Meet Brother the Tailless Wonder

Who is Brother?

Brother is a cat.

What makes Brother so special?

Brother has Manx Syndrome which is a loosely used term. It’s basically any kind of deformity in the vertebrae that causes neurological damage that makes elimination difficult. (Manx Syndrome is also associated with mega colon that has not been an issue for him) Brother’s spine stops at his hips, because of this he has no feeling in the lower part of his one leg.  Also his body doesn’t get the signal that he has too pee so not only does he form crystals, but he does not pee well on his own.
Urinary tract blockages are not all that uncommon for male cats. Cats that eat a mostly dry food diet are much more likely to form the crystals in their bladders that cause the problems. (A cat’s natural diet is nowhere near the carb loaded, dry stuff most folks feed their cats!) Once blocked, a cat has about 24 hours at the most to receive life saving veterinary intervention.
Once unblocked normally a change in diet and increased water intake will often solve the problem,but not for Brother. It became blocked again so,  he was started on a prescription food designed to prevent the formation of the crystals. That did not work well enough so eventually he had to have what is called PU surgery (which basically amounts to a penis removal) when he was four years old  which widened the opening to his urethra. The surgery was a success but,  his body still produces the crystals and every once in awhile we still have a scare.Other than needing to have his bladder expressed twice a day he lives like any other cat. He handles this like a trooper & comes to the utility sink when he is called. He is on a Rx food, too.

What was he like as a kitten?

When Brother was a kitten he was all eyes & long gangly back legs. At first things seemed fine but then he started sort of dragging the one back leg. The paw would turn over so he was dragging the top of it on the floor. It did not take long for it to rub itself raw. The doctor at the clinic recommended amputating the leg but I just couldn’t do that since he was using it. Thus began a series of homemade trial & error splints to try to keep the paw pad down. It took months but it worked very well! His foot looks different than the other & his leg does not have near the muscle mass but he still uses it, although I have to say that he’s a little clumsier than most cats.
I started realizing he had bladder issues one day while he was laying on me and peed on me in his sleep. When I started checking him out regularly I realized his bladder would fill up but he had no urge to pee so he would either dribble while he was awake or fully pee in his sleep. At that time he was still a foster I planned on taking back to the shelter so, for the most part, he & his sibs were kept in a separate area of the house or I would have noticed the bladder issue sooner. Adding another cat to the mix was definitely not part of the plan and I had made a point of not naming them.

Where does he like to sleep?

He sleeps wherever he happens to land- we have an assortment of boxes, beds & a big cat tree.
Right now he is sound asleep in the middle of the couch. He especially enjoys sitting on my knee & sprawls out on my hip when I sleep on my side.

How did you get involved with Brother?

He was brought into the clinic where I worked along with his three sisters by a woman that had found them under a shed. There was another tailless kitten & two that had normal kitty tails. They were only about 4 weeks old so I took them home that evening to foster them till they were big enough to be adopted from the shelter that is associated with the clinic.

Where did the name Brother come from?

Since he was the only boy, he got referred to as “the brother” & that’s how he got his name. I’d say by the time he was 8 weeks or so I had realized he was going to be a keeper, though. Somehow I always managed to end up with the special kids 🙂 Brother has lived with as many as 12 cats & 3 dogs at a time & has gotten along well with every one of them. He’s an easygoing, non confrontational kind of guy.

Anything else special about Brother?

 He does not meow often but will grunt like a toddler to get your attention and he loves (demands to be) to be carried over my shoulder. He likes to play fetch and has learned to jump into my arms from the table upon request. When my granddaughter was younger (she’s 13 now) she used to put him in a box and push and drag him all over the house. He’d just sit in the box and watch the world go by. If you Google Manx it describes Brother with the exception of being vocal. He’s a little guy- somewhere between 8 & 9 lbs.
Brother waiting for a treat to emerge from under the fridge

Does Brother need any type of therapy to correct his walk?

No, he has not been to therapy to correct his walk. I think he probably walks as well as he can given his limitations. I would, however, like to take him to a veterinary acupuncturist because he has developed an occasional twitch in the groin/ thigh area of his bum leg. The price of the visits & the gas for the 40 minute drive do not allow for it right now though.

