We ran a story in November 2012 on a kitten left with devastating injuries after what is presumed to be a terrible incident getting hit or run over by a car. When found, the crippled kitten had been eating dirt and rocks to survive. He was fortunate to come into the care of the Los Angeles area group Kitten Rescue, where he was cleaned up, seen by vets, and put into a varied physical therapy program with the help of his caregiver. The kitten was named Santito, meaning Little Saint.
Despite serious damage to his back end and hind legs, Santito made encouraging early progress, so that his caregiver hoped he might walk by Christmas. Our post from November 22, Santito: Injured Kitten Gets Physical Therapy to Walk Again, includes videos showing the little boy undergoing a hydrotherapy session, having a physical therapy session where his limbs were stretched and manipulated, and at play after his neuter surgery, which was a complicated one.
Santito has come a long way the the past three months. He has made progress at walking and is doing well, though he is still a long way from being healed and fully mobile, and he wears a diaper. Santito understands the litter box but is unable to sense that he is about to ‘go’. His caregiver says that if he has an accident he will try to drag his litterbox over and dump litter on the spot where he’s gone.
Santito’s story and his healing journey are ongoing, and can now be followed at his Santito Facebook page. He will remain in foster care until he is fully healed or until he hits a plateau signifying he’s come about as far possible. Then he is expected to be made available for adoption.
Currently, Santito’s foster caregiver is weighing whether to get him an MRI to try to pinpoint the damage, or to spend the money on continued physical therapy, which is working and getting noticeable results. You can read more on the matter, and the pros and cons to be weighed, at Facebook.
Santito’s foster mom and caregiver Eden Salisbury tells his story:
Santito was found with his back legs all but destroyed. He was so covered in dirt, blood and fleas that his rescuers thought he was a black kitten. It was only after three baths that it became clear this was a white and gray kitten. He was suffering severe dehydration, malnutrition, and worst of all, nerve damage and paralysis of his hind area. Nevertheless, he was purring and playful and literally the sweetest little thing we ever met. Right from the start, he wanted to kiss our noses – he seemed to know how lucky he was and to be instantly grateful. At first, things were touch and go with Santito – he couldn’t move his back legs at all and just dragged them behind him (something which had caused even more problems for his already damaged legs), was completely incontinent, and bounced between severe diarrhea severe constipation. Three different vets told us to “just euthanize him” within the first week of his rescue. But this little guy was so full of life – wide-eyed, playful, cuddly, loving, and we couldn’t imagine ending his life when he had fought so hard already to keep it.
We took him to a specialist who tested him and discovered that, although he had nerve damage, he still had deep sensory perception and mobility, and could potentially recover – at least partially if not totally. So Kitten Rescue decided to give this little guy a fighting chance. We started him in therapy at California Animal Rehabilitation and began various experiments with vitamins, food combinations, medications, etc., to normalize his system and give him the nutrition he had been lacking.
We are happy to say that Santito now has the mobility of his back legs – though he walks funny, the fact is he can walk – with all four legs …and climb, and pummel, and run, and…well, he can’t QUITE jump…yet. He is still incontinent (you’ll see pics of him in his little fashion print diapers on this page, but he gains a little more control every day and no longer has any problems with diarrhea or constipation – and he doesn’t even have to take any medication anymore!
Santito is proof that a good heart and a determined soul can survive pretty much anything!
Santito on the treadmill in December 2012:
Enjoy the roses – Santito stops to smell the roses while spending time out on the patio
Santito and Pishooshie playing. “Pishooshie taught me how to play and wrestle. He doesn’t care that I wear a diaper – he’s my buddy!”
Santito’s cute routine, uploaded today: