By: Robin Desmet – Sept. 2017

Chicken 1I was interested in fostering Chicken from the moment I saw his picture. His curious, wide-eyed look captured my attention and his story captured my heart. Chicken was found outside all by himself with no mother and no siblings. He was brought to an overwhelmed, over-crowded, kill shelter at the height of summer, otherwise known as “kitten season”. He wasn’t what most people would call “normal”. He had been born with only 3 legs. After spending a week at the shelter he was scheduled to be euthanized. Chicken was only 4 weeks old and he had less than 24 hours left to live.

Lucky for Chicken and lucky for me, The Odd Cat Sanctuary (TOCS) in Salem, MA, decided to take a chance on Chicken. TOCS is a non- profit feline rescue organization that specializes in rescuing and adopting out what they lovingly refer to as “Odd Cats”. This includes cats that typically end up on death row in high volume, high-kill shelters, and includes cats that are abused, handicapped, elderly, injured, and semi-feral. The TOCS has saved many a cat from certain death, and Chicken is no exception.

Chicken 2The moment I laid eyes on Chicken, I could see how special he was. He stared directly at me with big eyes full of curiosity and wide-eyed wonder. There were no signs of shyness or hesitation or fear. When I held him for the first time he immediately began to purr. Over the next 8 weeks, my fondness for him grew. He was the subject of many of my conversations and the star of my Facebook page. When my friends came to visit, I proudly showed him off. I discovered that he didn’t just purr for me, he purred for everyone.

Chicken didn’t know that he was handicapped. Watching him run and play with his other foster kitten friends you would never know that anything was wrong with him.

Chicken 3He enthusiastically engaged in play and wrestling matches and loved to fetch toys and climb the cat tower. When I got home from work at night, he would come running out of nowhere to greet me. I would scoop him up and he would wiggle and purr incessantly, never failing to put a big smile on my face.

Of all of the foster kittens that I have had, Chicken was easily one of my favorites. I have always had a soft spot for cats and kittens that may be seen as undesirable to others. I gravitate to the feral, semi-feral, elderly, sick, roughed up, and not so pretty cats. If a kitten is a picture perfect ball of fluff, I know it will be easily adopted. If the kitten is a torn up, hissing, flea bag, that needs work, then I am fully invested in helping to turn that kitten’s life around.

This was my first experience working with a handicapped kitten and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of cats.

While I was fostering Chicken, I got to meet Eucalyptus, a blind kitten that my friend was fostering. I believe that these blind, 3-legged or otherwise handicapped cats and kittens deserve a chance like everyone else. They may not always be pretty, but I have seen firsthand how much heart and soul these handicapped kittens can have. If you’re thinking of adopting, take a look at all of the available adoptees. Like me, you may just fall in love with a 3-legged kitten.

If you are interested in adopting a kitten or cat from The Odd Cat Sanctuary, please go online to their web site and fill out an adoption application.