Kitten injured in weed-whacking accident gets help

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Balinda Vasquez holds Patches. Photo, Chris Riley/Times-Herald


A kitten named Patches is getting lots of love and support as she prepares to receive prosthetic limbs. A weed-whacker accident left her with nubs where her back paws should be.

Balinda Ross Vasquez told Patches’ story, writing at the Prosthetics for Patches (kitten) GoFundMe page last summer:

I first laid my eyes on Patches the day she came into the Humane Society of the North Bay in Vallejo California. We were told that her legs were cut off by a weed wacker by accident. At first I couldn’t look at her cuz I was so upset, so day 2 I held her and just IMMEDIATELY fell in love. Everyone that meets her falls in love immediately. We are headed to UC Davis Veterinarian School on Thursday July 23rd for a consultation (which will be $165) to see what sort of prosthetics, etc they can do for her. Because she does walk on her ‘nubs’ half the time they do bleed . she has also been known to walk on her front feet and raised her back legs. Thus the reason for going to one of the best veterinarian schools around & in our area.

Patches is 3 months old and has a long road ahead of her. I was quoted X-rays to be around $300 and that’s all I know at this point prior to the appointment.

I knew adopting her there would be added expenses however I was blown away by the initial consultation of $165. as all of you who have pets know you’ll do anything and everything for your fur babies. and she is no exception!!

I know you are wondering and I just want to say that she DOES run, walk, and play just like a normal cat. She knows no different about her back feet missing , with the exception of when she wants to scratch up by her head she’s unable to do that. I have taught her how to shake which is absolutely adorable. I will keep you posted on progress.

Patches has made progress on her journey to walk again on all fours.

A story by Irma Widjojo in the Vallejo Times-Herald, published last week, tells more about Patches and Balinda.

Balinda is the manager at the Happy Tails Thrift Store in Vallejo, California. The shop benefits the Humane Society of the North Bay, where Patches came as a young kitten in June, following her accident.

A group of field workers brought Patches and her three littermates to the shelter after they accidentally injured her and she lost part of her back legs and tail. The shelter thinks that the kittens were born to a feral mum.

Balinda told the Times-Herals that her heart melted when she first held Patches and she subsequently adopted her. The other kittens have all found homes, too.

Balinda said she considered getting Patches a wheeled cart but opted for prosthetics after consulting with veterinary specialists. She is working with the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medicine, Integrative Medicine division to get Patches fitted up and properly up on all fours.

The GoFundMe page is accepting donations to help with costs, which will be around $5,000. That figure will cover consultations and two sets of prosthetics – one for now and one for when Patches is full grown.

Balinda told the Times-Herald: “I’ve seen cats that don’t have legs have a very curved spine because they lean to one side when they sit down. That shortens their life.”

Dr. Catherine Rogers is helping Patches with her prosthetics and said: “What we think gives the best mobility and great quality of life for them. Patches is so mobile and wants to get around.”

The Times-Herald article gave mention to Angela “Max” Maxwell of The Bunny Hutch, a Virginia-based shelter, who has donated generously to help Patches.

Angela told the Times-Herald: “She’s the cutest little thing. Normally kittens in her situation are not in good condition at all, but she’s a healthy kitten. I just cannot urge people locally enough to support Patches, and this is a very unusual opportunity.”

The Bunny Hutch has pledged to match the donations when the GoFundMe has raised $2,400. It is up to $1,770 as of this writing.

Patches is expected to get her first set of prosthetics this month and will receive physical therapy to help her adjust to them.

Patches’ journey is chronicled at Prosthetics for Patches on Facebook, where an update post from September 30 says: “Just picked up patches from UC Davis. Today there were two human prosthetisus that were working with her and they’re saying that the most challenging part is that she always moves her leg up so it will be keeping the prosthetic on. I am told that they will be done in 2 weeks with the caveat that they may need some tweaking as they are go along due to the fact that prosthetics for cats is so new. However they did fall in love with her and her Born to Run shirt.”  (Patches can be seen wearing her Born to Run shirt in the Facebook photo near the bottom of this post.)

You can follow the Facebook page for updates on Patches and her progress.


Balinda Vasquez holds Patches. Photo, Chris Riley/Times-Herald


Every girl has an LBD… Little black dress.

Posted by Prosthetics for Patches on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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