When an adorable ginger and white cat showed up at Rian’s door in Birmingham, England, he assumed the friendly feline belonged to one of his neighbors, so he gave him some tuna and sent him on his way.
However, his generosity had obviously made an impression on the orange tabby, because it wasn’t long before he returned to Rian’s home. “He started coming to my house every other day for treats and fuss and eventually started sleeping at my house,” says Rian. “He was very warm and charming.”
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While the cat, who he had started calling Tony — an ode to Toni Braxton, one of his favorite singers — had practically become a fixture in Rian’s home, he still assumed the outgoing ginger feline had a family of his own. However, six months after meeting Tony for the first time, Rian finally discovered the truth. “Tony turned up on my door one Saturday afternoon covered in blood,” remembers Rian. “When I opened my door he came in limping and went upstairs to my bedroom and curled up. I was so worried, I didn’t know what to do with him.”
Desperate to find Tony’s owner, Rian began knocking on his neighbors’ doors, only to discover the injured cat was actually a stray who was known to many of the people who lived in the area. “One neighbor told me had been hit by a car and had seen him limping earlier in the day!” says Rian. “I couldn’t believe people had left him.”
After learning it was up to him to help Tony, Rian contacted the RSPCA and was told to bring the orange feline into the nearest location. An examination revealed Tony was approximately three years old, and he had seriously injured one of his limbs after being struck by a vehicle. The staff at the RSPCA operated on Tony’s leg, but it was unsuccessful, and Rian was becoming increasingly concerned about the special cat who had become like a member of his family. “As he was not officially mine at the time, I was not allowed to visit him,” explains Rian.
The staff at the RSPCA planned to perform a second surgery on Tony’s leg, but he became so distressed during his time at the rescue, they decided amputating his injured limb would probably be in his best interest. Despite being separated from Tony for four weeks, unable to visit him at the RSPCA, Rian never stopped thinking about the charismatic ginger cat. “He spent just over a month in their care,” says Rian. “I phoned every single day.”
Eventually, Tony was well enough to leave the RSPCA, and Rian and his partner made it known they would love to adopt him. On March 15, 2019, they brought Tony home, and his bond with Rian, which had been special before, was stronger than ever.
“Since the day he came home to me, we have been inseparable and he trusts me,” says Rian, but Tony was fearful of strangers. “He became very timid after his accident.” Consequently, Rian and his partner worked hard to improve the three-legged feline’s confidence, as well as to show him he had nothing to be nervous about in their home.
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Over time, Tony became less and less skittish, and today, he’s doing great! In fact, Rian believes Tony’s life as a three-legged cat is much better than the one he was living when he still had all four limbs. “Tony’s life with four legs was looking for his next meal and his forever home,” explains Rian, “and now he has a family filled with unconditional love and wants for nothing.”
Still, Rian has encountered people who believe Tony’s quality of life isn’t as good as that of the average four-legged feline, but he couldn’t disagree more. “The only thing he is limited to is jumping up high, which is common for a back leg amputation,” says Rian. However, being unable to jump high doesn’t stop Tony from being as active any other cat, and his dad makes sure he gets plenty of stimulation.
“Tony loves spending his days meowing at the birds in our garden and we play together daily,” says Rian, proving three-legged kitties can live wonderful lives filled with fun. For Rian, who struggles with mental health issues, opening his home to such a happy, affectionate, and resilient cat has helped him immensely.
Not only does Tony give Rian a reason to get up in the morning, this three-legged boy, who turned to him when he desperately needed someone to help him, has introduced some much-needed lightness to his dad’s life. “He genuinely brightens up my day and I feel like I burst with pride when people talk about him,” says Rian. “Tony is definitely my medicine.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Tony on Instagram.