Santito: Injured Kitten Gets Physical Therapy to Walk Again

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Santito is an injured kitten revovering with physical therapy in the care of Los Angeles organization Kitten Rescue, the group that also saved adorable kitten and puppy companions Mango and Milkshake.

Santito was either run over by a car or injured in a similarly devastating manner, and was left with severely damaged hind legs. He managed to drag himself to safety and survived eating dirt for two weeks. He was rescued in September and was found, miraculously, to be healthy aside from his injuries and malnutrition.

Luckily, Santito ended up in the care of Kitten Rescue and was spared from the likely euthanasia that would have befallen him at many shelters. He was described at a ChipIn for his care, “Santito is a lively, curious, active, loving and healthy little gray and white kitten who drags himself around using his front paws, as his back legs are currently semi-paralyzed. He plays and cuddles and purrs, and his back legs try to work, but he can’t quite get them to do his bidding.”

It was not initially known if Santito would ever regain the use of his legs, but within a short time he showed feeling in them and made progress with his physical therapy.

After a visit with the neurologist, his ChipIn was updated, saying ”

Santito’s trip to the neurologist was very hopeful. He had X-rays and blood tests. The vet was enthusiastic about his prognosis. He has some mobility and feeling in his legs and his reflexes work, so she feels with physical therapy – or as she put it, “annoy him” by messing with his back paws and forcing him to walk on them :), he could regain at least some of the usability of his back legs. Possibly even all of it. She doesn’t expect him to get any worse and he should be able to have a normal healthy life span. We will know more about his possibility of regaining full mobility once we can get an MRI for which we need to earn an additional $1800. What this will tell us is whether there is any possible damage or problem in his spinal cord which could be remedied through surgery to further improve the chances of his recovery.
We’ve begun the process of “annoying him” yesterday and he is already taking it like the trooper he is. He has already started to naturally place his feet in the correct position and put a little weight on them, instead of dragging them behind him as he was at first. He’s also on a raw food diet to help with his diarrhea from a prolapse caused by dragging himself along the ground, and that is going very well also He still has accidents, but he is getting better at control and he is much stronger on the new food, which he eats voraciously. He is very active and can move faster than I can catch him when he wants to make it somewhere out of reach. He loves to chase a feather toy and even jumps into the air to catch it.
At first glance, this kitten looked almost hopeless, and even I was prepared for a “realistically” pessimistic outcome, but as it turns out he could become an almost “normal” cat – and is totally a lovemuffin, completely adoptable if he continues to make good progress. He really has Kitten Rescue and all of you [his donors and supporters] – to thank for his life, for giving him the benefit of the doubt and not giving up on him too quickly.

Santito still has a long way to go, but his progress is very encouraging to his caregivers. He was recently neutered.

Wil Mendoza made this video that gives Santito’s story in brief.
Wil is running for Santito in the 2013 La Marathon. She created the video for her fundraising appeal.


Santito water therapy, October 18.


Santito therapy at CARe, October 20.

After just 4 visits with California Animal Rehabilitation, Santito is showing significant improvement. He is scheduled to continue therapy through December and the prognosis is that he can be walking again by Christmas. We would love nothing more than to give this precious little kitten a pain-free and fully mobile future. We want to give him his back legs for Christmas.


Tito after neuter, October 27. Tito had a complicated neuter – with one cryptorchid and the other seriously messed up outside his body. But it didn’t stop him from summarily killing his new toy on his return home.


A  ChipIn for him seeks to raise funds to Help Santito walk by Christmas.


4 thoughts on “Santito: Injured Kitten Gets Physical Therapy to Walk Again”

  1. I have met little Santito as it is my sister who is fostering him at the moment. He is a cuddly and loving guy who is just so happy to be alive. This little guy is so very lucky because he fell in to the right hands and has a chance to live a normal life. So many are not as fortunate. Santito has come so far already, I surely don’t doubt the possibility that this little fighter could walk by Christmas. Thanks to people like my sister and the people of Kitten Rescue who care enough to give their love, time and money to help these precious creatures.

  2. I forster kitens for a Humaine Society in Brunswick GA. Just today, I was given a kitten to work with just like your little one here. He is about 6-7 weeks old and appears to have been steped on. He has some sort of back injury, as I can feel it in his little spine. He (Flipper) has some feeling in his little legs, but he is crawling around and dragging his whole hind end , just as you mentioned here. I was hopeing to possible get a few tips on what I might use as therapy for this little guy. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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