What shelter/rescue does he belong to?

The shelter Brother is from is Pet Guards shelter. They have a Facebook page, Pet Guards Angels, & that has an Amazon wish list on it. Their wish is for fun things to enrich their lives
Amazon Wishlist for Pet Guards.

In case the link for Pet Guard’s Amazon list doesn’t work, or for those that don’t like to do shopping on Amazon, here is an itemized list: 

  • Bergan Turbo Scratcher Replacement Pads
  • Petsport Giant Tuff Ball
  • KONG Extreme Dog Toy, large, Black
  • Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy
  • Da Bird Cat Toy – Easy Store – 2 Part Pole
  • 3 Pack of Da Bird Guinea Feather Refills
  • K&H Thermo-Kitty Fashion Splash Heated Cat Mat
  • Diatomacesous Earth Food Grade 50 lbs
  • New 72″ The Siamese Cat Nap TM Cat Tree
  • Kakadu Pet Coarse Stainless Steel Dog or Cat Comb
  • Safari Cat Sheeding Comb, Wood Handle
  • Tropiclean Pet Tangle Remover Spray, 16 ounce
  • Fat Cat Scratchy mat Doorknob Hanger for Cats with Catnip
  • Slumber Pet Thermal Cat Mat
  • Ethical Atomic Bouncing Ball Cat Toy, 2- Piece
  • Da Bird Super Pack
  • PETCO Mega Rectangular Litter Box
  • Yeowww! 100% Organic Catnip Toy, Yellow Banana 3 pack
  • 52″ Beige Cat Tree Condo Scratcher
  • Wahl 9281-210 Pet-pro Kit 13 Piece Pet Grooming Kit
  • Le Salon Essentials Cat Mat Breaker
  • Oster CryogenX Professional Animal Clipper Blade size # 40
  • Ultimate Touch Instant Mat & Tangle Removal
  • Petlinks Scratchers Welcome Catnip Enchanced Scratch mat
  • Cosmic Alpine Scracther
  • SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post
  • Small Ceramic Bowls
 just copy and paste the item you are looking for into any search engine (i.e.: Google or Yahoo) and it will generate a picture of the item, most of these items can be found at pet specialty stores such as Petsmart , Petco and Petsupermarket. Some of the toys can be found at Walmart, Target or any supermarket. The ceramic bowls are very much in need as each cat/kitten gets their own dish at mealtimes) 

Where can donations be sent to if someone would like to donate to Pet Guard?

Items can be send to:

Pet Guards Shelter c/o Diane
950 Hardy Rd.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223

Items for Brother  can be sent to:

Brother Erdelyi
1095 Pitkin Ave.
Akron, Ohio 44310
Brother and Wolfie

Does Brother have any siblings?

We have 6 other cats in the house ranging from 20 to 6 years old. Brother is 7 now.

Sukie turned 20 in March. She’s a petite girl that I have had since she was 12 when she came into the clinic to have a badly mangled leg removed. I offered her a home when I realized she  would continue to live outside due to “litterbox issues”. (She was declawed to boot!) She has not pottied outside the box in all those years! She’s a cantankerous old princess who really does not care for the other cats but she adores my boyfriend. Her biggest health issue is the arthritis that has been caused by the way her body twists when she walks because of the combination of the front leg that is missing + being declawed. (Cats are designed to walk on their toes. Declawing removes the tips of the toes they were meant to walk on & they walk unnaturally.) I had another kitty that had cerebellar hypoplasia (she lived to be 13) that she would curl up with sometimes but now, between Wolfie picking at her & her arthritis making her uncomfortable she’s decided she’d just as soon spend most of her time in the bedroom in a heated bed.

Tiger was adopted while I was at the humane society. He’s 16 now. He was a screeching 5 week old kitten that had been abandoned in a park. We were so full that year that we had cats housed in dog cages stacked in the barn. He was my first foster failure. He was always a paternal guy & greeted every new creature that entered the house. He showed the cats the ropes & taught puppies good manners by bopping them on the head when they got too rough. His kidneys are starting to fail & he has arthritis now but he still has feisty moments. He’s Daddy’s boy.

