Foster Hero Story: Watch the video! Gail made a DIY racetrack and cured this foster kitten

Zeus and his brother, Hercules, were two little kittens under 9 weeks old spending time at a rescue organization with their mom. Gail already had other pets but decided to foster the mom and her kittens and noticed Zeus had difficulty walking. Hear how Gail and her family came to the rescue and helped rehabilitate Zeus until this cat family found a forever home.

What was your experience with fostering the pets?

Zeus and Hercules were very young. Together with their mom, they needed care until they were old enough to adopt. I love cats and kittens and my daughters very much wanted to play with kittens! Cuddling and playing with them is a joy. I want them to have the care, attention, and love they deserve. I want all kitties to be in loving homes.

What was wrong with Zeus and how did you help him?

Zeus and Hercules were barely wobble walking when we got them, but we quickly noticed that something was strange about the way Zeus walked. He had swimmer’s syndrome (a special condition suggested to be caused by differences between the development of the muscles and rapid growth in body weight.) His back legs would splay out from underneath him. He needed physical therapy to learn to use his muscles in the right way so that he would be able to walk and run like a normal cat. He needed even more attention than an average kitten and we would work with him many times a day.

We built a narrow wooden trough for him to run through in addition to simply pushing his legs under him as he moved (see video below.) Almost every time I went in the room, one of the first things I would do is to drag a toy through the two troughs we had built. He quickly learned the routine and started to run through it on his own—without the need for me to drag the toy. His improvement was rapid and dramatic. His gate was almost normal by the time he was old enough to be adopted.

Watch Zeus use the wooden trough and build his leg muscles

We heard from his new family about a month ago. They sent pictures and told us how he is doing. He is a much-loved, very happy, healthy kitty! I asked how his progress for walking and running was going. I think they almost forgot that there had been an issue and reported he was completely normal! We love hearing from any adopting families. It was especially great to hear back about Zeus and see pictures of his grown-up self!

Who in your family or community supports your foster volunteering and how?

My two daughters spend hours with the kittens, helping the kittens to be wonderfully socialized. It is amazing that something I love doing is so helpful! We get to play with kittens, and it helps them!

What advice would you give to first-time foster pet parents? 

Start with an easy case. A mom with kittens can be a good start.

Is there anything else you’ve done to support animals in need?

I sometimes take kittens who have had their first shots to a memory care facility where my dad used to live.  The residents and staff love to meet them, pet them, and watch them play.  Some residents really love holding them. I’ve had a few kittens rest and happily cuddle for long periods with overjoyed residents.

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