Meet Toby, a special needs cat who’s showing the world that being different is beautiful!
Toby has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a congenital collagen defect that affects the structure, appearance, and amount of collagen in the body.
EDS, also known as feline cutaneous asthenia (FCA), is the reason behind Toby’s unique appearance.
His condition causes his skin to appear wrinkled and droopy due to his impaired skin structure and elasticity.
Toby’s parents, Georgina and Christopher, first learned of Toby and his condition they when saw his picture on the RSPCA’s website in 2018.
“We’d never heard of EDS before we found him, we just knew that he needed a loving home and we have so much love to give,” Georgina told MeowAF.
Six-year-old Toby was up for adoption at the RSPCA in Strout, England along with his brother, Quinton.
Quinton was 7 years old at the time and had lost all of his teeth.
“I saw them on the RSPCA website and fell in love with their sweet little faces,” said Georgina.
Georgina and her fiancé, Christopher, were heartbroken after the loss of their previous cat, Herbie, but they felt it was time to open their hearts to a new cat.
They went to the RSPCA to meet the adorable pair they saw online face-to-face.
It was love at first sight!
However, the brothers were extremely timid and fearful of meeting new people.
They were huddled together with Toby hiding behind Quinton, trembling.
Georgina and Christopher knew it would be difficult to earn Toby and Quinton’s trust, but they were up for the challenge.
They adopted both of them as a bonded pair and welcomed them into their home with open arms.
“In the car on the way home, Quinton reached out his paw to Toby’s carrier,” said Georgina. “We knew how special their bond was.”
Just as the couple expected, Toby and Quinton were very nervous at first.
The brothers were scared, but they took comfort in knowing they were going through this transition together.
They spent most of their time huddled under the bed, never leaving each other’s side.
However, Georgina and Christopher were endlessly loving and patient.
They were determined to show their new feline family members that they were safe and in good hands.
The couple’s hard work paid off!
Little by little, Toby and Quinton grew braver and more confident in their new home.
It wasn’t long before they came out of their shell and let their personalities shine through.
Toby’s skin is very delicate, making him prone to injury when playing with his brother or grooming himself.
Quinton seemed to understand his brother’s special needs.
He was gentle during playtime and kept his claws retracted to avoid injuring Toby.
Toby’s other hobbies include sunbathing, chirping at birds, snuggling with his parents, and getting belly rubs!
It’s been 4 years since Toby was adopted and he’s healthy, happy, and very loved by his forever family.
Sadly, Quinton crossed the rainbow bridge in 2020 after a difficult battle with cancer.
He spent his final weeks doing what he loved the most: spending time with brother and best friend, Toby.
Georgina and Christopher were devastated by his loss, left with a Quinton-shaped hole in their hearts.
Though Quinton is gone, he’s still loved and alive in his family’s cherished memories.
The family adopted a new cat, Leo, to their family in Quinton’s honor.
Much like Toby, Leo also has EDS!
It’s been two years and they’ve been getting along beautifully.
Though no cat will ever replace Quinton, they’re so happy they opened their hearts and home to another cat.
Their special family has captured the hearts of people all over the world.
As of the time this story is being written, they have over 221,000 Instagram followers.
Georgina and Christopher hope sharing their journey with their cats will advocate for special needs cats and inspire others to adopt them.
Georgina explains that special needs cats are no less worthy of love than other cats.
“It doesn’t take any more to love them,” Georgina told MeowAF. “And despite whatever it is that makes them ‘special needs’, they are still beautiful animals with their own amazing personalities, likes, dislikes, and the ability to love you back.”
Want to see more of Toby and his family? Follow them on Instagram!