for the first time when she took him to the vet for a preliminary evaluation. The veterinarian explained that both of Quasi’s hind legs were twisted in at the knees, forcing him to walk on the top of his hocks, a congenital condition known as tarsal hyperextension.
“It is believed Quasi’s legs were not allowed space to properly develop in utero,” explains Deanna. “His mother was rather petite and it was a litter of five.”
Five weeks later, Deanna took Quasi back to the vet for a follow up appointment. By that time, one of his hind legs had pretty much corrected itself without medical intervention, but the other limb was still twisted, so on May 1, 2018, and May 15, 2018, Quasi had two separate surgeries to try to fix the rotated leg.
“We were warned that if nothing was done, he would face breakdown of the callus [on the top of his hock] he had developed and been using like a foot,” says Deanna. “It was explained to me that there were a lot of sutures and tightening done to bring his left leg in to a more normal functional position.”
Following the surgeries, Quasi’s gait has improved significantly, although he still walks a bit differently from a typical kitten. “His leg will never be normal, but it will be more normal conformation and it is hoped it will only improve as he grows,” explains Deanna. “It will take some real time.” Consequently, this adorable black and white boy isn’t ready to be adopted just yet, and no one can say for certain exactly when Quasi will be able to leave his foster home.
Fortunately, Quasi absolutely adores his foster family, and he loves playing with — and irritating — Deanna and Tom’s four other cats. “He is small, but mighty,” says Deanna. “He has a strong will, yet is learning boundaries and ‘no’ fairly well. With that cute leg, he gets away with a lot.”
While Quasi — like a typical kitten — can be a bit rambunctious, he’s also incredibly sweet, and he absolutely adores being coddled by his foster parents. “He has spent so much time down, he is just happy to lay and have a conversation with you,” explains Deanna. “He likes hearing his name and will ‘chirp’ in response.”
While no one knows when Quasi will be able to go to his forever home, Deanna hopes his adopters will love and respect special needs cats just as much as she does. “They have the sweetest nature and that they will look at you with such appreciation for everything you do,” says Deanna.
Had Deanna and Cat Utopia not intervened when they did, it’s possible Quasi may have been euthanized for having tarsal hypertension. While Deanna realizes special needs cats are often put to sleep because people don’t want to see them struggle or suffer, she believes more of these felines should be given the chance to grow and adapt. “They have as much right to live as we do,” says Deanna.
Having formed such a strong bond with Quasi, Deanna and Tom are open to the possibility of adopting him, although they’re concerned that having a total of five cats might make it difficult for them to foster other special needs felines in the future. “We really want to keep our home and the kitty space we have for truly long-term special needs cats,” says Deanna.
Whether Quasi’s forever home is with Deanna and Tom or another family, there’s no doubt this cute boy will spend the rest of his life with people who are as special as he is. “Quasi is extremely sweet,” says Deanna. “We adore — and dare I say, love — Quasi, but we also accept we want what is best for him, and if he can be best served with another family, we will let him go.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow him on Instagram.