Our Greatest Articles

by Lee Harper, Founding Editor


Published July 2010

As editor of PandEcats and ShowCatsOnline, I am frequently asked which is our best article. Which is the most popular? The most important? These are not east questions to answer. Different people will have different favorites.

From my point of view, the best articles are the ones that have had the most impact on individual people's lives with their cats.

Based upon reader feedback and the number of statistical viewings, here are our top five greatest articles:

#5 The Contract Articles

This is actually a group of articles that help breeders write their own kitten contracts.

# 4 Me or We

Pandcats.com & ShowCatsOnline.com have always included articles that share our philosophies about being part of the cat fancy. This was an article that was written in response to a nasty incident at a cat show in which one exhibitor belittled another for campaigning a cat that was not of their own breeding. The person who was targeted in this exchange was a friend and I felt real anger on her behalf. It was this anger, and disappointment that things like this happen too often in the cat fancy, that was the reason why I wrote this article.

What was a surprise, was the response to the article. I heard from exhibitors across the country who had experienced similar hurts. For some, unkind words from another exhibitor killed the joy they had in showing their cat, especially if they were relative newcomers to the game. For others, usually more experienced, it made them more determined.

#3 Grooming Articles

With many of our readers being active in showing their cats, it is not unexpected that another popular group of articles are those that discuss show grooming of a cat. Sculpting for Persians. Keeping whites white. Tipping dilutes.

#2 Fading Kitten Syndrome

This is another article that had a great impact on breeder's lives - and actually was a very close candidate for #1. I still remember a phone call from a breeder of Maine Coons. She had routinely lost kittens in every litter to fading kitten syndrome. After reading our article, she started the Pen G protocol and voila, lost no babies in her next two litters. She laughed that she suddenly had 13 kittens to grow up where usually she only had 4 or 5 who survived.

OUR #1 GREATEST ARTICLE

So which do I consider our greatest article? I think it is more important to consider the single article that has had the greatest impact. It reaches across all breeds including both the domestic and feral. We have heard from people around the world

Perhaps the single article that receives the most feedback in the form of emails, photos, phone calls and requests for reprints in other magazines is Born With Twisted Legs. The article included photo essays of three different kittens from three different breeders. Each kitten was a different breed. Each kitten was born with legs twisted to different degrees - from a minor condition of curled paws to a baby with both hindlegs deformed severely. Each kitten grew into a perfectly normal cat following just a small amount of physical therapy! Further research into the condition revealed that most kittens born with legs twisted due to shortened tendons will correct themselves by 7-8 weeks of age with minimal help. Applying warm compresses and performing gentle stretching exercises on the kitten's legs was all they needed!

First published in January 2001 as a Members Only article, the article ended with a request to hear from any breeders who had experienced having a kitten born with this condition. From the first week of publication, people began contacting me with stories of newborns with twisted legs due to contracted tendons. It quickly became clear that this condition was much more common then we thought. Twisted legs cross all boundaries. I have heard from people around the world, all breeds including moggies and alley cats. I have heard from national-winning breeders, newbies, rescuers and veterinarians.

The immediate and overwhelming feedback led to the original article being republished as a free access article because of the importance that we felt all breeders should be aware of the condition. To save the lives of kittens with this temporary birth defect from being euthanized unnecessarily, we made the article Update On Kittens Born With Twisted Legs a free access article which included all the text of the original ?Members" article, so that it was available to everyone on the internet.

The article titled Update On Kittens Born With Twisted Legs was published in 2002.

This was followed by Contracted Tendons of the Front Legs in 2002, which followed the progress of Twister, a white Oriental Shorthair kitten born with twisted front legs.

In 2004, we published the article Bracing To Correct Twisted Hind Legs.

Caring For A Kitten Born With A Twisted Leg followed in 2006, showing the progress of a Devon Rex kitten born in Belgium who needed his hind legs braced to correct the condition..


Below are just a very small sample of some of the emails we have received from people after reading the "Twisted Leg" articles ...

Some of the kitten's stories were heart-breaking. I remember one phone call from a breeder who took her newborn kitten to her vet for help. The vet said the kitten was deformed and would never lead a normal life so should be put down. On her vet's advice, the breeder agreed to have the kitten euthanized. When she returned home, she got on her computer to see if she could find more information about birth deformities. She found our article and was guilt-ridden at what she had done. But neither she nor her veterinarian were to blame. Many vets are totally unaware of the condition.

My one wish is that everyone reading this print out a copy of the article and give it to your veterinarian. You may be saving a kitten's life ...


