When Lauren went to the SPCA of Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 11, 2015, she had recently ended a 12 year relationship and was at a low point in her life. Wanting to provide a loving home to an animal others might consider less desirable, Lauren was interested in adopting a senior cat, or possibly a pair of older kitties.
However, after touring the facility and meeting lots of adorable cats, Lauren felt discouraged, unable to find a feline she felt a special connection with. Lauren returned to the first cat room, hoping she may have missed the illusive senior feline she was there to adopt, when a young black and white kitty cautiously poked his head out from a cat cave.
As the cat — who had unusual markings that made him look like Batman — slowly emerged from his hiding spot, Lauren felt an instant connection with the black and white cat. “It was love at first sight for both of us,” she remembers.
However, as the shy kitty attempted to make his way across the room to Lauren for cuddles, another cat tried to hit him. Lauren quickly realized the black and white cat had been hiding in the cave, most likely getting overlooked by potential adopters, because he was afraid of being attacked. She also noticed he was missing one of his front legs.
Eventually, Lauren convinced the 3-year-old tripod cat to come out his hiding place, and she was able to give him the affection he so obviously needed. “He just melted into my hand,” Lauren remembers. “He was such a sweet cat.”
Unable to even entertain the idea of leaving the rescue without him, Lauren adopted the black and white cat with three legs, naming him Batman. While no one knows exactly how Batman lost one of his legs, Lauren learned he had been picked up by animal control and brought to a local animal shelter. However, Batman hated being kept in a cage — ripping out many of his claws due to stress — and he was eventually rescued by the SPCA of Wake County where he was able to live in a cat room, his claws eventually growing back.
Unsure of what to expect from a cat with three legs, Lauren thought Batman might have difficulty climbing stairs, jumping onto high surfaces, and using the litter box. However, shortly after arriving at his new home, Batman quickly proved that being a tripod didn’t prevent him from doing everything he wanted to do. “I really babied him at first,” recalls Lauren, “afraid he might fall or hurt himself, but he quickly showed me he can do anything!”
However, it did take Batman — who is understandably a little jumpy due to his difficult beginnings — a couple of months to adjust to the sounds in his new home, but he eventually felt at ease enough to show off his physical prowess, tearing up and down the stairs, leaping onto window sills and ledges, climbing to the top of his cat tree, playing with his toys, and rushing around the house. “He’s just like any other cat,” Lauren explains, “and he’s such a good, smart boy.”
While Batman is able to use the litter box without any trouble, Lauren says it takes him a little longer to do his business, largely because he tries to use his phantom paw to cover up after himself. Also, Lauren occasionally uses wet wipes to help keep Batman clean because he doesn’t always have the balance he needs to get to some hard to reach places.
However, Lauren doesn’t mind helping Batman with his grooming every once in a while, remembering how he helped her through one of the toughest periods in her life. “I was lonely and depressed,” Lauren recalls, “and he has given me so much happiness.”
Obviously, the feeling is mutual, and Batman shows Lauren how thankful he his to her for giving him a safe and loving home. While this three-legged boy enjoys playing with string, keeping a close eyes on the birds and the neighborhood, eating dried shrimp treats, and watching television — “Yes, he really watches!” insists Lauren — Batman is happiest when he’s cuddled up with his human for a cat nap.
In the two years since she adopted Batman, Lauren’s even managed to teach him a few commands, but she’s also learned some lessons from her special three-legged cat during this time. “A lot of people consider tripods as special needs or disabled,” Lauren says, “but they really aren’t. They can do anything!”
Having underestimated three-legged cats before adopting Batman, Lauren hopes other people will realize tripods really aren’t that different from their four-legged friends. “Don’t overlook a cat just because they are missing a leg or two,” urges Lauren. Thankfully, Lauren didn’t pass Batman by, and the two of them have built a strong and enduring bond. “Batman means the world to me,” says Lauren. “He has made my house feel like a home.”
To learn more about Batman, you can follow him on Instagram.