This is the story of a kitten who has been an inspiration to all who have had the blessing of knowing him.
It all began in February 2010, when a litter ofkittens was born at Abayomi Abyssinians Cattery near Vancouver, British Columbia. The babies were growing strong and healthy, and they were starting to get into their little toddler shenanigans with typical Abyssinian energy and abandon.
On May 2, 2010, breeder Tracy Fasciana discovered that one male kitten’s antics had resulted in disaster. He was limping around with one rear leg hanging loosely. She took him to the vet, where X-rays revealed that his femur was actually snapped in two.
Surgery to restore the kitten’s leg would require pins, plates, external fixators, and a minimum of 8 weeks of kennel rest. All the while, he would have to be taken for repeated vet visits and X-rays and dosed with antibiotics to prevent infection. But there was no way to know if he would be able to use the leg even if the vet performed this radical surgery; he might already have suffered too much nerve damage.
Tracy couldn’t find it in her heart to have the otherwise healthy kitten euthanized. When her vet suggested amputation, she worried about that, too. How would the kitten get by with only three legs?
The vet reassured Tracy that cats do fine with three legs, especially if the missing leg happens to be in the back. Cats carry most of their weight over their front legs, so it’s easier to adapt to a rear leg amputation.
With her heart somewhat at ease, Tracy agreed.
The kitten survived the surgery without a hitch. As soon as he was home from the clinic, he was already rolling around and playing with his toys.
The day after his surgery, the tiny furball was jumping and running. No balance problems for this little tripod! Tracy had to keep him in a small kitty playpen so he didn’t rip open his sutures after too much activity.
The kitten had been reserved before he was born, so Tracy had to break the bad news to his prospective family. She didn’t expect they’d still want to take him, so she offered to refund their deposit and reserve the next blue kitten for them.
The family’s response: “We all decided that we do still want him. He is still an Aby, with the Aby soul and all the unique character traits that we have come to love. Four legs or three does not change that!”
They even gave him a name, Ajani (pronounced Ah-jah-NEE), a word of African origin meaning “he who wins struggles.” Their daughter wanted Tut to be a part of his name, too, so Ajani Tut he became.
Two weeks after surgery, Ajani’s sutures were removed and he finally had free run of the house. And run he did! He also climbed, wrestled, played, and horsed around as only an Abyssinian can.
On July 5, Ajani went to his new home in Edmonton, Alberta, where he has continued to inspire everyone he meets with his confidence, curiosity, and incredibly loving nature. Within a day of his arrival, he even managed to stare down the family dog.
The absence of a leg hasn’t done anything to keep Ajani from doing typical feline things like “helping” to change the bedsheets or sneaking onto the counter to steal a tasty pot roast.
Ajani has settled beautifully into his new home. He’s buddies with the three other resident cats — especially the family’s other Abyssinian, Taiko — and continues to torment the dog.
“I cannot describe it … he empowers us with LOVE. He is handling it all so well … and certainly doesn’t feel the least bit sorry for himself,” Tracy wrote on her website.
That’s the wonderful thing about cats. They live in the moment and feel no angst about not being like the other cats. Very rarely does a “minor” disability like a missing limb hurt a cat’s ability to be a star athlete.
Especially if the cat in question is an Energizer Bunny breed like an Abyssinian.
Here’s a video of Ajani’s story:
(In a reader? Watch the video here.)