Ozzy is almost 14. He had chronic upper respiratory infections as a kitten & was such a sweet boy that each time he would get sick someone would take him home to foster him. Once he got settled in here permanently the URI’s stopped. Maybe stress related? He’s very timid with most people but he’s friends with all the cats & adored the dogs. He’s a very gentle soul who’s been struggling with hyperthyroidism. So far he’s ahead 🙂 Foster failure.

Harry is 10. He belonged to a truly crazy cat lady that was always bringing cats in to be treated for diarrhea. She would go to the pound, get big furry cats & breed them & she always smelled faintly of cat pee. Anyways, she insisted on giving her cats cow’s milk even though she had been told repeatedly not to. When she brought Harry in he had had diarrhea so badly and for so long that his rectum was full of maggots. He was about 3 months old. I took him and refused to give him back.  🙂 Harry was not supposed to stay. The intention was to find him another home so we called him “the hairy guy”. He is painfully timid with anyone outside of the immediately family. No one else ever sees him. He’s a big guy that looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat. He had some issues with bladder crystals when he was younger but nothing recently.

Skeeter is 8 and was another foster failure. He came into the shelter with a 3 sisters at about 9 weeks old & he had terrible diarrhea. He did not completely get over it till he was about 4 months old so he spent a lot more time than I would have liked caged when he was little so as not to expose all the others to whatever was causing it. Years later he started showing mild neurological symptoms & at that point he tested positive for toxoplasmosis. My guess is that he had it the entire time but didn’t have any symptoms. The proper antibiotic straightened him right up. He is hard to read. He gets very cuddly once in awhile but for the most part prefers to do his own thing. He & Wolfie are Best Friends & bully buddies. He picks on Harry and Wolfie picks at Sue if given the chance.

Wolfie, who’s 6, came along after I knew that I could not add any more pets. I let one of the dogs outside and then heard screeching and a commotion. When I got out there she had a kitten that did not even have his eyes open & was cleaning him up. He has not shut up since. He’s a big handsome, athletic boy now that has asthma and has had some social issues but is finally starting to settle down. He takes an antihistamine twice daily and  a steroid and/or bronchodilator as needed. Occasionally he has to be caged so he will stay still to have the vaporizer run for him. He’s very much a mama’s boy. He is quite the social butterfly and very tolerant of my grandson.

 Last but not least, what advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved with animal care?

Call your local shelter & ask if they know of anyone involved in TRN (trap/ neuter/ return) in your area & if so, offer your help. One of the best ways to cut down on unwanted litters is to TNR stray & feral cats in your area.
The best way to get involved with animals and animal care is to volunteer. Help is always needed and there are a multitude of ways folks can help.Besides the obvious walking dogs, socializing cats & fostering, help is always needed doing laundry, organizing fundraisers, crocheting blankets.
For someone handy, many organizations (especially in the south) house dogs outside and need dog houses built. Every shelter can use Kuranda type dog beds to keep the dogs off of the concrete. Most can use cat trees & they can be made of wood or PVC pipe.
Grant writing would be great for someone with technical writing skills, data entry, the list goes on and on.
Check with your local shelter/humane society. Most of them have facebook or websites that you can go to and view the needed lists or give them a call, they will always take donations some of which are tax deductible. 

Other Links – a wonderful group that is trying to find homes for kittens/cats abandoned on the Northeast Ohio area. If you are in that area please visit this page, if you’re not please visit anyways. – a blog about the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network (URRKN)  they assist in transporting cats from a shelter to their furever homes. This group is nationwide and run solely by volunteers, the blog chronicles their stories. – The URRKN group facebook page, there you and read the disclosure if you are interested in assisting in transporting cats to their furever homes.
and Brother’s very own facebook page
Author’s Note: 
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Miss Diane (and Brother and all his siblings) for answering patiently answering all my questions and telling me about URRKN which is a wonderful network of volunteers who transport cats to their furever homes. Thank you so very much.
All photos have been used with permission. 

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