When Curly came to me from KLAWS we knew there was something not-quite-right about him – though he was the friendliest wee thing, he was terribly skinny, and a bit awkward. And the first time I picked him up his chest just felt wrong. Sure enough, Curly’s rib cage hadn’t developed properly – there was a huge hole, leaving his heart unprotected – and he is the most open hearted kitten in so many ways.
Examining him further, Fachtna, my local vet, pronounced he had cow-hocked legs – they bend towards each other like a reflection of ‘J’s. His hind legs turn inward, which means his feet point outwards, rather than forwards. And we already knew his eyes pointed in opposite directions.
The legs may cause Curly difficulty in later life. When the hind legs turn inward, it places stress on the hips and spine and can lead to problems like arthritis, or spinal problems. It’s also a possible cause of chronic pain – and cats don’t show pain generally, until it’s extreme. Strengthening the leg muscles will help. And Curly bombs around and up and down the place like a normal kitten, so he’s putting on plenty of muscle.
But the legs weren’t the biggest worry. The chest problem was. We would have liked to have x-rayed to see exactly what was going on, but we’d missed an opportunity when he’d been neutered and we didn’t want to risk putting him under anaesthetic again when he seemed perfectly healthy. You’d have thought having your heart open to the world would be terribly dangerous for a wee, active kitten – so we came to the conclusion that he must be less vulnerable than you’d think having joined in with the rough play of his siblings with no apparent harm done. And, as he grew, he built up muscle mass around the gap and seems to be getting on fine. I’m terribly careful picking him up just the same.
Without x-ray it’s difficult to say what his problem is exactly. I’ve found information on pectus excavatum and FCKS that seems the most likely. Surgery is recommended in severe cases but, as Curly’s seemed mild, Fachtna recommended to leave well alone and keep an eye.
So the main reason I didn’t introduce Curly to y’all was my dithering about whether to advertise him for adoption or not. I’d also fallen in love with him. And so did Moe, my wee wobbler, just a few months older than Curly.
Curly & Moe, the Wiggle Walkers
While dithering, I put together this rather, I confess, self-indulgent video in an effort to show wee Curly’s ‘cow-hocked’ legs. There’s one tiny clip, ‘Nothing Happening Here’, where you might get an idea.
Curly and Moe had become BFF (you met Moe previously – her wig walk is more apparent in this video). That combined with his multiple issues made me think I should maybe keep him, rather than look for a home for him. But at this stage I’d already seven broken cats (my max is supposed to be four) and I just don’t have the money for another set of vet bills. And while Curly was originally fostered for KLAWS, they can’t afford to be paying for a kitten for the rest of his life.
And, yes, I do have a Larry too – he’s the ginger FIV+ chronic snotrag you’ll see around my webpages.
So I dithered for months. And it’s only recently I’ve admitted to myself that I’ve adopted Curly. I think I would have had a hard time finding a home for him considering his infirmities. But I didn’t try. He’s grand for the moment. And if he needs expensive care in the future, KLAWS are more than willing to fundraise for him if needs be.
He’s really the most charming wee lad, and is a great friend to Moe. So, for the moment, we’re living happily ever after.
Out of the Box
I can’t end without sharing a silly wee video I put together – Curly, Dutchess and Moe negotiating box use. Music: Out of the Box theme tune. Apologies for the overbrightnesses.
Oh! Almost forgot to mention – Curly got his name cos I’ve already got a Larry and a Moe (the Three Stooges) – and because of his Curly legs, of course.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Curly. He’s delighted you’ve taken an interest and we’ll keep you posted on his development. Thanks!
- KLAWS Kerry
- Cow-hocked legs
- Pectus excavatum and FCKS
- Chest bone deformity
- Management of Congenital Chest Wall Deformities
- Introducing Moe, Dancing
- Curly’s Galleries