Have you heard of the Cats of Hazzard?
As you’d expect from their crew name, this is a bunch of kittens who are named for characters from the 1980s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. As you might remember, the series that was set in Georgia and focused on the freewheelin’ adventures of Luke and Bo Duke, their cousin Daisy (she of the cut-off jean shorts), and old Uncle Jessie.
For today’s update of the show, the stars have been cast as four ginger kittens with an array of special needs.
The Cats of Hazzard debuted in October of this year, when this quartet of furry ginger scamps turned up at the Umbrella of Hope nonprofit organization in Pittsburg, California.
Three of the kittens — Uncle Jessie, Luke and Daisy — arrived from a private home in Los Angeles whose humans found caring for these cats with special needs too overwhelming.
In technical medical terms, the three kittens (who were all born to the same mother) have a combination of femoral agenesis, bilateral femoral head hypoplasia, tibial agenesis and multiple metatarsal agenesis/hypoplasia. To save you having to search for definitions of those terms, it basically means that many of the bones in the cats’ back legs didn’t form correctly (or, in some cases, didn’t form at all).
Speculating on the origin of the three kittens’ physical issues, the Umbrella of Hope wonders whether at some point in their lineage, some human was attempting to breed a so-called “designer” cat that’s colloquially called a squitten. (Yes, you may judge that person and anyone in the market for such a Pokemon-sounding feline.) The theory suggests that defective genes were passed down to Uncle Jessie, Luke and little Daisy.
The fourth kitten, Bo, joined the Cats of Hazzard clowder shortly after his soon-to-be pals arrived.
He came from the Solano Animal Shelter and was diagnosed as being afflicted with micropthalmia, eyelid agenesis and entropion. Again, in terms that your average cat-fan non-veterinarian type can understand, that means Bo was born with a small right eye (that was also blind and so removed), and another eye that’s missing part of its eyelid and which suffers from eyelashes that curl in and — ugh — constantly rub against his cornea.
Oh, and Bo might also have a hip issue that will require further X-rays to fully investigate.
Now that the unfortunate medical news is out of the way, we’ll put a happier spin on things: By all reports, the quartet of kittens are intent on living life as if their various medical issues didn’t even exist.
“The Cats of Hazzard are happy, healthy and sweet,” reads an update from the Umbrella of Hope. “They use a litter box normally and can even climb cat trees.”
At this point, the Cats of Hazzard are adjusting to the rescue facility while engaging in an online fundraiser. With the money, the Umbrella of Hope staff hopes to schedule an exam with specialist at the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital who (it’s hoped) can diagnose the extent of the kittens’ various ailments and determine their needs over the long term.
Then the Cats of Hazzard can be put up for formal adoption, with preference going to people who’ve had experience with special needs pets and are willing to continue the cats’ social media profile.
Why the commitment to the cats’ Instagram account?
Simple: As they grow older and conquer life, Luke, Bo, Daisy and Uncle Jessie will be doing so as ambassadors for special needs cats and advocates for stepping up and adopting them.