When Princess the kitten was born deformed earlier this summer, one Knox County family was undaunted by her disability. They see past it.
Princess was born on July 14, 2017, at the Hettinger home outside of Edina, with two club feet. Princess only has three toes on each of her back paws, which are growing backwards from the joint on her back legs. She is unable to walk normally on them.
She is the only female born to a litter of three. Her male siblings were born without any deformities.
Princess manages to get around using her front legs and paws, which are normal. She moves much like a baby seal. She also plays and behaves normally, as any kitten would.
According to the Hettingers, the mother Cat, Baby Cakes, continues to feed and nurture Princess. This was Baby Cakes’ first litter. “People have told us we should put her out of her misery, but she acts and plays like a normal cat. If she seemed by be in any pain we would put her down, but she’s not. She deserves a chance at life,” said Helen who has gotten a lot of joy out of caring for and playing with Princess.
On Tuesday morning, August 15, the Hettingers brought Princess to the Knox County Nursing Home to visit with some of the residents, several of whom are wheelchair bound.
“They held her and told us lots and lots of stories about their cats. They shared a lot of memories with us,” said Helen.
“It was a long visit,” said Michaela. “We saw almost all of the nursing home residents.” The Hettinger family plans to keep and love Princess. She is quite spoiled.
When Princess grows larger, the Hettingers plan to build a device to improve her mobility.
“I’ve lost track of how many people who have asked us if we are going to put her down. No. We’re not. If she can help one person see there is value in life – that will be worth it. She is thriving. She was born this way – it doesn’t bother her a bit,” said Helen. “Hopefully she can bring hope to people in situations they didn’t choose to be in. She’s a survivor.”
This story was printed in the August 23, 2017 edition of The Edina Sentinel.