Corky was born with a genetic deformity called bilateral arthrogryposis of the tarsus, where his legs were backwards and overlapping.
Cat’s Cradle co-founders Gail Ventzke, Amber Schaffer and Carol Stefonek fell in love with the kitten when they were scheduled to pick up two others.
They took him immediately to get radiographs to see what they were dealing with and realized they needed to operate right away. They called around to a “couple different vets and they didn’t want to touch him,” said Ventzke. They took him to the Casselton Veterinary Service where Dr. Dan Burchill agreed to operate on the 8-month-old kitten.
Unaware of his condition, Corky was a “happy, healthy, engaging, fun cat who dragged his back legs around,” said Burchill.
After considering all options, like amputating him and putting him in a wheel chair, Burchill determined he would be able to surgically fix his legs.
A rare disease in cats, the condition was more common in cattle, said Burchill. After practicing for 17 years, he had performed the surgery before on dogs, but never cats.
“Dr.Burchill is our hero…he customized the surgery for Corky,” said Ventzke.
The operation took four hours and cost roughly $1,000 an hour including medication and surgical fees. It was successful, and Corky’s more severely affected right leg is doing “fabulous.” The left leg had a few anatomy problems and was stabilized with a pin.