Flapjack Flips His Luck: Disabled Cat Finds ‘Fur-Ever’ Home

We’re so thrilled that our friends at the Newtown Bee covered Flapjack’s journey! Here's full article:

By Alissa Silber

“Whatever it takes,” was the vow Robin A.F. Olson, president and founder of Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook, made to ensure Flapjack Shortstack had the best chance at a good life.

Affectionately known as “Flap” and “Flapjack,” the young orange-and-white kitten came into Ms Olson’s care through her nonprofit organization’s rescue program.

One look at his physical appearance and it was clear that he was a special needs kitten.

“Flapjack’s legs were turned and twisted in unique directions due to his mother being far too young to be pregnant and there not being enough space in her uterus for him to develop normally,” Ms Olson said.

Internally, there were also abnormalities that risked his odds of leading a full, healthy life.

“Flap’s ribs came to a point, instead of a smooth curve,” Ms Olson explained. “There was concern his heart and lungs were also compressed, which could give him a shortened lifespan. Flap’s spine had bumpy ridges from his muscles awkwardly contracting while he tried to walk, yet, there was still hope.”

Readers first learned about Flapjack’s medical journey in The Newtown Bee’s article “Flapjack The Kitten Hoping To Flip His Luck” from August 2019, when he was just four months old.

At the time, Flapjack was going to weekly physical therapy sessions in addition to wearing custom-made splints on his front legs. He was also being monitored by a board-certified veterinary surgeon.

The methods proved to be helpful. The young kitten not only gained strength in his leg muscles and had the bumps in his spine smoothed out, but it was determined that he did not have to undergo any amputations.

However, it was believed he would still need corrective surgery on all his limbs when his growth plates closed, a process that would not be completed until he was done growing.

Recent Results

Earlier this month, after reviewing many radiographs of Flapjack’s limbs and chest, it was even revealed that his heart and lungs were normal and no intervention was needed for his legs.

“It was clear to [the vet] that the best thing for Flap was to do nothing,” Ms Olson said. “Putting pins in Flap’s front legs or resecting a hamstring on his back-right leg could risk causing Flap to lose mobility, not gain it.”

No matter what his physical differences are from other cats, Flapjack always follows a mind-over-matter mindset.

He has proven to be determined in achieving his goals when he sets his mind to a task. His tenacity for life has caused him to learn to navigate through the world in his own way. While other cats run, he tends to scamper, but gets where he needs to go.

Ms Olson added, “He could use his litter pan as long as the sides were low. He loved to play and look out the window, chattering at birds as they flew to a nearby feeder . . . Flap was like any cat. He just moved differently.”

Fur-ever Home

Ms Olson’s efforts to keep him alive and give him the best quality of life proved to be the right decision, because despite the odds being against Flapjack, he is now being fostered and loved by his soon-to-be official family.

Rachael and Chris DeMaida, of Waterbury, have decided to adopt Flapjack, as well as his fearless sister, Sugarsnap, with whom he is incredibly bonded.

“This loving couple didn’t balk at continuing Flap’s physical therapy for the rest of his life, if need be. They changed things in their home to make it easier for Flap to get around,” Ms Olson said. “They respected that Flap and his sister, Sugarsnap, shouldn’t be separated, even though Sugar has no disabilities. So Flapjack and his sister will stay together for the rest of their lives.”

The friendly and outgoing siblings will be adopted in just two months, as Flapjack will need to undergo an exploratory neutering surgery for one of his testicles that did not drop.

In addition to continuing with physical therapy once a month, Ms Olson said, “We have to continue to monitor how he’s doing as he ages. He will likely need some pain management like joint supplements and possibly laser therapy or acupuncture/chiropractic [care] in many years.”

The progress Flapjack has made over the last eight months is a jubilant surprise, considering a whopping four vets once told Ms Olson that he would be better off euthanized.

A proponent for trying everything possible, Ms Olson said, “You can put a kitten down any time if the odds are not in the animal’s favor, or you can lean in and work hard on their behalf. You can be willing to focus on the needs of one, even though others might say you could have saved so many more in that same amount of time.”

She added, “I see the kitten in front of me, who is sweet-hearted and happy, who got dealt a tough hand, who needs someone to stand up for him when no one else would. That’s my priority. I know I can’t save every cat, but I can save this one.”

To stay up to date of Flapjack Shortstack’s adventures, check out his Instagram page at instagram.com/flapandfriends. For more information about Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook and to make a donation, call 203-744-9228, e-mail info@kittenassociates.org, or visit kittenassociates.org.

The Unflappable Flap

In the nearly ten years we've been open, what drives us to say “Yes!” to taking on a new foster cat or kitten is a gut feeling we get that "this is our next rescue kitty."

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©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap doesn't know his legs bend the wrong way. Flap is 100% kitten. He loves life and everyone he meets.

