Little Kitten with Curled Legs Grows Stronger with His Sibling’s Support


At just under a month old, Bean, a tiny kitten, is overcoming a challenging start with the help of his family and dedicated foster care.

His mother, Lilith, along with another feral cat named Loula, were both expecting when they were rescued by FosterBabyCats in Columbus, OH. These two feline mothers shared a close bond and sported matching calico patterns. Jillian, the founder of the rescue organization, explained, “The prevailing theory is that Lilith is Loula’s mother.” With both cats nearing labor, their family was about to expand.

Lilith delivered first, welcoming a small ginger kitten named Bean. At just 75 grams, Bean was on the smaller side compared to the typical newborn kitten weight range of 50-150 grams. Although he was one of the smallest, Bean had a robust appetite and cherished his time cuddling with his mother and aunt. However, Jillian noticed that Bean’s legs were “curled and frail.”

Baby Bean and His Brother Burrito A few days later, Bean took on the role of big brother when Burrito was born. The duo formed an adorable pair of tabby kittens in shades of orange and grey.

“Two little chunks! Burrito and Bean are consistently gaining weight and looking healthy for their age, though Burrito is clearly the more robust of the two.”

While both kittens were growing well, Bean remained smaller than his younger sibling, and his leg condition continued to pose challenges. As they awaited an appointment with a specialist, Jillian massaged his legs and applied mild warmth.

“I also assist him in attempting to align his feet properly and walk while I support his body weight.”

At the veterinary clinic, Bean was diagnosed with a suspected case of developing osteochondrodystrophy, a bone and cartilage disorder. The examination also raised suspicions of hydrocephalus, characterized by excess fluid in the brain’s cavities, due to Bean’s enlarged head.

Bean was scheduled for regular veterinary visits for ongoing evaluations and check-ups, while Jillian conducted daily physical therapy sessions to enhance his muscle strength and mobility.

Burrito proved to be an excellent physical therapy assistant, helping his brother strengthen through playful actions like wrestling, jumping, pouncing, and a special maneuver Jillian dubbed “roly-polies.”

The Outcome? “Bean is making remarkable progress in muscle development and learning to navigate in a manner that suits his physical needs,” Jillian reported.

“I’m committed to doing everything possible to ensure he has the best chance at life.”

And it’s evident. The little tiger is a joyful, thriving cuddle enthusiast!

Family Similarities Once Loula had her kittens, the family resemblance was unmistakable. Jillian noted, “All the kittens bear a striking resemblance to one another.”

With the hypothesis that Lilith is Loula’s mother, “Bean and Burrito would be Loula’s brothers and the four newcomers [Loula’s kittens] are Lilith’s grandchildren or Bean and Burrito’s nieces and nephews. It’s conceivable that the same male cat fathered both Lilith and Loula’s litters, complicating their family tree even further.”

This complex family tree highlights one of the reasons why spaying and neutering are critical, as inbreeding within feral cat populations can lead to genetic defects that make their already challenging lives even more difficult. Although not directly the cause of Bean’s conditions, the heartache of losing kittens to inbreeding-related issues is a common sorrow for foster caregivers and rescue workers.

However, thanks to Jillian and FosterBabyCats, Lilith and Loula will no longer have to worry about future litters, nor will their kittens, as sterilization is a standard part of preparing them for adoption into forever homes.

For more updates on Bean and Burrito, follow FosterBabyCats on Facebook and Instagram, or watch the kittens live on the FosterBabyCats Livestream.

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