She was almost helpless when she was discovered, her rear legs stretched out and her stance frog-like. Thankfully, she was saved and sent to Murphy’s Law Animal Rescue in North Carolina, where she was given a second chance at life. A trip to the veterinarian confirmed that she was born with Swimmer Syndrome, a developmental condition that affects certain kittens.
“It’s a congenital disease that causes the (kitten’s) legs to splay laterally,” Murphy’s Law Animal Rescue founder Sarah Kelly explained.
The illness appears to impair leg ligaments, leaving patients with unstable leg joints that are unable to be properly positioned for the balance and movement that cats and kittens require.
Infected animals’ legs are spread out like a frog’s or a breaststroke swimmer’s, rather than being tucked beneath the body. Fortunately, it can be reversed if identified early enough.
Because of her likeness to the grey fur seal, Sarah called the newcomer Cecelia. She arrived full of enthusiasm and vocal acuity, much like a newborn seal.
Sarah described her as having a “golden heart, a vibrant little soul, with an extremely lovely face.”
A strategy was devised to provide her with physical treatment multiple times each day, as well as splints to keep her legs in the proper posture at all times.
“The purpose of physiotherapy and splinting exercises is to strengthen and fuse the bones in the right position.”
Cecelia, who doesn’t mind being the center of attention, relished the additional attention.
She suddenly found herself surrounded by a posse of feline cheerleaders who were rooting for her every step of the way. Rudy, a dashing tuxedo who had opted to become one of her closest friends, was one of them.
Cecelia’s perseverance paid off quickly, as her rear legs began to straighten within a few weeks.
On her back paws, she was able to stand and even walk.
“To get to this stage, I had to go through a lot of physical treatment and exercise.”
Sarah commented, “This little child is so much stronger, moving so much better.”
Cecelia kept going in the same direction after making such great strides, and she was able to overcome her illness in no time.
She now walks on all four paws like any other kitten, taking everything in stride.
“Like no other, this young girl adores laps and attention.”
“We are ecstatic for her and her growth,” Sarah remarked.