When a stray kitten named Joe was rescued Oregon state, the semi-paralyzed youngster was dragging himself around by his front legs.
Rescuers guessed the orange tabby, who was first plucked from the streets by a worried bystander, had likely survived some sort of accident. Regardless, the little kitten couldn’t walk by himself at all.
Joe was promptly taken to Meow Village, a nonprofit organization devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing feral cats, and then placed in the perfect foster home. The kitten’s new foster mom, Sheila Burdick, already owned two one-eyed cats who made the disabled kitten feel right at home.
Meanwhile, rescuers worked with Back on Track Veterinary Rehabilitation Center, a pet physical therapy and fitness center that accommodates disabled animals with special prosthetics.
Before long, the Portland, Oregon, based group had fitted Joe with a custom wheelchair, allowing this curious kitten to finally run and play with other cats. The kitten’s enthusiasm for his new wheels led rescuers to dub him “Turbo Joe.’
“He definitely needs practice because he needs a lot of core strength,” Joe’s foster mom told KOIN, describing the disabled kitten’s excitement at finally keeping up with his cat brothers. “Except when they jump up on something,” Burdick noted. “(Then) he’s like, ‘Oh man. How dare you.’”
Rescuers also hope Turbo Joe’s newfound mobility will improve his chances of finding a forever home. “They have just as much to provide if not more,” said Pat Cyr, a shelter volunteer, of rescued animals like Joe, who doesn’t know that he’s any different from the other kittens.
“They kind of tug at your heartstrings,” said Cyr of the hundreds of rescued animals passing through Meow Village every year. “You see them succeed and then you place them in a home … it’s truly rewarding.”
You can find out more about Turbo Joe’s new adventures by following him on Instagram!