Aries and his siblings were born at a rural shelter after his mom, a three-legged feral cat, was found pregnant and caught in a trap. It was very cold when the kittens were born and the shelter did not have a great heating system, and so they put out a plea to local rescues, hoping that someone would be able to take in the little family.
Being feral, the mom was already very stressed in the shelter environment, and the shelter staff was worried she may not care for her babies unless she was transferred to a warmer, quieter place.
Luckily, Tracy Pitisci, an avid foster mom, found out about Aries and his family and decided to foster them through a local rescue called Ana’s Angels. The mom cat, later named Diana, and her kittens arrived at the Pitisci family’s home in Jacksonville, Florida, only hours after the litter had been born. They hadn’t nursed much yet because Diana was so stressed out, and as Pitisci was getting them all settled, she noticed there was something different about Aries.
“We inspected the kittens and that is when we noticed Aries’ legs,” Pitisci told The Dodo. “They were completely bent up against his stomach. You could tell the joints were not facing the correct direction. We knew he would have a long road ahead if he made it, but we believed he could.”
After getting them all settled into a quiet room, Diana began to calm down and started to nurse and care for her kittens. Everyone was so relieved, and once it seemed that all the kittens were going to be OK, the foster family shifted their focus to Aries and what could be done about his twisted legs.
“Unlike his siblings, Aries even had difficulty climbing out of his playpen and while his siblings were learning to walk, he looked like he was scooting more than taking steps,” Pitisci said. “A veterinarian recommended that we bind his back legs using medical tape and gauge. It did seem to help keep his legs from splaying out and we were hoping that it would help him to strengthen his gluteus muscles.”
As he grew, Aries’ legs continued to look different …
… and paired with his black coloring, they almost make him look like an adorable little spider.
Despite his differences, his foster family could not love him more, and have continued to help him overcome each challenge that was thrown his way. Pitisci and her family knew that Aries would always be different, but they were determined to make sure that he had the best life he possibly could — and so even once all of his siblings had been adopted out, they decided to adopt Aries themselves, so they could be his forever protectors.
“We knew that we loved Aries and that we were always going to do everything to make sure he had what he needed,” Pitisci said. “Then we realized that he had already found his forever home with us. Adopting Aries has brought tremendous joy to our family.”
After working with Diana and gaining her trust, the family decided to adopt her too, officially adding two special needs cats to their pack. As he’s grown, Aries has faced many challenges in terms of learning to walk and coping with his twisted legs, but with the help of his family, he seems to have no idea that he’s different from any other cat. He can’t jump and his walking is awkward at best, but Aries always gives everything his all, and has yet to meet a challenge he isn’t willing to take on.
“He will always try to do something he wants to do,” Pitisci said. “If he sees something he wants to climb, he will give it his best attempt. To help him overcome some of his limitations and let him experience life like other cats, we thought to take him on adventures with us and show new things to him. He regularly goes to the park where he likes to go down the slide by himself and enjoys the beach.”
Whenever people see Aries out and about, they’re always taken aback by how adorable he is, and love taking pictures with him and showering him with tons of love and attention. Aries has become somewhat of an ambassador for cats with special needs, and his family is grateful every day that they decided to take a chance on him.
“Not a day goes by that my husband and I are not thankful that we answered the message from the shelter requesting for us to take them,” Pitisci said. “He has changed our lives.”
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