When Katie Walker saw a fluffy tabby kitten in a Facebook post for lost and missing pets in Perth, Australia, she was immediately taken with the adorably different cat who appeared to have a cleft palate. In September 2017, Katie, who has adopted multiple special needs pets, tagged the president of her favorite local animal rescue, Perth Rescue Angels, and the organization ended up taking the kitten when no one showed up to claim her.
As she already had lots of experience with special needs cats, Katie volunteered to foster the adorable little cat until Perth Rescue Angels found her a forever home, although she now admits she was hoping to be more than just a temporary mom to the little kitten. “If I’m honest, the moment I saw her little face, and before I even met her,” says Katie, “I knew that providing my other pets were happy with her and she was comfortable in my home, I’d be adopting her.” Kate spent that first weekend trying to find the perfect name for the cute kitten with the unique face, eventually calling the fluffy tabby girl Fancy.
Shortly after Fancy was rescued, Katie and Perth Rescue Angels took the kitten to the vet for a check up, expecting confirmation that the unique-looking cat had been born with a cleft palate. The examination revealed that Fancy had been born in March 2017, making her approximately six months old at the time she was rescued, and that her adorably different appearance wasn’t the result of a congenital condition.
“Someone hurt Fancy,” says Katie, “and she was likely kicked in the face with force.” Katie and Perth Rescue Angels were shocked and horrified to learn that several of Fancy’s teeth had been broken, along with her legs and possibly her tail, and she had scar tissue on both of her ears.
While the exact cause of Fancy’s injuries are unknown, the vet concluded the tiny six-month-old kitten had been the victim of horrific abuse and cruelty. Despite all of the pain Fancy had already suffered during her short life, she was still loving and trusting, and it didn’t take long for her to bond with Katie and the other animals in her foster home.
Not surprisingly, Katie fell in love with Fancy and adopted the perfectly imperfect kitten, giving her a happy and safe forever home. “She doesn’t need anything more than any other cat,” says Katie, “[just] love, safety, yummy food and lots of play time!”
As a result of the injuries Fancy sustained as a young kitten, she occasionally has breathing issues, but it’s nothing Katie considers much cause for concern. “She will surprise sneeze in my face sometimes,” explains Katie, “but who doesn’t appreciate that, right?”
Fancy also has a tendency to breathe through her mouth instead of her nose, and she has a habit of salivating on the dry food she shares with the other kitties in her home. “She will nosedive into bowls of biscuits and drool all over them before selecting a few to actually eat,” says Katie, “so her cat siblings are often dealing with wet biscuits, but that doesn’t seem to bother anybody.”
In addition to food, Fancy loves to cuddle and play with her many toys, and she enjoys spending time with the dogs, cats, and bunny who share her home. “She has so much energy, so she is always ready to chase everyone around,” says Katie. “It’s very sweet.” However, while Fancy is a typical cat in many ways, she’s actually a bit different from the average feline, because she doesn’t mind getting wet. “She loves it when I put a little water in the shower or bath,” explains Katie, “and she has a blast with the garden hose.”
Katie — who currently has three other special needs cats — regularly deals with challenges related to blindness, deafness, dementia, and physical disabilities, but she thinks her kitties really aren’t that different from the average feline. “They are just the same if not a little more amazing than ‘regular’ cats,” says Katie.
In fact, Katie believes that if anything, her special needs cats have given her way more than she’s given them. “They’ve really taught me to appreciate every opportunity and every day I have,” explains Katie. “All of them were saved from being euthanized due to their special needs, and they just live every day like it’s all there is. It’s really beautiful.”
While Katie is devoted to all of her pets and adores each and everyone of them, she admits she has a special connection with Fancy, the resilient cat who hasn’t allowed the devastating injuries she sustained as a kitten stop her from sharing love and happiness with the world. “She is such a strong and determined little cat, nothing will get in her way,” says Katie, adding, “She is precious.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Fancy on Instagram.