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May 1, 2012 at 2:07 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Corky the Kitten Fights to Walk!

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

This week a 7-month old calico cat has won the hearts of many! He was born into the world with a rare birth defect. Ever since then, he's been fighting for his life.

The first person to fall for this kitten was a vet tech at the pound. She said she immediately took a liking to him. Despite the raw deal he was given, she couldn't believe how full of life he was. Though this little guy was scheduled to be euthanized, she simply couldn’t bear it. If he was willing to fight, so was she!

She made a phone call to CATS Cradle, a no-kill shelter who agreed to come and see the poor little kitten - despite her hesitance to divulge the severity of the kitten's condition right away. Says shelter co-founder Gail Ventzke "She refused to describe that cat over the phone.She just said 'you have to see this'."

Luckily, Ventzke and co-founder Carol Stefonkek weren't put off. “When we arrived, she brought this tangled little guy out of the cage area, and from that moment on he was ours,”

They decided to name him Corky and to take him with them. They would do everything they could to give Corky a chance at a happy, normal life. 

To figure out more about the defect, Venske decided to take him to get x-rays. When she did, she found that Corky had bilateral arthrogryposis of tarsus - a fancy way of saying the bones in his legs had formed backwards and were overlapping - a genetic deformity that is relatively common in newborn cattle, but is almost unheard of in cats.

Now that Venske knew what condition Corky had, it was time to find the right veterinarian to perform a corrective procedure. That vet was Dr. Dan Burchill. Burchill had performed this type of surgery before (although it was on a dog, not a cat), so he was a great candidate for the job. At a cost $2,500 for this procedure, most shelters would have simply given up on the troubled kitty. But if Corky were ever to walk normally, it had to be done and CATS Cradle was determined to make that happen.

Everyone at CATS Cradle was rooting for Corky on the day of his operation, and all the positive thoughts seemed to have helped because though it lasted longer than expected, the surgery went really well. 

Unfortunately, like the surgery though, recovery also took longer than expected. Corky encountered problems with swelling and poor circulation. He had to undergo a couple more operations and still blood was not circulating well in his left leg.

It was a hard thing to accept for Venske, but something drastic had to be done, "It's now clear to us that the circulation will not return and the foot has begun to die, so the difficult decision had to be made to amputate a portion of his left leg. He will be going into surgery tomorrow afternoon (April 26) to have his leg removed from the lower portion of the tibia."

On the bright side, only a portion of Corky's left leg was removed, so once healed, he would still potentially be able to walk.

Today, Corky is still in the process of recovery. He receives many different types of physical therapy to help the healing process. Everything from acupuncture to laser therapy. So how much is all this surgery and therapy costing? I'm sure a lot, but luckily CATS Cradle is not the only one footing the bill. Generous people from almost EVERY U.S. state have been touched by Corky's story and are making donations to help the little guy!

What's in the future for Corky?

If all pans out well for Corky, Venske would like him to become a therapy cat. He believes he would relate really well to children who may going through surgery or have a disability or deformity of their own they must overcome.
"Our hope is to have him certified as a therapy pet and take him to visit children recovering from surgeries or disabilities so they can see that with determination and drive you can overcome anything."

I think if Corky was able to captivate the heart of that vet tech who saved him and so many more people all over the U.S., he may have a knack for touching the hearts of children that are going through difficult times. Here's to Corky, may he recover and help those in need!

In the mean time, it's wonderful to be able to follow Corky's story on facebook and see that Corky has been adopted and is very happy in his home. :)

April 8, 2012: "Corky and his Rehabilitation team"

June 8, 2012: "Look at Corky GOOOO!"

July 9, 2012: "Look who I found on the couch this morning...."

January 10, 2013: "Mommy and I were snuggling this afternoon. As I cuddled in her lap she asked me if I was aware of how many lives I have touched. I told her I did not understand, I am just a cat, why would people be moved by me? With tears welling up in her eyes she gently kissed my face and told me I was very special, that I had impacted more lives than I would every know. Have I touched your life in some way? Would you care to tell me how?"

July 4, 2013: "Daddy and Corky love watching tv together in Corkys room."

August 10, 2013: "Corky: Umm MOM....wake UP, it's my BIRFDAY, reMEMber??? Mom: Of course I remember Corky, Happy 2nd Birthday Darling."

September 14, 2013: "Corky is in the hospital again for the second time in three months. He had to be anaesthetise him again to put the catheter in and they will flush him out again. Dr. Alecia said I caught it early again, but now it is clear that he needs to go on prescription canned food forever.The good news is Corky gets to come home today, he is on a strict canned food diet, and will eat only canned food from now on. The crystals have all been flushed out and he will be released with two more days of pain meds and another course of antibiotics. We just have to wait for his IV to be pulled and he is good to go YAY!!!"

December 18, 2013: "Looking thru my phone and found this photo of Corky and Gwinner taken while we were fostering Gwinner. He really did love every one of our fur babies and Corky was a great father figure to him."

January 20, 2014: "Mommy is changing sheets so I'm helping by holding them down for her."


Photo Credit:

CATS Cradle Shelter

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  • May Corky's angels surround him with love and healing!

  • Corky is destined to have a wonderful life with people who adore him.

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