Nail tech Ruthy Carter of Tofield, Alberta, Canada has always been an animal lover, so when a friend told her about a disabled kitten born on a farm who needed a home, it was second nature to take the animal in. “She faced certain death as her disabilities made her extremely vulnerable to the dangers of farm life,” explains Carter. Noodle suffers from Swimmers Syndrome, a developmental deformity found in newborn dogs and cats that causes their legs to splay out, making them unable to stand or walk. Because the syndrome is generally considered untreatable, animals that show symptoms are usually euthanized. Carter provides special therapy including physiotherapy, stretches, and massages for Noodle, who also wears a special brace to help hold her back legs in a more functional position.
When Carter got Noodle, she was a three-week-old kitten who required bottle feeding and couldn’t use her back legs, but she’s thrived since then. “Now she can climb her kitty condo, chairs, couches, and even run up the stairs,” Carter says. “She gained some movement in her back legs and her amazing vet is even shocked at her ability not to let her disabilities stop her from doing things all cats can do.”
Caring for a disabled animal requires more commitment than a healthy animal, Carter says. It’s worth it though: “Raising a disabled kitten is not for the faint of heart, but it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve been lucky enough to do in my life so far,” she says. “My experience caring for little Noodle has made me want to help more kitties that may not otherwise have a chance at life. I’m hoping Noodle’s story will inspire other people not to be so quick to give up on these precious little lives who don’t have a voice.”