Everyone needs a cuddle now and then, even cats. And over 100 foster kittens have received healing, comforting embraces thanks to a cat named Elvis.
Cat With Special Needs Finds Forever Home
Elvis himself used to be a foster. In 2013, he and four siblings, along with their mother, were taken in at an animal shelter in Louisa, Kentucky. A volunteer there, Beverly Pack, decided to foster the entire feline family.
“I named the mommy Tennessee and gave the kittens names that related to that,” Pack told TODAY.com. “So the kittens were Elvis, Priscilla, Lisa Marie, Gracie — for Graceland — and Memphis.”
As Elvis grew and began to struggle with standing and walking, Pack realized something was amiss with the cat. A veterinarian diagnosed the fur baby with moderate cerebellar hypoplasia, a developmental condition that can interfere with motor skills and balance, resulting in what’s called “wobbly cat syndrome.” Thankfully, it isn’t painful, but felines with CH need a little extra assistance and supervision.
Elvis’ sister, Pricilla, also received a cerebellar hypoplasia diagnosis, which prompted Pack to permanently adopt both cats.
“I knew Elvis would have challenges. He cannot go to the bathroom normally, not even to this day,” Pack told Today.com. “He can pee in the litter box fine. But the second he starts to strain to expel stool, he falls over like a fainting goat. So I’m constantly having to clean him up, and if I see him in the litter box, I will go to him and literally hold him up so he doesn’t fall over.”
Physical differences aside, Elvis has a loving, upbeat personality. He makes Pack laugh by racing around the house until his legs give out and he collapses spread-eagle on the floor.
Paying It Forward
But silly antics aren’t all Elvis is good at. As Pack soon discovered, Elvis is a great emotional support animal…for other cats. Pack fosters anywhere from eight to 12 kitties at a time for Open Arms Animal Shelter, and Elvis has become quite the model foster dad.
“Elvis fosters every baby that comes into the house,” Pack told Today.com. “It’s probably over a hundred or more at least. He insists that they let him wash their ears. He grooms them and bathes them.”
Elvis even snuggles with the foster kittens at bedtime. The attention he pays the little ones aids in socializing the kittens, which helps prepare them for their forever homes.
Elvis’ care is so exceptional, he’s even received an award for it. As one of five winners of the “Happily Furever After” contest by Arm & Hammer’s Feline Generous program, Elvis was awarded a year of kitty litter, plus $10,000 for the animal shelter of his choice – which, of course, Pack opted to be Open Arms Animal Shelter.
“You enter contests all the time and say a little prayer that maybe one of them will come through,” Pack said. “And boy, it did! We are a small, struggling animal shelter in Eastern Kentucky and the monetary prize was very unexpected and very much appreciated.”
Kelly Dalton, senior associate brand manager at Arm & Hammer Pet Care, praised Elvis and his cat mom.
“With a little bit of extra love and patience to make sure Elvis’ needs are met, Beverly has been able to give Elvis a happily furever after, and in turn Elvis has been a fantastic ‘foster dad’ to several other foster kittens,” she told TODAY.com in an email. “Often ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cats are overlooked for adoption so it’s important to share these heartwarming stories on a national level to inspire and educate others about why adopting ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cats can be so rewarding.”
She continued: “We hope each of these stories helps to inspire others to consider adopting a ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cat.”