When Connie Viscuso saw a picture on Instagram of a tiny tabby kitten with a unique face who was available for adoption through K9Kastle, she felt an immediate connection with the young feline.
“I was instantly mesmerized by her,” says Connie. “I tried to convince my coworker to adopt her because I wasn’t looking for a third cat and I didn’t want her to be in foster care forever.”
However, Connie’s colleague wasn’t in a position to adopt the kitten either, and weeks passed until she finally contacted the New York City rescue about the adorably different cat.
“To my surprise, she was still up for adoption!” says Connie, and she learned that the young cat had been born with a cleft nose and mild cerebellar hypoplasia, a non-progressive neurological condition that affects balance and coordination. “I was told that she was unique and she was very small for her age,” remembers Connie. “I knew I had to meet her.”
In October 2016, Connie saw the young kitten — who was born in May 2016 — in person for the first time and she was surprised by her diminutive size. “She looked 8 weeks old, but really she was five months,” says Connie, and she decided to foster the young tabby kitten, not wanting to formally adopt her until she was certain her two cats would accept a new feline friend.
“The fostering lasted a few hours,” says Connie. “She completely won over my wicked cat; it was like magic. We just knew she belonged with us.” After finalizing the adoption, Connie decided to change the young kitten’s name from Tank to Harley Quinn. “We wanted to give her a name that fit with our other cats, Batgirl and Selina Kyle,” explains Connie.
“After seeing how crazy and fearless she was — but still the cutest little thing ever — we chose Harley Quinn, because Harley is definitely cute but psycho,” says Connie.
Harley immediately made herself at home with Connie and her new sisters, proving that she was ready and willing to live up to her new name. “Harley loves to play,” says Connie. “She loves attacking blankets, laying in the sun, and leaping off the highest cat shelves.”
In order to keep this adorable different cat from hurting herself, Connie placed soft pads around her house to cushion Harley’s landings, but she hasn’t had to make any other special accommodations for this sweet and spunky girl.
“She’s a bit of a clumsy runner, but she is fearless,” says Connie, and Harley also has head tremors, a common symptom of cerebellar hypoplasia. “You only really see it now when she gets really excited,” explains Connie. “She has a hard time controlling her head; she looks like a super cute bobble head doll.”
Harley’s cleft nose — which Connie didn’t even notice when she reached out to K9Kastle about adopting her — hasn’t caused her any issues so far, and she has absolutely no difficulty breathing.
While Harley looks a bit different from other cats and wobbles when she runs, Connie thinks this sassy girl is perfect just as she is. “People should know that specials needs cats don’t really know that they are different,” says Connie. “Some people are just worried too much about the aesthetics.”
When Connie got in touch with K9Kastle in October 2016, her biggest concern wasn’t related to Harley’s health or appearance, it was how adopting another cat would impact her existing pets, Batgirl and Selina Kyle.
A year and half after she brought Harley to live with her and her cats in South River, New Jersey, it’s completely apparent Connie had nothing to worry about. “Harley was the missing piece to our family,” says Connie. “All our cats get along now because of her.”
Not only has Harley helped unite her family, this little girl has reinvigorated Connie’s home with her unique blend of sweetness and spunk. “I couldn’t imagine this house without her funny and fearless antics,” says Connie. “She absolutely keeps us on our toes.”
To learn more about this adorable cat, you can follow Harley on Instagram.