This is super-cute Little Roo Russ. She was brought to a shelter in late April 2016. Shelter staff knew immediately that something was wrong. She was walking in a strange way and was much smaller than her siblings. They x-rayed her and found that she did not have any elbow joints. This must have meant that she struggled to use her front legs when walking which is why she had been dubbed a kangaroo cat as she has adapted to using a hindlegs and tail far more than normal. We are not told but was she suffering from radial hypoplasia?
She was taken in by Marnie who specialises in caring for special-needs and, of course, she fell in love with her. It’s impossible not to when looking at this photograph. Of course, she grew up and she has learned to use her front legs but they are shorter than normal. However, her gait is fairly normal we are told.
In a nice twist to this very positive cat story, Little Roo Russ has been successful in helping to raise thousands of dollars for the organisation that was involved in rescuing her, namely the National Kitten Coalition.
Little Roo Russ it is not the first kitten to be born without elbow joints. It doesn’t take long to find the others online. And they do tend to walk around like kangaroos or on one occasion like a T-Rex dinosaur!
It must depend upon how disabled a kitten is as to whether they can develop a reasonable gait when they grow up. Sadly, most cats born with rare bone deformities end up being euthanised perhaps in shelters or perhaps by a veterinarian on the request of their owner. However, sometimes they are adopted into a family and cared for with the other cat if it is a multi-cat home. The disabled cat learns to integrate and behave almost normally in such a place. They can be a wonderful family member.
Domestic cats are amazingly adaptable and they learn new techniques to get around. The disability must impair or even prevent a domestic cat jumping up and down from objects. This does not stop them enjoying life which probably has to be as a full-time indoor cat to protect them from outside hazards.