A Cat With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Was Finally Adopted And Found His Forever Home
Things don’t always work out the way we went them to. But most of the time, these redirections lead us to discover something amazing. Take for example the story of Georgina Price and her fiancé Christopher Lardner. The couple adopted a 16-year-old cat named Herbie. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to spend a long time with Herbie, which was tragic, to say the least. But it didn’t take Georgina long to start looking for new furry friends to rescue. She eventually found not one but two kitties but one has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
“I just kept thinking about all the abandoned animals that might have only five months left and would spend the whole of that time in a shelter. We decided we would look for an extra special cat that might take a little longer to find a home.”
People tend to foster and adopt young cats instead of older ones. This is mostly because of a sad notion that older kitties are harder to keep. But this notion causes a seriously sad situation for elderly cats and dogs, who end up waiting in vain. That’s why many animal shelters exert so much effort in campaigning for their elderly residents. And it just so happened that Georgina was searching for elderly rescues.
Georgina Price and her fiancé adopted a cat diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and his best fur-riend
“We found them on the RSPCA website when they were looking for a home,” Georgina recalled. “They’re a bonded pair, the RSPCA advertised them together. And we thought if we can help two adorable cats rather than one, then that’s the best possible outcome.”
Back then, black-and white-colored Quinton was already 7 years old and toothless while the short-haired Toby was 6 years old and looked different to the others thanks to all his loose skin. Apparently, Toby’s loose skin is caused by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or Feline Cutaneous Asthenia (FCA), which is a condition where the person or feline, in this case, develop extremely thin, way-too-stretchable and delicate skin. His condition certainly gave him quite the unusual look. Georgina had the feeling that Toby’s appearance would make it hard for him to find a fur-ever home. So she decided to step up.
Despite learning that Toby has EDS, the couple still decided to take the package deal felines
Georgina learned about Toby’s condition sometime during their visit at the RSPCA special unit where the cat duo were being kept. “We’d never heard of it before we found Toby,” she quipped. Finding out that a potential pet has an underlying condition that may require extra care typically puts off potential adopters.
We may not know how long the feline pair had been with RSPCA, but they’ve probably met their fair share of hesitant fur-parents. These types of disheartening interactions with humans appeared to have disappointed Toby so much to the point that he didn’t even want to show himself to Georgina and Christopher!
“They were both terrified and huddled right at the back,” Georgina shared. “Toby just hid behind Quinton the whole time, trembling.”
Given Toby’s distressed state, neither Georgina or Christopher got to interact with him then. Quinton, on the other hand, had a bit more confidence and allowed Georgina to pet him. The situation would most likely have discouraged others. But the couple felt that they had what it took to provide the care the Toby and Quinton needed and to help them regain their confidence. And as expected, their first few days together proved to be quite the uphill battle.
The cats needed a lot of time to adjust to their new home
“They were just so scared and were living under the bed for weeks but food and love eventually got them out. And now, they own the place. They just do what they want and act mad when you turn the light on if they’re asleep on the bed or something.”
This situation is definitely one that all fur-parents can relate to. Cats and dogs often need a long time to get used to their new environment. But once they realize that they are in a safe, loving space, their attitude changes from meek to confident immediately! One thing that Georgina and Christopher have noticed with Toby is that he doesn’t seem to be affected by his EDS very much. In fact, he doesn’t seem to be aware of it!
“He seems oblivious to it. His biggest problem is probably us trying to make sure he doesn’t get hurt of cleaning his wounds (he hates that).”
Since his skin is super stretchy and delicate due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Toby is more susceptible to injuries
When Toby stands or walks, his excessively loose stomach skin stretches all the way down to his knees. Which makes his fur-parents worry over the possibility of him stepping or tripping on his skin.
This is just one of the many worrisome effects of Toby’s Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that Georgina and Christopher have to keep in mind. To deal with this particular issue, they make Toby wear all sorts of feline clothes to help contain his loose skin. He also has to wear a supportive neck pillow so he won’t accidentally scratch and injure his delicate neckfolds.
“We’re very lucky that his hypermobility condition seems to be mild and we manage it very easily. His skin is just weaker than it should be, so he gets lots of tears, especially around his neck and head.”
His fur-parents are doing all that they can to care for Toby
And while they cannot do anything to completely cure Toby’s EDS, Georgina and Christopher constantly keep themselves updated about Toby’s overall health. Since Toby is a rather large cat, the couple can’t help but think that his loose skinfolds’ weight might take a toll on the him in the long run. What if the added weight of his loose skinfolds cause Toby to develop joint pains? All creatures – either human or animal – tend to lose their vigor and energy through time, after all!
“We’re always telling him off for scratching or cutting his nails to reduce the chance of injury and you can see he just thinks ‘leave me alone, I can take care of myself’.”
Even his best fur-riend got in on the maintenance work for Toby’s skin
“He seeks Quinton out to help him clean himself so Quinton will lick his face and head, particularly any cats.”
The affectionate tendency of felines when they develop a bond with another cat is beyond adorable. Sadly, Quinton crossed the rainbow bridge on May 12th, 2020 because his health had deteriorated so much despite his fur-parents’ best efforts. “He deserves all of the best things in life but the cancer is making it hard for him to enjoy his favorite things,” Georgina wrote on the somber Instagram post. “We promised him a life of love and we’ll make sure he’s surrounded by that at the end.”
It’s been months since Toby and the family said goodbye to Quinton, but Georgina continues to honor him by regularly posting pictures of Quinton on their Instagram page.
Georgina hopes to raise awareness for cats with special needs
One thing that Georgina aims to do is to raise awareness about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome through Toby. She also hopes that Toby’s and Quinton’s stories will encourage those interested in adopting from an animal shelter to also put elderly and special needs cats into consideration.
“It doesn’t take any more to love them,” Georgina said. “And whatever it is that makes them ‘special needs’, they are still beautiful animals with their own amazing personalities, likes, dislikes, and the ability to love you back.”
Toby now has a friend with the same condition as him
So there you have it. Why not consider an older or special needs cat when you’re ready to welcome a cat in your life? Who knows what kind of stories the two of you will have! Do you have an elderly cat or one with EDS? We’d love to hear your story in the comment section below!