THANK you so much for the online article about tendon contracture. This is a HUGE comfort to me.  I just noticed today that my kittens problem was not in the bones as it appeared at first but in the tendon.  I stretched the foot and could feel the tendon loosening and the bones moving into their rightful place.  I think my kitten will improve with stretching of the tendon alone, but if he does not get better fast, then I will try the splints too. You have NO idea how comforting this information is to me. Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you. Purrs,  

Angela
USA


Thank you for your article on kittens with twisted limbs. For some obscure reason I book marked this ages ago, just interesting I guess. Never thought I would need to refer to it. 4 weeks ago one of my Oriental cats gave birth to a kitten with this exact problem. I massaged & stretched it 3 to 5 times daily. By 2 weeks they were more or less straight. At 4 weeks I can't tell which kitten it was. If I had not seen your article I would have been panic stricken, (well I was a bit) and would not have known what to do. Straight to the vets I suppose & maybe bye bye kitten. So here is one breeder & one kitten who appreciate your article. A big thank you from both, here in Australia.

Christina
Australia


Just wanted to say a profound heartfelt Thank You for publishing the information on Twisted Leg Syndrome.

My vet's office are frequent rescuers, and about 6 weeks ago, one of the techs rescued 2 kittens with the syndrome.  Not knowing what it was, she brought them in to the vet office thinking they needed to be put out of their misery (they were about 3 weeks old at the time).  Luckily, my vet did not choose to put them down - he felt they were not in pain, so why not let them live and see what happens.  He was not aware of the syndrome, but is a most compassionate vet.

In my search for a new cat to add to my bunch at home (I lost one to cancer over the summer), I happened to see one of these kittens.  The male of the litter, whose legs were of the undersized twisted type and his rear end was rather twisted, had just passed away a few days prior.  The female I met is the happiest spunkiest, tiniest little thing I'd ever seen (despite hobbling around on her elbows).  She won my heart, but I would not accept nothing could be done for her legs. 

I did some searching, and found your site, and GOD BLESS YOU.  I immediately brought the information to the vet tech and the vet, and they started the splinting.  As she at this point was about 7 weeks old, I wasn't sure if it would work, but about 2 weeks in she was no longer walking on her elbows. 4 weeks in and she's up on her feet, albeit with bowed legs when unsplinted, but is steadily making progress.  I hope to have her home with me in the next 2 weeks.  I was lucky enough to be the one to able to adopt her - her personality is such that everyone coming in to look at the cats available for adoption immediately are drawn to her. 

Again, my many thanks.  You've been a guardian angel for many.

Julie
USA


Our kitten Tashi -- a Bengal -- gave birth to three kittens for the first time. And one of them had twisted hind legs. Tashi had been on "the pill" for 8-9 weeks so we surprised at the pregnancy and also assumed that the pill had caused the birth defect. The vet said "just leave the deformed kitten at my door overnight and I will put it to sleep when I get back."

It broke our hearts so we decided to just care for it no matter what. Last night my wife found your web page so we are deeply thankful.

Thanks, thanks, thanks.

Tara and Erik
Denmark


I have just had a kitten born with twisted paws and I am going to follow the instructions for straightening them out. He was also born with a bent tail but I don't think this will affect him in any way once his legs are sorted. Thank you so much for putting this guide on the internet and now I know that this is common it has put my mind at rest given that there may be a way to help him. Many thanks.

Neil


I'm a Norwegian Forest cat breeder from the Netherlands. I just wanted to let you know that last night four kittens where born and one of them has twisted legs. Since I already came across your article a few years ago, I fortunately didn't freak out completely. But still, I can't say I'm thrilled about it. I can keep you updated on his recovery. I want to thank you for putting this information online. It's really helpful. I'm being honest about it so I will put it on my website next to the affected kitten with a link to your article. I hope this way it will also help other breeders. Kind regards,

Wieke
Netherlands


I wanted to write to thank you for your online site's article on cats with contracted tendons. When I got a call regarding 3 kittens being left at the pound to be put to sleep there was of course NO question that I would be there in 10 minutes to rescue them. The kittens were about 2 weeks old, and very weak. I began feeding and caring for them. They could all walk but one had a slightly harder time. I thought at first that it was simply young and malnourished. But as the days passed the other two kittens began to walk easily, and "Lefty" still struggled and fell forward resulting in him walking on his wrists and backs of his hands, somewhat like an ape. Additionally, his wrists would role sideways especially his right one, hence the name "Lefty". I thought for sure it meant surgery or a permanent crippling. I searched the web and after a few scary articles I finally found yours. Lefty's feet looked just like Twister's, Beth Garners cat. So with some therapy, stretching, and gentle bracing his feet are coming along nicely. He's seeing the vet next week and I expect a good report. Thanks so much for your wonderful site and the positive and resourceful advice. Lefty thanks you for it! Thanks so much!

