Swimmer syndrome: A kitten’s road through rehabilitation. Meet Speedo, the cutest, most loving kitten in the whole widest world…


This is Speedo, our new, loving and adorable foster kitten from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (http://www.awla.org). Speedo was born with Swimmer syndrome, a rare developmental deformity of newborn dogs, and less commonly of newborn cats, whereby the hind limbs, and at times the front limbs as well, are splayed laterally resulting in an inability or difficulty to stand or walk. Forward movement in these animals is typically accomplished by lateral pedaling motions, making the dog or cat appear as if he or she is “swimming.”

The following video shows Speedo walking around our apartment the first day we brought him home, when he was just over 2 months old and had not yet received any type of prior therapy or treatment.

As you can see, he is just like every other cute, adorable kitten out there in the world. He is just a little different in how he walks. I can assure you he is extremely playful and loving, and does not let his disability hold him back from anything. Please follow along as we continue to share his story and road through rehabilitation over the next few weeks!

Currently, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is responsible for the care and treatment of Speedo. If you are able, any type of support or donation would be greatly appreciated by all to help in Speedo’s rehabilitation! The link is below :)


This kitty must think the dalmatian is just a reallllly really big kitty…

This absolutely adorable pair clearly have an unbreakable bond with each other. Countless minutes on YouTube show their love and affection for each other, so much so that I think the kitty believes the dalmatian is just a reallllly really big friendly kitty cat! This particular video shows Squirt the Kitten getting so playful with Lady the Dalmatian that Lady seems to have no choice but to use quite the tactic just to get a small break from all the love and affection.

Funny ‘Kitten Jam’ Blooper Reel

What’s a famous video without the blooper reel?!?

Before Tulip and Daisy’s “Turn Down For What” video became viral, we experimented with having them ‘dance’ to other music and attempting different dance moves. As you can see in this video, these two adorable kittens had their moments with easily getting distracted, falling off their ‘platform’ and getting a bit tired from rehearsing. Fill-in-momma-cat, “Baby Girl,” even got a bit jealous and tried to jump in for a share of the fame.

Foster cats and kittens really have new and unique experiences each and every day – from how to use the litter box, to discovering a new favorite toy all the way to realizing that they can dance. It is truly a remarkable journey – and such a rewarding experience to be a part of –  from that first time they are able to open their eyes to the point when they are healthy, energetic and loving companions ready to head back to the shelter in preparation of getting adopted and finding their forever homes :)

Litter Fostering -The Art of Letting Go

When my usually welcoming cat bolted away from the door, I knew my husband must be bringing something foreign and unfamiliar into our home. After I approached the door to investigate the source of commotion, I wasn’t prepared to see several pairs of eyes staring back at me through a crate. I naturally presumed that bringing home a nursing mother cat with six tiny 10-day-old kittens was something that my husband would have thought to run by me. In this case, I was mistaken.


Despite the initial element of surprise, let’s be honest – who can resist a bunch of adorable, smallest-things-you’ve-ever-seen, kittens? Their names were Apple, Jefferey, Kenny, Rogue, Malcolm and Avery. The mother was Kylie. Although this was not our first bash at fostering from our local animal shelter, this was the first nursing mother that we had taken on. The ratio of humans to cats in our home was slightly daunting. Including our own cat that we had previously adopted from the shelter, we were outnumbered 2-8. Let the fun begin…


The aim of the game here was to provide the kittens with all the perks that come with being in a home environment until they reach 2 pounds. Then they are able to be spayed/neutered and finally placed up for adoption.

At first, having the mother cat present meant that she did pretty much all of the work in the early stages. She even stimulated them to go to the bathroom, leaving us with minimal duties. Soon, however, all the kittens were eating solid food and were litter trained, relieving Mama Kylie of her duties. Our responsibilities from that point on consisted primarily of feeding, litter duties, daily weigh-ins, and best of all, playtime!


This furry bunch provided us with endless amusement for the several months that we cared for them. Of course they were in everything, on everything and at times seemed to be in multiple places at once. I walked into the bathroom once to find two swinging from the shower curtain and one meowing in an empty bath tub. Sometimes maintaining crowd control was a hassle, but one look at their innocent faces turned things around. Every day, or every minute they weren’t sleeping I should say, they provided us with laughter and adorable entertainment with all their kitten shenanigans. I’d fallen in love with each and every one of them. This wasn’t to say I didn’t have my favorite…

My little Apple. Apple stole my heart from the first day with her larger than life personality. With each daily weigh-in I found myself willing the numbers to slow down. I knew that it would be difficult to see them leave when that day finally came. Especially my Apple. My husband and I discussed the possibly of keeping her over and over again. Finally, we knew we had to let her go. If we were to keep every kitten that we bonded with, we’d be living in a zoo for sure. Still, just thinking about saying goodbye was tough. I left it up to my husband to complete the dreaded handover.


Back at home the ratio plummeted back down to 2-1. The kitten hurricane blew into our home and out quicker than I could have ever imagined, leaving only a few tiny stains on the couch as proof of their presence. We checked the shelter website daily for any signs of adoption. The waiting was agony. Surely enough, one-by-one they found their forever homes, leaving only my little Apple and Kenny left to be adopted. Of course our favorite would be the last one, challenging our decision to not keep her. But finally a Facebook post put everything in perspective. Apple. Kenny. And their new parents. They were going home.

Many fosterlings have come and gone since the lively six. Each and every batch brings new and often hilarious memories. Although the art of letting go weighs on me each time, I’m comforted knowing that I’m giving homeless animals the best start possible in life. Just like humans, early nurture and care of kittens has life-long impacts on their overall health and even their personalities. It’s a special feeling to know the impact you can make on their physical and social development. Nevertheless, still to this day, my husband takes care of the handovers…I’m not made of steel after all. When I think back to that day at the doorstep with those 7 sets of tiny eyes staring out at me, I have to give it to my husband – the best surprises do come in tiny packages.

    Don’t forget your morning stretch!

    afbf4b18c1c3150113115f801a9b9fe8Just like humans, cats enjoy a good stretch too. Especially right after waking up. As you likely know, it helps you wake up and it definitely feels good! Just like we humans, cats benefit from stretching by loosening stiff muscles. This also increases circulation, which may need a boost with the slow heart rate they have when awakening. The increased circulation  and muscle stretching helps with flexibility, which further helps to improve balance and prevent future injuries. And of course, cats also benefit from the stress relief of stretching, which provides them a smooth transition from a sleeping to awake state as well as relieving tension and stress!



      Dog Vs Cat: Cute ‘Ninja’ Kitten Shows Doberman Who’s Boss

      This kitty ain’t afraid of no doberman. Way to go, girl!

        Chester’s Laser Chase Fail

        So this is our foster kitten, Chester. He is super energetic and super playful and super funny, all-the-time. And he loves to keep us entertained on a minute-by-minute basis. We wanted to show off how high he could jump by having him chase a laser point to a wall which – as we had hoped – he would jump up and use for leverage to get some extra height. However, he had a little mishap before he could show off his jumping skills… But no worries, he was right back to his shananigans just moments later!


          Chester_1We would just like to welcome everyone to our brand new site, “Shelter Cats and Kittens.” We have hundreds of original photos and videos to share of our own foster kittens, and are looking forward to reveal them all to you! We are also excited to bring you only the best cat and kitten photos & videos on the web, as well as share our own personal stories, challenges and triumphs throughout our own foster experiences. We hope you join us on this journey!