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Meet The Gorgeous Cat Who Is Missing Her Back Feet But Is Loving Life Thanks To Her Awesome Mom!

In early 2015, Kacie Jonasen’s mother Karen started sending her photos of a beautiful calico kitten who was missing her back feet, wanting to share the adorable young feline with her daughter. “Just because she was such a cutie,” explains Kacie, “not so much with the intention of me adopting her.”

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

Kacie learned the kitten and her mother had been rescued from the streets and turned over to Tree House Humane Society in Chicago where Karen was a volunteer. Several months later, Kacie — who lives in Lafayette, Indiana — was in Chicago visiting her family for Christmas when she learned the striking special needs kitty still hadn’t found her forever home. “I couldn’t shake the thought that she would have a harder and harder time getting adopted as she got older,” remembers Kacie, “so I decided to go meet her and see if she would be a good fit for me and my grumpy resident cat, Nobu.”

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

While the staff at the shelter had told Kacie the kitten had a big personality, she was surprised when the stunning calico hid in a cat cave, seemingly too afraid or too shy to come out. With the help of lots of treats, Kacie was finally able to coax the young cat out of her hiding place, and she realized the beautiful feline had wounds on her legs that had probably contributed to her desire to remain in the cave. “She had sores on her nubs that were prone to bleeding, and she was definitely not very comfortable on the hard floor,” explains Kacie. “I suspect she liked hiding in her little cave because it was carpeted and didn’t hurt her nubs as much!”

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

Despite being in some discomfort, the special needs kitty was sweet — if a little shy — and Kacie thought she would get along well with her other cat, Nobu, so after careful consideration, she adopted her in January 2016, naming the calico Polly. “Polly is short for polliwog, which is another word for tadpole,” explains Kacie. “The little peeping sounds she often makes reminded me of spring peeper frogs, so it seemed fitting. Also, her little leg nubs make me think of a tiny tadpole that hasn’t sprouted her legs yet!”

 

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In addition to missing her back feet, Polly is also missing portions of her lower hind legs, a condition known as bilateral terminal transverse tibial hemimelia. While no one knows for certain whether Polly was born with this condition or lost her back feet and parts of her lower hind legs in an accident, Kacie believes it’s most likely the latter. “Due to broken pieces of bone in her nubs, what look like scars, and a broken tail, I get the feeling that she lost them in some kind of trauma,” says Kacie.

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

While Polly was a bit standoffish at the shelter, once Kacie got her in the car, she started showing off the big personality that had made her a favorite at Tree House Humane Society. “She seemed to hold a very special place in the hearts of the staff and volunteers at the shelter; one volunteer had even started a Facebook page dedicated to getting her adopted!” says Kacie.

 

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When Kacie first brought Polly home, the cute calico cat had some difficulty getting around, not because she has issues with her mobility, but because she had open sores on both of her nubs that made it painful for her to walk. “Polly’s nubs have no paw pads, no fat, and not even hair to protect them — it’s essentially just a thin layer of skin stretched over bone,” says Kacie. “Because of this, even a small cut on her nubs can lead to a serious bone infection, so no injury can be taken lightly.” Consequently, Kacie had to figure out how to help Polly’s injuries heal, especially because she had a habit of licking and biting her wounds, leaving her nubs raw, bloody, and at risk of infection.

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

Over time, Kacie realized the best treatment was to fit Polly with an oversized cone, and to clean and disinfect her sores multiple times a day. It took nine months, but eventually, Polly’s wounds healed completely, and she was then given a few rounds of medication to treat the nerve pain that had been causing her to chew on her nubs. “She still tends to chew a little bit, but it is much more manageable now,” Kacie.

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

In order to prevent Polly from injuring herself, Kacie put a number of area rugs on her apartment’s hardwood floors, placed baby gates in front of the stairs, put foam pet steps near every piece of furniture, and purchased shallow, easily accessibly litter boxes and raised food and water bowls. While she had to make a lot of adjustments to her home, Kacie believes these changes have enabled Polly to have a happy and healthy life over the past three and a half years. “My house has been completely Polly-proofed, while still trying to allow her to do all the things she’s capable of,” says Kacie.

 

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She’s also created a regular skincare routine to keep Polly’s nubs soft and supple, and Kacie routinely gives her treats formulated especially for skin health. However, she hasn’t given up on a finding a more permanent solution for Polly’s health concerns, even if she’s not a good candidate for prosthetics. “We were recently gifted a kitty wheelchair from someone on Instagram whose own two-legged cat did not take to it,” says Kacie. “Their cat was missing its front feet, so the wheelchair will need to be re-engineered before we can see if it will work for Polly, but we are very excited to try!”

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

While Kacie is hopeful the wheelchair will be good for Polly, she also thinks special needs cats like this gorgeous calico girl are able to live happy and healthy lives without special equipment. “It would be amazing if every cat that was missing feet could be fitted with prosthetics or a wheelchair, but sometimes those things just aren’t great options, or aren’t options at all,” says Kacie. “However, that doesn’t mean that that cat isn’t living its best life! Polly might have a harder time getting around than the average cat, but she’s still as happy, playful, and full of life as any other cat I know, if not more so!”

 

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Like a typical cat, Polly loves to play, especially with feather and catnip toys, and she enjoys hunting bugs and bird watching with Nobu, her big brother. This fun-loving feline also likes playing peekaboo with Tortellini, her three-legged tortoise sister, and she absolutely loves to eat. In fact, Kacie has taught Polly to give high fives in exchange for food, and she has made a daily ritual of hiding treats around her home before she leaves for work, allowing this special cat to have a little treasure hunt in her mom’s absence.

 

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However, there’s nothing Polly enjoys more than hanging out with her mom. “She really loves to be loved on, and will take as many pets and kisses and brushes as you’re willing to give her, and then she’ll loudly demand even more!” says Kacie. “Sometimes she’ll just keep shouting until I pick her up and walk around with her head on my shoulder, bouncing her like a baby! She just loves to be close to me at all times, and will gladly sing me the song of her people to get me to notice her!”

 

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Polly and her mom have such a unique bond, it’s almost hard to believe Kacie didn’t have any experience with special needs cats before adopting this one of a kind feline more than three years ago. While she wasn’t sure if she would be able to give Polly the special care she required when she met her for the first time in late 2015, Kacie is so glad she decided to open her home to this remarkable feline.

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

“All of the ‘work’ involved in caring for Polly as a result of her disability is paid back tenfold in the amount of happiness she brings me,” says Kacie. “And I know that the majority of special cat owners would say the same! It’s like they truly know and appreciate what you’ve done for them, and always seem to give so much more than they receive.”

 

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By sharing Polly’s story, Kacie hopes more people will be inspired to adopt special needs cats. After all, Kacie — who has lived in three different states in the past three and a half years — has had this sweet and spirited girl by her side throughout some very difficult times, making it hard for her to imagine her life without Polly in it. “She brightens every single day, and never fails to make me laugh with her adorably incessant meows and precious little face!” says Kacie. “I need her so much more than she needs me! Polly is just pure sunshine.”

calico cat rescue cat without back feet
Image via @polly2paws on Instagram

To learn more about this gorgeous cat, you can follow Polly on Instagram.


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