It all started on a cold, winter day when Sarah Richardson, rescue coordinator for Community Cats of Central Arkansas, received a frantic call one day from a woman living in a rural town.
“The woman was panicking,” said Sarah. “She said she’d found a kitten with 2 broken legs.”
Sarah told the woman to bring her the kitten, so the woman jumped in the car and drove straight to Sarah.
Feral & Feisty
The first thing Sarah noticed was how tiny the kitten was. “She was so small that she barely weighed 2 pounds,” said Sarah.
Despite how tiny the kitten was, she was very feisty.
This was understandable as she’d been struggling to survive in a feral colony, fighting for food against much bigger, able-bodied cats.
The kitten, later named Bo Peep, had never been around humans before, so she kept her guard up and stayed on high alert.
Bo Peep was skinny, malnourished, and dehydrated when she arrived in Sarah’s care.
Sarah administered subcutaneous fluids and fed Bo Peep her very first proper meal, which she quickly scarfed down.
Upon taking a closer look, Sarah realized that Bo Peep’s legs weren’t actually broken…
The Truth Revealed
Bo Peep didn’t have broken legs– she was born with a genetic condition that caused her front legs to bend in a way that makes her look bow-legged.
Genetic abnormalities like Bo Peep’s are often the result of inbreeding, which is yet another reason why TNRing feral colonies is very important.
However, Bo Peep’s condition didn’t slow her down one bit.
Living in a feral colony had made her tough, resilient, and determined.
“She struggles to get up and down, but once she’s up, she’s pretty quick on her feet,” said Sarah. “But she has a hard time climbing, so simple things like using the litter box are challenging for her.”
From Fearful to Friendly
At first, Bo Beep didn’t trust anyone. She didn’t want anything to do with people or other cats.
“She’s feisty, determined, and strong willed,” said Sarah. “But she’s a funny little thing! Her stubbornness is what makes her special.”
Little by little, Bo Peep started to warm up to the idea of a cozy, indoor life and befriended two other foster kittens named Woody and Buzz.
“I asked people on social media what we should name her and they wanted to stick to the Toy Story theme,” said Sarah. “She was named ‘Bo Beep” and her new friends are named Woody and Buzz.”
It took some time for Bo Peep to realize that she didn’t need to compete for food with her kitten companions.
“She’s finally warming up to us and learning to snuggle up with Woody and Buzz,” said Sarah.
A Quest for Answers
Because Bo Peep was born with a genetic deformity, she faces a life-long condition.
“There’s no way to repair her legs without specialized treatment,” said Sarah.
In a small state like Arkansas, there are only a couple of veterinarians who specialize in treatment for Bo Peep’s specific condition.
Sarah has been researching different vets who would be able to help.
“We want to find out what would result in the best quality of life for her, whether it be physical therapy or surgery,” said Sarah.
It’s very important that Bo Peep receives intervention for her condition while she’s young.
If she undergoes successful treatment while she’s still growing, it’ll help her use her legs much better as an adult.
Making Big Strides
For now, Bo Peep is doing daily physical therapy in her foster home and continues to make progress with her mobility!
“She’s starting to get better at climbing!” said Sarah. “She’s worked really hard to get here and we’re super proud of her.”
Woody, Buzz, and her foster mom are always there to support her and cheer her on.
Sarah has high hopes that Bo Peep will find a wonderful forever family when the time is right.
Little Bo Peep went from a feral kitten struggling to survive to a pampered foster kitten with a full belly!
The future of her leg condition is unclear, but one thing is certain: she’ll never be alone or hungry ever again.
If you’d like to donate and help with Bo Peep’s long-term care, please donate through our Meow Mail program.
In exchange for your donation, you’ll be emailed a heartwarming update on Bo Peep along with how your donation helped her.
About Our Heroes
Community Cats of Central AR is a small 501(c)3 non-profit rescue organization led by two women, Sarah Richardson and Stephanie Spence, who rescue and rehabilitate cats from rural towns with high animal cruelty rates.
They rely on donations from kind-hearted individuals to continue saving cats & kittens that have suffered from neglect, abuse, or abandonment.
In addition to their direct intake, they pull special needs cats, senior cats, and cats in critical condition from the top kill shelters in the state to prevent unnecessary euthanasia.