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A Kitten in the Shoe Box?

It was a Saturday morning as Tree House staffers prepared to open that they noticed something on our front ledge. Unbelievably, they soon realized it was a shoe box which had been taped shut with holes punched in the top. And then … they heard soft mewing. When they removed the top, they were greeted by a tiny bundle of joy. Someone had placed Dabble, a five-week-old kitten, in a shoe box and taped it shut, then left him at our front door.

Alarm set in when the staffers noticed that Dabble was not moving his back legs. Our clinic staff provided immediate care, and we discovered that Dabble's hind legs were completely immobile, and he struggled with bladder control. There was no physical trauma, and X-rays ruled out any broken bones.


What Had Happened to Him? 

What happened to Dabble remains a mystery. Tree House’s Director of Veterinary Services observed that he could have had a spinal issue at birth that had worsened, or he could have sustained spinal damage as a result of a fall or from being hit by a person, animal, bike, etc. We were deeply concerned whether Dabble would survive given the severity of his condition. We began physical therapy twice a day, and he soaked up all the attention. Undeterred by his disability, this scrappy kitten worked hard to scoot and shuffle. After a couple of weeks of intense therapy, we began to see ever-so-slight movement in his hind legs. It was a triumphant day.

He's Worth It

Dabble’s daily treatments continue as does his progress. He has gained control of his bladder, and he sits up and wriggles about, using his front legs to propel himself forward while gaining more movement in his back legs. He has a long recovery ahead of him, and we don’t yet know if he’ll ever walk. The next couple of months will be key in determining how much mobility Dabble might gain.

This kitty is a sweetheart, and his eager joy and tender nature is infectious. He loves being held and gently paws at caring human faces, noses, and fingers as if playing paddycake. Even with his limited mobility, he pounces on jingle balls and has lightning speed when chasing perceived prey. We believe Dabble, and cats like him, deserve a chance at a happy and healthy life, regardless of their disabilities!

Please Give Hope to Cats Like Dabble This Holiday

Thanks to generous donations, last year Tree House cared for more than 3,500 cats, and more than 1,000 were adopted into loving homes.

Your donation helps thousands of homeless cats have a second chance


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Dabble continues to progress - and we've witnessd him stand up!


Cuddle time, Dabble gets taken on walks to get out of the clinic and receive stiumlation

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"Where did he go?" Getting some "computer fish" time for stimulation and socialization


veterinary care. While the traumatic injury appeared
to be several days old, the wound was still bleeding.
It is hard to determine how long Love might have
survived on her own, however with the severity of
the injury it is clear she was struggling. Upon further
examination, it was discovered that Love’s tail was
also broken. After her leg was stabilized, Love was
admitted to Tree House. It is unclear what caused
her injuries, but we believe that her leg might have been caught in a
trap of some type. It is heartbreaking to image the pain and fear this
gentle animal suffered. And yet, this incredibly resilient cat continued
on and had been hobbling for several days, and possibly longer, on the
exposed bone in her leg.
More exams revealed further health issues. Love was anemic and had a
mild heart murmur. Additionally, she had scratches on her face and nose
and suffered from a highly contagious form of skin mites causing her
to remain in isolation. Given the amount of trauma to her tiny body, and
her weakened state, it would have been increasingly risky for her to be
anesthetized for surgery. It was determined that Love’s surgery should
wait. It was a difficult time as she adamantly fought the bandages on her
leg, tearing them off several times. She would then cry out in pain when
our clinic staff attempted to rebandage her leg.
Even with all her challenges, Love’s sweet and gentle nature remained.
She welcomed visitors and would snuggle and roll over for belly rubs
when the clinic staff came to check on her. Finally, Love had her surgery
in early November of this year. Due to the severity of the injury and the
condition of her leg, it was determined it would be best to amputate her
leg at the shoulder to give her the best opportunity to fully recover and