OHIO – Derecho was a mere kitten of seven weeks old when he first arrived at the Friends of Felines Rescue Center (FFRC) back in 2012 and they decided to name him after the weather front that hit Ohio at that time.
The kitten suffered from Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), a neurological disease which causes an imbalance in cats, where they bob their heads, fall over very easily and are quite incapable of walking in a straight line. They have to lift their paws up really high to walk steadily.
He may wobble a bit when he walks, but Derecho is absolutely no different to any other cat.
He has been fighting against all odds ever since his arrival at FFRC. Jacci Moss of the shelter told the website Love Meow:
“He has learned how to spread his legs for balance. He wobbles and wiggles, falls and goes on again—and through pure determination, gets to where he wants to go”.
Derecho found his true calling while residing at the shelter, which is to nurture and comfort other kittens like him, who might not know exactly how to go through life with a brain disorder. Jacci went on to say:
“He has bathed and tended to many kittens that needed him as their Uncle Derecho. He is the peacekeeper [of the shelter]—such a very gentle spirited boy”.
The volunteers over at the shelter have all been inspired by the cat’s pure determination to live a ‘normal’ life despite his differences, and they took it upon themselves to care for other CH cats, giving them all the very tools they need to overcome their disabilities, too:
“Derecho is an example of what it takes to ‘get on with living’. One thing that he has never done is to feel sorry for himself”.
However, this brave cat doesn’t only comfort lost kittens brought into the shelter. He also inspires people who may be in need of a boost. Jacci said:
“I know one person that keeps a picture of Derecho close to her while she handles her chemo treatment, thinking – if Derecho can do what he does, then she too can be determined and get through her treatments”.
After almost four years at FFRC, Derecho is now the resident cat who belongs to everyone and is the foster father of absolutely all of the new kittens, until they get placed into forever homes. He basically runs the show and uplifts everyone with his playful antics and courage. He is so strong and confident that climbing trees and toys is not even a problem anymore.
Jacci and the team at FFRC will never let him go. He has taught them plenty about living with a disability and how it need not be a problem unless one feels sorry for oneself:
“We weathered the derecho storm and now our Derecho is our sunshine”.
Click here to see just how you can help and support the kitties at the Friends of Felines Rescue Center in Ohio.
What a sweet, little angel!