When we first saw a tiny kitten, in a video posted on Facebook, we knew we had to do something. He was struggling to walk, dragging his right hind leg behind him, while his front legs twisted inwards into his chest. He was living outside on a deck with his furry family, waiting for someone to adopt him. His human family wanted him to go somewhere safe, where he would get the extra care he needed, but they weren't sure that such a person existed to provide that level of care. What if the kitten could never use a litter pan? What if he got sores on his legs? What the sores made it was too painful to move?

 

Their worst fear-what if they took Flap to the vet? The vet would tell them to put him down (which actually ended up happening).

Thankfully, his family protected him. They wanted him to have a chance to live so they said "NO" to putting the kitten down.

We reached out to them and offered to help. Luckily for us, they were willing to trust us with their precious boy. Sure, we had the same fears about how the kitten would do once he was with us, and wondered if he would be incontinent and have mobility issues that would make his life miserable, but we had to try. We would find a way. Then one day we'd find him a family who would cherish him and give him the forever home of his dreams.

We named him Flapjack Shortstack. Flap will probably be with us for at least a year, until he is fully grown. At that point Flap would be ready for any surgery, if we felt it was needed. We estimate that each leg could require $4000-$5000 in surgery fees OR maybe he won't need any surgery. It's too soon to know or get hung up on costs.

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©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flapjack Shortstack.

Until then, how would we provide for Flap for so long? He'll likely be with us for a year without any buddies. It wouldn't be fair to him to be alone all the time, so we reached out to the owner and they were willing to let us take Flap's sisters, Sugarsnaps Sugarpants and Tickle Nurbington into our rescue program. Since we're not very good with math, we ended up with five kittens in total. Boom-Boom McGillicuddy and his bro, Trinket Worthmore, joined us, too.

So Flap has plenty of friends who love to play and snuggle with him (you can see them 24-hrs a day on our SqueeTV Web Cam).

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©2019 Robin AF Olson. Test brace #1 (wasn't quite right so we tried again...then he popped brace #2 off so we're off for another test)

We're building our team of experts to help Flap walk better even after four Vets told us to put him down. Flap has a fire in his belly, a strong will to live. He doesn't let things get him down. Just because it will take time and resources to help Flap, that doesn't mean to save a buck we should end his life. That is just wrong. We do NOT DO THAT. Someone has to fight on behalf of the kittens who need the most help. How could we harm this kitten? Look at his face! Something magical is already happening. In Dr. Deb Weisman, at Newtown Veterinary Specialists, we found a great ally. When we asked for her advice she replied, "Let's fix him!"-NOT put him down. From day one she has been focused on finding a way that balances what is appropriate for Flap without causing him an unreasonable amount of discomfort.

Her approach is wise-do a little, watch and wait, adjust things here and there, respect that Flap already can get around just as he is now. The trick is to see if we can help him get around better, more comfortably and more appropriately.

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©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap loves getting physical therapy. It's helped him be able to move more easily.

Flap is also seeing his friend, Aunt Gail, who is a top notch physical therapist. Between his visits we continue the therapy sessions here every single day. Flap is stretching and moving much better than he did a month ago. A few days ago, he jumped up and off his bed and onto the lower portion of a cat tree-a normal thing for most cats, but for Flap it was a major achievement.

Flap on cat tree

Flap will need us well into 2020, so we really need all of YOU to lend a helping paw. If you'd like to be part of our rescue team by giving a gift to provide for Flap so he can continue physical therapy and see our specialists, and provide essentials for Flap and his friends, you can do the following:

Gifts of ANY AMOUNT (You do not have to have a PayPal acc't) PayPal

Mail a check made out to: Kitten Associates. Send to Kitten Associates, P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Donate on Venmo: KittenAssociates

Gift Cards to Your Healthy Pet in Newtown, CT needed, too!

We also have an Amazon Wishlist. We're a 501(c)3 non-profit so your donation is tax-deductible.

 

Follow Flap's Story on Facebook or check back here for updates.

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©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap with Tickle and Boom-Boom. Thank you for caring about cats and visiting our site. We're revamping our look later this year. Stay tuned for some awesome new features!

Cosmic Cat Wisdom Deck!

BIG NEWS! Our friends Barb & Randy from Enlighten Up have an awesome kickstarter campaign for their Cosmic Cat Wisdom Deck & Guidebook. If we can make this happen, our rescue will also get a big donation!

To get your paws on a Pre-Sale copy of the Comic Cat Wisdom Deck and Guidebook go HERE

CC Cards FB Box and Cat

The Cosmic Cat Wisdom Deck features Cats purr-fectly sharing their wisdom in this 60 card deck, with engaging illustrations, a unique theme, and more exploration provided in the guide book.

What we love about this project is the cards are timeless. You will use them over your lifetime at work, home and play because each message is a beautiful reminder about what's really important in life. They make great gifts too! Get yours now and you'll be supporting Kitten Associates, too!

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