A tripod kitten’s brave journey

Contrary to popular belief, not all the streets in Los Angeles are lined with palm trees and swanky shops. In fact, some L.A. streets can be a little scary. But then, any street would be scary if you don’t even weigh two pounds, and you’re walking it alone.

Little Quinton was just a five-week-old kitten when a good Samaritan found him wandering alone on the streets of L.A. with a missing back paw. Knowing that Quinton would never survive on his own with such a serious injury, he brought Quinton to a nearby Los Angeles city shelter for help.

One look at the nub where Quinton’s foot used to be and the staff knew the tiny kitten would need extra care. Luckily, that care was available at the Best Friends kitten nursery.

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Help for a tripod kitten

Best Friends was able to bring Quinton to the kitten nursery on the very same day he arrived at the shelter, and the tiny guy made quite an entrance when he arrived. He was filthy and covered in fleas, but he didn’t seem to mind. In fact, you could hear Quinton purring inside his carrier from around the corner. He’s just that happy, despite his rough beginnings.

Quinton’s injury had healed before he came to Best Friends, but because his wound had never been cleaned, the nub was subject to infection. So the Best Friends medical team got to work treating it.

They prescribed antibiotics, let him rest, and soon Quinton had healed enough to go to a foster home, where he could stay under the watchful eye of foster mom Samantha Bell, cat behavior and enrichment lead at the L.A.-based Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center. There, he finally learned how good it feels to be off the streets and safe and sound in a home.

Quinton the kitten resting in a cat tree

A little fighter

Quinton wasted no time getting to know his fellow feline housemates, and he rallied them to join him in shenanigans. Anything from tails to shoe laces was fair game for Quinton, and his missing paw didn’t cause him to miss a step. The only trouble was that his leg with its missing foot kept getting infected.

Best Friends vets considered fitting Quinton with a prosthetic foot, but ultimately decided that amputating the leg would be the best option to ensure that he would no longer be susceptible to life-threatening infections. The little kitten went back to the Best Friends clinic for a procedure that would help him stay healthier and more comfortable.

When Samantha went to visit Quinton while he was recovering after surgery, he was in his usual good spirits. “He was still purring and making biscuits and saying hi to me,” Samantha says. “He's a little fighter, but still so full of love and affection.”

Even when recovering after surgery, Quinton was in his usual good spirits

Saving L.A.’s youngest lives

The Best Friends kitten nursery that played a pivotal role in Quinton’s road to recovery is also vital to helping to make Los Angeles a no-kill city by the end of 2017. All animals that come to Best Friends in Los Angeles are originally from Los Angeles city shelters. In the spring and summer months, especially, the shelters take in more kittens than they can save.

The youngest kittens, along with special-needs cats like Quinton, require more care and resources than shelters can supply, which puts them at a greater risk of being killed. By joining forces, the groups that make up the NKLA Coalition, including the city shelter, Best Friends and many other groups, have made a huge impact on the lives of its youngest cats.

“Kittens like Quinton are always a joy to save,” says Janette Nevils, cat care manager for Best Friends in Los Angeles. “To see him grow from this tiny fluffy orange kitten to the gorgeous boy he is today is exactly why we do what we do.”

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Quinton the tripod kittenTripod kitten smitten

Once Quinton healed from surgery, it was time to help him find his forever home. And it didn’t take long. Shirley Bell had been following Quinton’s journey through photos and updates shared by Samantha, and she was smitten.

Quinton, called “Q,” by Shirley, is now an official member of the family. Since going home with Shirley, he’s become her little shadow and talks to her as he follows her from room to room. Shirley has a cat tree in front of an open window that Q loves to climb and watch all the birds for hours, while making his own little bird-like noises.

“I'm amazed that he can climb up to the very top of the cat tree, even though he's missing one of his back legs,” says Shirley of her tripod kitten. “He always has been a determined little guy.”

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Photos by Samantha Bell