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news News Monday, March 16, 2020 Monday, March 9, 2020 5:52 PM - Monday, March 9, 2020 5:52 PM

Patient with clubfoot finds kitten born with similar condition

Patient with clubfoot finds kitten born with similar condition

Meet Phoenix and Sunshine. They share something very special.

Recently, as a Christmas present to the family, Phoenix’s parents, Shane and Chariti, decided to get a kitten. After months of research they knew they wanted a female Bengal, a Siamese bred with an Asian leopard cat.

While Shane was on a business trip out of town, Chariti called around to a couple of breeders, tying to find the kitten they wanted. One breeder called back and said, “Let me tell you about my female, she was born with twisted leg syndrome.” She went on to explain that the kitten’s legs were twisted while in the womb. It was then that Chariti knew this kitten was meant for their family.

The kitten was born with a rare deformity that can occur in any of the limbs. This kitten’s deformity was in the back legs. If left untreated, this abnormality can make walking painful and very difficult, just like in humans.

When this condition occurs, it is typically the recommendation of the breeder for the kitten to be put down, which is what the veterinarian recommended. To the relief of Phoenix’s whole family, the breeder took this on as a challenge and taught herself how to correct the condition. This included working with the kitten eight times a day, every day, for weeks to correct the deformity.

Phoenix was born with a condition similar to twisted leg syndrome, called clubfoot. When he was 2 months old, Phoenix started the serial casting process at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City. Kristen L. Carroll, M.D., performed many castings and a few surgeries to straighten his feet. Today, you would never guess the active 12-year-old ever had club feet. You can imagine how touched his parents were at the prospect of inviting a kitten into their home, one who shared such a similar history with their son.

Shane and Chariti recognized that the technique the breeder was using with the kitten was similar to the process their son had gone through, and that it had been as successful with the kitten as it had been for Phoenix. She now has straight little legs and feet, and is as active as any kitten.

“We knew as soon as we met her that she was born to be a part of our family,” said Shane.

Phoenix is a Patient Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City. He believes in giving back to the hospital and hopes to train his new kitten, Sunshine, well enough to bring her in to visit patients at the hospital who come in for surgery.

Baby Phoenixtiny kitten