Summer
USA


In a litter born two days ago one of our kittens has twisted legs. The vet advised we put it to sleep. I was upset as the kitten was otherwise strong and healthy. It seemed such a waste. Thankfully I saw your article about the condition and contacted another vet straight away who said to bring him in. The second vet was about to suggest euthanasia when I produced your article. We are now massaging the legs gently to see if there can be improvement. Thank you so much for producing these articles. Without them my kitten would have ended up being put to sleep. Now he has a chance.

Samantha
USA


After just about having a heart attack when I saw my LH Burmilla Queens latest litter – 6 kittens ( her largest ), 3 died at delivery and the other 3 are fine and well, but there is this little female with the ‘yoga' back legs. I was shocked. In all my years as a breeder, neither I nor my breed club chums, had never seen anything like this and had no clue what to do. My first thought was to euthanize and this was agreed upon by my breeder colleagues – but my 14 year old son who knows this is my queen's last litter before retirement, said to just check it out on the web first and see if there is a cure. Well, thank God he did! I am so relieved to have found your website and can rest easy that the little girl will be fine eventually. Thank you. Kindest regards,

Jaclyn
Australia


I was in a bit of dilemma about a kitten that has just been born, only 1 hour ago (its now 4 am). It's an only kitten. I did not know whether or not to take the baby away from mum and let it die because its back legs are twisted, so I went onto the Internet to find out about kittens born with twisted legs and came across your article. How pleased am I that I didn't take the baby away from mum. So a big thank you for your article and hopefully my new baby kitten can have a normal healthy life and her little legs will become normal as she grows and she gets to run around and play. Yours sincerely,

Mary
USA


My name is Crista Nolting and I am the chairman of the Dutch Royal Ragdoll Club. I had, in my very first litter, a kitten with twisted legs and I had the luck that the Chairman of my pedigree union, the NRKV, knew about your article. Your article saved the live of "Willem" who now is a very big Ragdoll boy. If you knew that he had twisted legs, you can see it but he does all things that every other Ragdoll does. Because I am the chairman of the club, I sometimes get breeders on the telephone who are almost in tears. They have a kitten with "strange" legs and the vet wants to put it to sleep. I can tell them your (and mine) story then and after a while I hear that it all has worked out fine for their kitten. For that I want to thank you! But I am in fear for the lives of kittens from the breeder that does not know better. We have, as a Ragdoll club, our own magazine. I would like to use your article and the pictures for our magazine to help other breeders and the kittens. I hope to hear from you soon. Kind Regards,

Crista Nolting
Chairman of the Dutch Royal Ragdoll Club
Netherlands


We have feral cats that have kittens on a regular basis. We wait until they are between 2-3 weeks old and then we take them and hand raise them so that they can be adopted. We have arranged for a local organization to help us neuter/spay the cats. The vets won't touch a feral cat. We recently had 5 kittens born, 2 of the five had the twisted hind legs. We were crushed and thought it was from inbreeding. We took the 2 kittens to the vet and he said we should put them down. My daughter is very soft hearted and couldn't stand the thought of putting down healthy kittens, so I decided to bring them home. My daughter immediately got on the Internet and found your site. We were thrilled and couldn't believe that we had nearly destroyed the kittens! I showed everyone at work incase they ever came up against this syndrome. In 5 days, we have already seen an improvement in one of the legs. We massage the legs every time we feed them. I wanted to thank you very much for passing on such useful information! I printed out the article and took it to the vet. I'm not sure he was all that thankful. He seemed irritated that I had proven him wrong, so I won't ever go back to that vet!

Darlene
USA


Just this morning my husband discovered 4 new born kittens in our garage.They were almost frozen to death and no sign of the mother. We placed them in a box with warm bedding,and I put a bowl of food out hoping the mother would return. By 3 in the afternoon, there is still no sign of the mother and the kittens were in distress, so I bought them in the house and warmed them
The little orange one still had the afterbirth attached and was quite cold. Now, they are all doing well. However, I discovered that the little black and white had a deformity that really upset me.The hind legs are extended backwards and twisted.The feet actually appear to be backwards and upside down.

My daughter came by and we discussed what we could do. When she went home she found your website and emailed it to me. She was terribly excited and now I am too! We had all but decided to have the kitten put humanely down for its own sake. Thank You so Much for posting this site! We had no idea this condition was so common and now, I just know that this baby will be fine. I am certainly going to do everything in my power to see to that. Once again,Thank you so much for the information!

Aileen
USA


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