When Brianna Ellis, a certified veterinary technician, was at work in February 2019, a family brought their injured tuxedo cat into the animal clinic. “He had fallen off of their 6th floor balcony,” explains Brianna, and an exam revealed he had sustained some very serious trauma. “He had broken both his front legs in multiple places and broken his hard palate.”
Despite his severe injuries, the one-year-old cat was incredibly resilient, and his good-natured personality made a huge impression on Brianna. “He stole my heart that day because even through what must have been excruciating pain, he was still purring, making biscuits, and begging for pets,” remembers Brianna.
Eventually, the adorable black and white cat was discharged from the clinic with splints on both of his front legs, and Brianna and her coworkers were hopeful his fractured limbs would heal.
Unfortunately, over the course of the next six weeks, the young cat’s legs didn’t get better while he was under his family’s care, and Brianna decided to take on the challenge of helping the young tuxedo cat. “He needed more care than they could or would provide for him, so I was able to convince them to surrender him to me,” explains Brianna.
Six weeks after their first meeting, Brianna adopted the tenacious cat on April 4, 2019, and changed his named to Maverick, a nod to his unpredictable personality. While surgery wasn’t an option for Maverick, Brianna’s vet, Blue Pearl, put both of his front legs in casts, hoping they might heal well enough for him to be able to walk on them again.
However, his front right leg failed to show the slightest signs of improvement– and it was actually causing Maverick pain — so Brianna made the decision to have it amputated on April 25, 2019.
With the help of weekly casts, Maverick’s front left limb seemed to heal, and eventually all of the bandages were removed and Brianna arranged for him to begin physical therapy. “Maverick had other ideas,” says Brianna. “He leaped, quite literally, back into life and ended up re-breaking his leg and taking his tendons out with it.”
Not wanting to subject this incredibly active and willful boy to additional months of casts, Brianna — with the help of the staff at Blue Pearl — determined it would be best to amputate the majority of Maverick’s front left limb.
Six weeks later, this adorable boy has adjusted well to life with two legs, and Brianna is so thankful he is now pain-free and thriving. “Maverick is happier than I have ever seen him,” says Brianna. “He is finally gaining independence and enjoying being a cat.”
However, Maverick is still getting used to being unable to dig in the litter box, so he has accidents from time to time and Brianna often has to prompt him to urinate.
Also, despite everything he’s been through, this spunky boy remains as reckless as ever. “Maverick has no fear and will throw himself off of any surface or out of anyone’s arms without any concern for his own safety,” explains Brianna. “He also tries to walk on his nub unless he’s wearing a shirt.”
Fortunately, with the help of clothing and close supervision, Brianna has managed to get these issues under control, allowing Maverick to enjoy his favorite pastimes. “Maverick loves playing with his butterfly toy, looking out the window at my clinic, yelling at people for attention, and snuggles,” says Brianna.
While every cat might not be able to adjust to life without their front limbs, Brianna believes Maverick is proof many of them can, making him an example of a two-legged kitty who is active, playful, happy, and thriving.
In fact, when she was considering whether or not to amputate Maverick’s front limbs, Brianna reached out to the family of another two-legged kitty she met through social media for advice, exposing her to the many special needs cats who are enjoying great lives. “I wish that more people knew how many special needs cats were out there and what a caring community they make,” says Brianna.
Thanks to Brianna, Maverick is now a member of this community, and this incredibly goofy and strong-willed feline is delighting everyone he meets with his persistence and unique approach to life. “He has his own ideas and will absolutely do everything his own, difficult way,” explains Brianna.
Fortunately for Maverick, he has Brianna to help him have fun while keeping him safe from himself, and it’s hard to imagine a better mom for this special boy. “He is my heart cat,” says Brianna.
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Maverick on Instagram.