Once BFFs and now brothers, two cats team up and are adopted together

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When Kane, a tiny orange-and-white kitten first arrived at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Los Angeles, he was barely a month old, his back legs splayed out like a frog and his gait was wobbly.

He was a bit fragile and vulnerable — even more than other tiny kittens. Best Friends vets determined that his physical differences were congenital, but he was also feisty and resilient. That meant there was a lot ahead of him: an exciting kittenhood, a new best friend and a new home.

Never give up

For a while, Little Kane went to a foster home where he could grow up a bit and get stronger before joining other adoptable cats at the center. When that day came and he first walked into the room, the other cats didn’t quite know what to make of him.

Kane as a kitten lying on a cat tree

“Kane was awkward, not only because of his legs, but because he grew up as a single kitten and he didn’t understand how to live and play with other cats,” says Meredith Hazan, cat program coordinator for Best Friends in Los Angeles.

Eventually, he became friends with Karper, an athletic gray-and-white male cat who was a year older than Kane. This older, wiser cat was patient with his young friend. Their play fighting soon developed into a genuine friendship. For the kitten, things were looking up, and they were about to get even better.

Keeping an open mind

After losing their beloved, mostly deaf senior cat to heart problems, Mario Einaudi, his wife Jana and their kids came to the center to look at cats. It was Ethan, their teenage son, who first noticed Karper.

By this time, the two felines were great friends and the team suggested that the family consider adopting Kane, too. “We felt having another cat would not only be helpful for Kane as he grew, but for his new family as well,” says Meredith.

When Mario and Jana saw Kane’s unique physical challenges and how their daughter, Talia, was drawn to him, Kane won their hearts and they decided to adopt them both.

Kane the cat lying upside-down in a sunbeam

Becoming brothers

Now settled into the Einaudi family home, Mario says Kane’s “giant doe eyes” remind them of how cute he is as he flops onto the floor, purring to be petted. “We wonder if he’s ever going to grow into those eyes,” he says. “He’s our fashion model.”

Karper appears to be a bit of a fashion model himself. In fact, he was the first to summit the catwalk (the relic of a toy train installed by previous homeowners) that runs around the ceiling of the Einaudi family room. The climb is a challenge, but according to Mario, Kane can throw himself toward a cat tree that’s tall enough to reach the tracks, and then grab and grapple his way to the top by using his front legs like a human rock climber. “We were shocked when we first saw him up there because we didn’t think he had the coordination or strength, but he clearly had the will.”

The big brother instinct observed in Karper continues. He is teaching Kane how to properly clean himself. And although Kane is still a tiny seven pounds, the family says he’s made incredible strides in just one year. He’s running up and down stairs, taking laps around the house at night and walking more on his toes.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the boys’ constant wrestling. Kane is usually the instigator (albeit a cute one), gleefully biting Karper’s rear or tail to get play underway.

Karper the cat sitting by a window

Imperfectly perfect

Lately Karper has taken to following Jana around the house, while Kane wakes up early to meet Mario at their bedroom door and dutifully follow him to the kitchen for breakfast.

“Our willingness to be open has been rewarded,” says Mario. “We were ready to adopt a cat with challenges like Kane, but the fact that he came with Karper makes it all the more special.”

Join Best Friends and help more cats like Kane and Karper

Kane and Karper the cats sitting next to each other on a carpet

Best Friends in Los Angeles works collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals, all dedicated to the mission of making Los Angeles a no-kill city. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, manages two pet adoption centers, and leads the No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative. Together, we will Save Them All.

Photos by Mario Einaudi