When Ashley, founder of the California animal rescue Biscuits and Breadsticks, saw a post on Craigslist about a paralyzed two-month-old Siamese kitten who was rescued from the streets of Studio City, Los Angeles, in early December 2020, she was eager to help the young special needs feline. “She was found dragging her legs behind her, incontinent and with terrible maggot filled wounds on her legs and back,” says Ashley. “A friend of mine sent me the [Craiglist] listing and helped get me in touch with a couple of wonderful fosters, Ramon and Angela, who had volunteered to help locally, but couldn’t keep her long-term.”
While Ramon and Angela took the rescue kitten to an emergency vet for critical care, Ashley found another pair of volunteers — Alison and Julia — who agreed to split the six hours of driving required to get the little cat from Los Angeles to San Jose. “It really takes a village!” says Ashley, who recently established Biscuits and Breadsticks, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping special needs kittens.
After making the six-hour trip, Ashley took the kitten to her local vet, and a thorough examination revealed she had suffered a traumatic injury, damaging her spine and breaking her right femur. “We don’t know what caused it,” explains Ashley, “but likely a larger animal or [she was] hit by a car.” While the injury left the two-month-old feline with incontinence and hind leg paralysis, Ashley — who has experience caring for paralyzed and incontinent cats, including Dapper Dan — knew she would be able to have an excellent quality of life and decided to foster her.
Initially, Ashley had difficulty choosing the perfect name for the shy yet easy-going kitten, and she went through many iterations inspired by the movie The Big Lebowkski until she eventually settled upon the first name of the main character.
“We had a hard time coming up with a name for her, but all I could think when I looked at her was ‘the mewed abides,’ ” remembers Ashley. “Suddenly she became ‘The Big Lemeowski’ and I was Photoshopping tiny aviators onto her glamour shots. ‘The Big Lemeowski’ became ‘the dude,’ which became ‘la duderina,’ which became Jeff.”
At first, Jeff was a bit on the bashful side, which presented Ashley with a unique issue she hadn’t expected to encounter. “She was shy when she arrived so she liked to hide in places that were hard to lure her out of,” explains Ashley. Three months later, this adorable Siamese kitten is much more out-going, and she is currently being fostered by Allie, a volunteer with Biscuits and Breadsticks. “The Dude is my first true special needs foster and I have been shocked at how easy it is,” says Allie. “Her quality of life is not lowered at all by her paralysis. She doesn’t require a lot extra — just swap the litter box for diapers and cute clothes! And you get to keep your plants and breakable things on counters.”
However, providing Jeff with adequate socialization has been a bit of challenge because she has to stay in a playpen when she’s unsupervised. Fortunately, Ashley and Allie believe it won’t be long until Jeff has the confidence she needs to get around her home on her own. Aside from this relatively minor issue, this beautiful rescue kitten requires a lot less time and effort than people often assume. “She gives me one little boop with her nose per diaper change and if she squirms, it just takes a couple kisses on the head to calm her down,” says Allie, Jeff’s foster mom. “She’s basically a cartoon character come to life, and whoever adopts her is going to be so lucky.”
“Her diaper changes only take a few short minutes a day and she’s an angel for it!” says Ashley, and she believes pretty much anyone has what it takes to be able to provide a loving home to a special needs cat like Jeff. “With a little time and patience, in most cases their care is quick and easy.”
In fact, Jeff’s special care is just a minor part of her daily routine, and like a typical cat, she spends most of her time playing and cuddling. “Jeff loves to play with her toy mouse and watch birds on TV,” says Ashley.
It’s been more than three months since Jeff was found on the streets of Los Angeles, injured and alone, and this gorgeous girl is now ready for her forever home. The perfect family for Jeff would include a confident cat — or dog — who can help this special feline adjust to her new family and environment, as well as a person or people who can provide her with the routine and monitoring she needs to thrive. “They will also need to be patient with her as she adapts to her new home since she can be shy with humans still,” says Ashley.
When Jeff goes to her forever home, there’s no doubt she will be missed by everyone at Biscuits and Breadsticks, but the impact she has had will be able to improve the lives of countless special needs cats. “She was my first independent foster under our new rescue,” explains Ashley, “and she has helped us to get access to resources that will help us to help a lot of kittens like her in the future.”
To learn more about this gorgeous kitten, you can follow Jeff on Instagram.
If you’re interested in adopting Jeff, you can complete an adoption application.
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