I’m in bed watching a movie. Joey is laying on his Armarkat kitty condo in front of the open window. It’s sunny and 74°. There’s a slight breeze. Joey’s sprawled over the top of the condo, his crazy paws resting in front of him. He’s chirping at the birds as he slowly closes his eyes with every burst of wind that picks up. Joey’s orange fur glistens in the sun as he goes for a big stretch. Joey is very special. I’ve never had a tabby cat in my life until 2012 when I adopted him. I didn’t think I’d ever have a disabled cat but I was lucky enough to find him!
I adopted Joey from Saving One Life cat sanctuary in February 2012. I remember seeing him at PetSmart one day. He was pushed up against the glass window in the adoption center and I could see his deformed paws. My heart sank. I said to myself “If he’s still here in a week, I’ll adopt him.” I figured no one would want him because he was different. Joey had already been in foster care for a year. Well, guess what? Here we are four years later. Joey has a condition called radial hypoplasia. It’s left his front legs deformed. Despite this, he is incredibly cuddly and precious.
What is a tabby cat?
A tabby is not a breed – it’s simply a pattern of fur on a cat. A tabby cat’s coat is typically made up of stripes and spots or whirls. In Joey’s case, his fur is bright orange with distinct stripes. He has spots on his tummy. I always call him my little lion.
What is radial hypoplasia?
Radial hypoplasia is a rare disorder. It’s a birth defect. Basically, Joey is missing bones and joints. Because of this, his front legs are curved in and his paws are deformed. His left paw is in a lot better shape than his right. Joey gets around like any normal cat. He can run, jump and play like others. Yes, Joey does walk differently and many people get sad, but he doesn’t know the difference. Matt and I do everything we can to accommodate his disability. As Joey gets older I worry about pressure on his back and back legs. Arthritis is something I think about. To prevent it, I have Joey on supplements to strengthen his bones and joints.
Joey will turn six years old in June. He’s a wonderful, loving, beautiful tabby and I can’t imagine life without him!
Do you have a tabby cat? Have you ever had one in your life?