Stockings, a Chicago orange tabby rescued from a hoarder, is not just another cute cat on the internet. He may be the cutest cat ever on the internet. He was born with a terrible birth defect that made his legs grow almost backwards. He couldn’t walk. He could barely stand. But like all kittens, he wanted to play. And play.
Check out the pictures of Stockings below, you can see his hind legs folded into the shape of a “W.” But Stockings didn’t let that stop him.
“He had so much pent up energy! He wanted to run around like other kittens and play,” said Jenny Schlueter of Chicago’s Tree House Humane Society. “He’d jump up and fall on his face. He really wanted to do what he couldn’t do.”
Stockings was a determined little guy who never let his condition get him down. All he wanted to do was play and be like any normal cat. And legs or no legs that’s exactly what he was going to do.
But Stockings was lucky, luckier than untold numbers of cats who never find their way to a place like Tree House, a no-kill and no-cage animal shelter. The group specializes, as it says on its own web site in “rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured cats.”
So Tree House brought in a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Neihaus, who was willing to take on Stockings’ case. Neihaus, of Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, often works with Tree House cats.
“If we did nothing, this cat would most likely have been euthanized,” Neihaus told ABC 7 Eyewitness News in Chicago.
Neihaus had an idea for a type of surgery that could turn Stockings’ legs, and his life, back around.
“We knew it was risky. We knew there were no guarantees it would work,” Schlueter said.
It took not one, not two, but three surgeries to give Stockings the legs he was meant to have. But the procedures were successful. After six weeks of healing, Stockings is walking — and playing — like a normal kitten.
He even has a new home. Priscilla Cherry, a veterinary technician at Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, normally fosters cats, giving them a temporary home as the recover from surgery. But Stockings was something special.
“I saw him trying to grab people through the bars of his kennel without a care about his malformed legs, and I knew he was for me,” Cherry said. She is now Stockings full-time mommy.
Check out these photos of Stockings from the way he was when he first came to Tree House, with his malformed back legs, through the recovery from his surgery — to the way he is today, learning to walk on his repaired legs.
Now here’s another video of Stockings with the woman who adopted him and gave him the home where he will grow up — with legs that actually work.