ASPCA Happy Tails: A "Lil" Love Goes a Long Way for Special Needs Cat

March 19, 2014

Barbara G. has been a volunteer at the ASPCA for over 10 years, so she’s seen her fair share of animals. With two ASPCA cats at home, she had no plans to adopt a third—until she met Lil Ricky. A feisty cat with a number of health issues, Ricky was having a hard time finding a home. But Barbara believed in him, and proved that with a little patience and a lot of love, Ricky could flourish. Here is the Happy Tail of how this special cat went from “hisser” to “kisser.”

Most days, Barbara can be found at the ASPCA Adoption Center socializing cats and syringe-feeding kittens. While going about this work last year, she noticed Lil Ricky. At just three months old, the kitten was already suffering from a number of issues: Cerebellar Hypoplasia (a condition that leads to poor balance), Cardiomyopathy (a weak heart), and a repaired broken leg. As Barbara puts it, “He was unsteady on his feet, would need lifelong cardiac medication, and had the potential for complications from the leg fracture.” He was a tough kitty that would be a challenge for even the most experienced animal adopter.

Ricky was fostered out for a while, but was eventually returned to the shelter for his ensuing aggression issues. After that, Barbara recalls, “Lil Ricky was in the ‘available’ area but not one potential adopter inquired about him.” She couldn’t bear to see him with no potential home outside the shelter, and so decided to try a four-week “foster to adopt” program with the cat. During this time, he moved into Barbara’s apartment and was carefully introduced to her other pets. True to his unpredictable nature, Ricky did something that defied all expectations: He fit right in.

Barbara officially adopted Lil Ricky just short of his first birthday. Since then, she says, “He has gone from a kitten that could barely walk to an adolescent running, climbing, and playing hard with his new brother and sister. Ricky may stumble and fall on occasion, but he always gets up and keeps on going!”

Barbara and Lil Ricky’s story is proof that every animal is worth saving. Transformed from a feisty wildcat into a loving companion, Ricky now greets Barbara at the door every day and sleeps snugly next to her every single night. 

Do you have a Happy Tail you’d like to share? Email your story to [email protected] and we might feature it on the blog!

Orange and white cat laying on bed

Three kittens being held
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