Rescue Tail / Lucky Foot 
By Tara McFarland
A tiny kitten was sitting alone in the road on a hot summer night in Fiesta Key. The kitten was quiet, barely moving and completely lost. When the security guard approached, the kitten lifted her little head and let out a meow. It appeared that this little lost kitten had just given up, and sat out in the open hoping someone would see her, and save her. The kind guard picked her up, and she felt so tiny and fragile in his hands. She had brown and black stripes, her nose and chin white and eyes big and grey. She let out another meow and stretched. It was then that he noticed something wrong.
Her front legs appeared injured, twisted at the elbows and wrists. Were her little legs broken? Is that why she was in the street? Could she walk? What had happened to this poor little kitten? The guard called our officers at our Marathon Campus and brought her into our care.
Something was wrong, but what? Her twisted front legs weren’t painful and she showed no sign of injury. Our veterinarian, Dr. Carloni, examined the kitten and determined the injury was in fact, not an injury. Rather it was a congenital deformity known as contracted tendons.
Contracted tendons occur in utero when the kitten does not have enough room to lay normally. Without room to move the tendons become short and inflexible and cause the limb to remain in one position. This is also commonly referred to as “twisted leg.”
Our kitten, now named Lucky foot, was too old for corrective bracing or therapies and would have “twisted leg” for her lifetime. She went into foster and quickly learned how to embrace her differences and learn and grow like any other kitten. She would “army crawl” with her front legs, or stand on her hind legs and “walk.” She played, she ate, she grew just like a kitten should. She even learned how to use the litter box! She truly had incredible spirit!
Animals with special needs are just as the name suggests, special. Whatever the need may be their ability to live life to the fullest, not in spite of, but because of that need is inspirational. Be it a genetic deformity like Little Foot, a missing limb, or even megaesophagus (like one of our Key West cats!) don’t shy away from an animal labeled as special needs. Instead, ask one of our staff about that need, and maybe you’ll find that a special needs animal has a special place in your home and heart! Adopt a pet today by visiting us online at or call us at 305-294-4857 in Key West, or 305-743-4800 in Marathon.