Amy Hunt, a veterinary tech assistant at VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital in Nanaimo, fostered and adopted Lemon, a stray kitten, who suffered paralysis in his back legs after a dog attack. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Disabled Vancouver Island feline teaching foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

While life was initially sour for a stray kitten in Nanaimo, it has sweetened significantly after the cat was adopted by a veterinary hospital employee.

Lemon was brought to the B.C. SPCA facility in Nanaimo last summer after suffering paralysis in its back legs from a dog attack. Amy Hunt, a veterinary tech assistant at VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital on Bowen Road, fostered and subsequently adopted the orange cat, which is receiving treatment and seeing a good quality of life.

After the cat was surrendered to the hospital, staff knew it was paralyzed, as X-rays revealed “a gap in his spine,” said Hunt. Dr. Jamie Wintemute recommended laser therapy and acupuncture and the cat underwent rehab at Applecross veterinary clinic with laser and acupuncture at Seaside veterinary clinic in Parksville from Dr. Cheyenne Knight, who Hunt says Lemon adores.

RELATED: Saving Hope: how a tiny island community rallied around abused dog

RELATED: More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

Hunt says acupuncture and electro-acupuncture regenerates nerve-building and gets nerves that would normally be dormant “to fire,” while laser therapy increases blood flow.

“Initially he had no movement up his tail and now he actually does. He can move his feet, he seems to have all his localized reflexes. It would be very unlikely for him ever to walk again [but] he’s adapted very well. This is all he’s really known, so he’s very happy,” Hunt told the News Bulletin. “He can move around probably as fast as any other kitty and he doesn’t think he’s any different than any other cat really.”

Lemon even had the chance to pay it forward, acting as a surrogate sibling to a pair of orphaned kittens, Leo and Oliver, who were surrendered in June and who Hunt took on as fosters. She refers to the pair as the tangerines, as they are also orange.

Hunt said Lemon has taught Leo and Oliver “how to cat,” according to a press release from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo branch, as orphaned kittens are sometimes “a bit wild,” with no grooming skills or how to partake in responsible play, and Lemon has taught the two kittens just that.

“Lemon, initially, was kind of jealous I think, having little babies in the house, but in about a day, he decided that they were his babies,” Hunt said told the VI Free Daily. “So he wanted to be with them every chance he got … If he’s eating or anything like that and hears them playing or ‘meowing’ or just being kittens he needs to be right there.”

The kittens will be heading to their adoptive families on Wednesday, Aug. 12 and Hunt refers to it as both happy and sad.

“These guys actually have adopters lined up and they’re going to fantastic homes,” said Hunt. “If you didn’t foster, they probably wouldn’t be here today, so you’re saving lives. I have two other cats at home and we’re at capacity … I’ll probably shed a few tears, but it’s a more happy day.”

However, it’s “kitten season” says Hunt, and she’s sure Lemon will have more fosters to “play with and baby.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Animals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Flashback: Teddy bears, dinosaurs, cougars, oh my!

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

Hundreds march against location of safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read