When Judi Young and her husband went to an adoption event at the PetSmart near their home in Tipp City, Ohio, they were immediately drawn to a handsome tuxedo cat named Kangaroo Jack who was approximately two years old. “The rescue had Jack since he was a kitten,” says Judi. “We couldn’t understand how he hadn’t been adopted yet.”
The couple instantly noticed that Jack, who was born on Christmas Day 2014, had short and twisted front legs, causing him to resemble a kangaroo, and so Judi did some research and discovered that the adorable black and white kitty had a congenital condition called radial hypoplasia (RH).
Judi also learned Jack’s litter mates had all been adopted — including two of his siblings who had also been born with radial hypoplasia — and her heart broke at the thought of the handsome special needs cat getting passed over time and time again. “We knew we could provide a great home for him,” says Judi, “and we didn’t want him to spend any more time without his forever home!” On October 2, 2016, Judi and her husband officially adopted Jack, giving him a real family for the first time in his life.
While Judi and her husband had read up on radial hypoplasia before bringing Jack home, they didn’t know what sort of special accommodations — if any — they’d have to make for him. Jack quickly proved that he is just as active and full of life as the average feline, although his mom and dad did have to make a few adjustments to their home to ensure his safety.
“One challenge was making sure he didn’t hurt himself jumping down from things like the couch,” explains Judi. “He doesn’t jump down, he flies straight out like superman!” In order to prevent Jack from hitting his chin every time he leapt off of a piece of furniture, Judi placed large dog beds near all of his favorite jumping spots, giving Jack lots of soft places to land.
The couple also discovered that due to Jack’s unique paws, trimming his nails was a challenge, especially because this handsome tuxedo boy hates having his feet touched. Consequently, Judi routinely takes Jack to the vet where she lets the professionals handle the tricky task of trimming his claws.
However, aside from a few cushions and regular pedicures at the vet’s office, Judi has found Jack really doesn’t require that much more assistance than a typical cat, nor does he allow his unique front legs to keep him from doing everything he wants to do. “Jack is crazier, wilder and more active than our other two other cats,” says Judi. “He’s a wild man! Nothing holds him back.”
Like the average kitty, Jack loves catnip kickers, feather toys, and crinkle balls, as well as hanging out on his cat tree where he enjoys sunbathing and watching the snow fall. He also likes chasing after his sister Sparkle — a beautiful one-eyed black cat — eating grass, cuddling with his parents, and using his charms to try to get special snacks from his mom and dad. “He will sometimes act like he’s snuggling if you have a cheese stick because he wants your cheese!” says Judi. “He’s a huge ham and uses his good looks to get what he wants.”
When Judi and her husband spotted Jack for the first time more than a year ago, they both knew he was special — “It was love at first sight!” says Judi — but neither of them could have known how much happiness and joy he would bring to their lives. “He makes us smile every single day,” says Judi, “and he makes us laugh so much.” Not only does this handsome boy entertain his parents, Jack inspires them, providing his mom and dad with an excellent example of how to overcome obstacles with a little ingenuity and a lot of persistence.
While Judi and her husband didn’t seek out a special needs cat when they went to PetSmart in October 2016, they are so glad they made the decision to adopt Jack, and they hope other people will be inspired to give unique kitties like him a chance when choosing pets. “There are some things you have to do to make sure they’re safe,” says Judi, “but they will bring so much happiness and joy to your life!”
Judi insists that Jack, who routinely melts his parents’ hearts and makes them laugh with his affectionate spirit and fun-loving antics, has given her and her husband so much more than they’ve ever given him, and they are truly thankful that they get to be his mom and dad. “Jack means the world to us,” says Judi. “We couldn’t imagine our lives without him in it. He has so much love to give. We are lucky he chose us to give that love to.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Jack on Instagram.