Meet Corky the Cradle Cat

Who is Corky?

Corky is a cat taken in by Cat’s Cradle after they recieved a call from the local shelter saying they had a cat that was dragging his legs behind him.

How was he found?

March 20th, 2012 CATS Cradle Shelter rescued a beautiful 7 month old kitten from the Moorhead Pound. We were told by the staff at the pound that he was found dragging himself down a sidewalk on Main Avenue in Moorhead. The moment that we saw him we knew that there was something familiar about him. Just one month prior to this we had received a phone call from a young woman who claimed to have rescued a 6 month old kitten that matches Corkys description exactly from a neglectful situation, this kitten had “backwards and crisscrossed legs” to quote her. We had agreed to meet the woman at 10AM the next morning to take this kitten in. We immediately made arrangements for radiographs at NDSU. Once the arrangements were made with NDSU a return call was made to the woman to confirm our 10am appointment for the next day. Well, she never showed up, we repeatedly called her to find out if there was a problem, but she never answered and never returned any of our messages. After days of frustration at not being able to contact this woman, we had to let it go, and hope that this woman would do the right thing by this kitten and provide for him.

We later got the call from the pound. The only thing that needs to be said here is once we saw him, we instinctively KNEW that this was our guy from the phone call a month earlier. What a relief, we finally had him…but how did he end up in the pound? We still do not have that answer, as I went back into our phone log and called the young womans number who originally called us, and her number was no longer in use. I guess that is a question we may never know the answer to. The only thing we do know for sure is that Corky would have been euthanized if left in the pound. Once we took custody of him he was transported immediately to NDSU for the radiographs, and examined by the staff veterinarians.

What makes him so special?

After a search for a qualified vet they found Dr. Burchill who performed the Bilateral Arthrodesis of the Tarsus on Thursday, April 5th, 2012. The following Monday there were some issues with swelling and he had to have a procedure to release fluid from his paws and legs. His left leg had some constriction which caused some nerve damage and the incision opened which needed a skin graft with ACell, a porcine product.

Ultimately the graft did not take due to necrosis and the difficult decision had to be made to amputate the troublesome leg which was done on Thursday April 26th three weeks to the day from his original surgery. Corky was hospitalized from April 5th until April 30th, the majority of that time was spent on various types of therapy to try and save that left leg.

Here is a video of him walking not long after his leg was amputated.

How common is his condition?

Corky’s condition is not very common in cats his age, usually kittens born with this are euthanized and never make it to adulthood. There is really no research that we have been able to find on the condition in cats. The condition Corky had not only affected his tendons, but also affected his bones, he was also a Bilateral Cryptochid, so his was a congenital defect we believe most likely caused by overbreeding or inbreeding.

Will the person(s) who abandoned him face charges?

There are strange circumstances surrounding his being found dragging himself down a sidewalk on Main Avenue. About a month prior to us getting Corky from the pound we received a phone call from a young woman who claimed to have rescued a cat that matched Corky’s description from “a guy who was neglecting him and not treating him right”, she asked if we could take this special needs kitten in, I told her “yes” and set up a 10am appointment for her to deliver the kitten to our shelter the next morning. We immediately made arrangements for radio graphs and an exam by the Veterinarians at North Dakota State University. The next day came and the lady was a no show. After numerous attempts to reach the woman, several messages that went unanswered, we had to accept the fact that she was not bringing the kitten to us. One month later we received the call from the Moorhead Pound, they had something they needed us to see. We took one look at Corky and KNEW it was our kitten from that phone call a month earlier. I went back to the office after bringing Corky to NDSU and looked up my old messages, found the number of the lady who call and made an attempt to call her. Her number had been disconnected.

Because of the series of events, we are not sure where the person(s) are who last had custody of Corky before he ended up on the street, and therefor there would be no way to press charges.

How long did the vet say it could possibly take before Corky is able to use his back leg and be able to walk?

We have always known that Corky’s recovery would take time, we estimated at least 6 months. Corky is getting a convertible cart to help build core strength and muscle in his hind quarters. He will start out with short periods of time in the cart and the amount of time will be adjusted under the supervision of his surgeon, Dr. Dan Burchill of Casselton Veterinary Services.

Corky getting measured for his cart.

Why the name Corky, does it have to do with his corkscrew legs?

It absolutely has to do with his “Cork”screw legs. When we first got him the way his legs twisted and crisscrossed, it was just an automatic reflex to call him Corky. One of our directors loves the name Corky and had been asking me for months, ‘how about this one…can we name this one Corky”, I kept saying, nope…that name doesn’t fit. When I saw this kitten I said, “Carol…THERE’S your Corky”, She looked at me with the most endearing smile and it has been Corky ever since. Her love for that name just had to go to a special cat, and with his legs, no one could fit the name better.

Does Corky have a favorite place to sleep?

Besides on my bed, he likes to sleep in his favorite domed bed in his room. Because I have stairs, I have a “Corky Zone” in my home where he has everything he needs to stay safe if I have to leave him home for awhile.

Can corky eat dry food or does he eat wet food?

Corky eats both dry food and wet food. When he eats his dry food he tosses it up and catches it in his mouth, he is a pretty entertaining little guy.

What are some of Corky’s favorite toys?

Click to see Corky playing with a laser.

He loves the spinner toys, with the balls that go round and round, he also loves the big hanging sisel rope that hangs fron the second level of the cat tree. He lays on the bottom level and plays with it until one of the other cats comes to play box with him….his other favorite toy is of course Bella’s tail and Sadie’s paw.

Is Corky like a normal cat save for his legs?

With the exception of his mobility style being different, Corky is very much a “Cat”, he loves looking out the window at the birds, his ears perk up when he hears them chirping or any other strange sound, when he gets to playing there is not stopping him, and he will play until he is exhausted, he still is not too fond of the vacuum cleaning, and wants to hide under the chair when he hears that turn on, but he will have to learn to adjust to it, and I have no doubt that he will. He has proven to be very resilient and seems to able to take whatever comes next without much problem.

How is Corky doing as of today?

Corky is doing great! He is getting along wonderful (for the most part) with his new fur siblings, he hasbonded quite closely with a couple of them, he is eating, drinking, playing, using the litter box and maintaining his weight.

The Corkymobile this cart will help him use his right rear leg.

What supplies/materials are needed at Cat’s Cradle (such as blankets, food bowls, food, etc) that people can send in to help the other cats?

We love “DaBird”, it is one of our cats favorite toys,

Da Bird cat toy, basically a wand with some feathers at the end of it.

We also use Purina Indoor Complete Cat food in the blue bag, canned pate Friskies wet food is great for evening treats. We have a CATS Cradle Shelter Wish list on with other beds and toys we use. We can always use clean blankets that can be cut down and sewn into smaller ones for the Kuranda beds, fleece is always nice and washes well.

How to help Corky and other cats at Cat’s Cradle:

There are a few ways to donate, there is a “Corky’s LEGacy” Chip in on our website on both the Cats Cradle Shelter Facebook page AND the Corky The Cradle Cat Facebook page or donations can be mailed at the address below.

CATS Cradle Shelter
9 – Ninth Street South
Fargo, ND 58103.

If a person would like to make a reoccuring monthly donation that can be done on our website under the “Donations” link.

Other articles about Corky:


Author’s Note:

I want to thank Gail for her patience in answering my many questions and for her dedication to Corky’s care as well as all those who have donated to Corky’s medical care, the vets and vet techs involved with his care. Photos & videos used with permission.
There are many many more articles about Corky and his condition, I just gave a sampling of them.

If you know of an animal others should know about, let me know. I would love to do an animal article on them.