Life Lessons, resources, and random bits for rescue dogs, cats, bunnies, and their peeps

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cats of Quincy House

Snowflake shows off one of her beautiful dresses

One of the highlights of our recent trip to Best Friends was a visit with the cats of Quincy House. Quincy House is home to cats with special needs many severe including mobility and neurological issues as well as paralysis. Although I consider myself a seasoned special needs pet advocate, I was not prepared for the beauty and courage of these cats as well as the devotion and compassion of their human caretakers.

Our volunteer duties included taking the cats for stroller rides and shorts walks. As we took our first cat (Tiny Tim) outside, his caretakers warned us that he liked to catch lizards. I admit, I briefly questioned how a paralyzed cat would catch a lizard or anything else. Tiny Tim spent the next thirty minutes proving me wrong. No lizards were harmed, but we had several close calls. In many ways, the Quincy House cats are like any other cats: they love to cuddle, play, hunt, explore, and sunbathe. They just do everything with a little extra spunk and a whole lot of heart. Here are just a few of the extraordinary cats of Quincy House.


Shelly is a healthy fourteen year old, FIV positive beauty. She arrived at Best Friends in 2012 after being rescued from the streets of New York. Don't let her grumpy face fool you! This street smart former city girl is an absolute sweetheart who loves visitors.

adopting a paralyzed cat with special needs

Eliana is a spunky, tortie girl who doesn't let her paralyzed hindquarters slow her down one bit. With her strong front legs, she climbs to the top of the cat trees and moves with the speed of a panther.

adopting a paralyzed cat with special needs

Duke was living as a stray in Phoenix before arriving at Best Friends. He has Cerebellar Hypoplasia and probably also suffered head trauma during his past life on the streets. He doesn't get around as much as the other Quincy House cats, but he has a heart of gold and never gives up. Duke can usually be found on a nice blanket right in the center of the lobby ready and waiting to greet all visitors.

adopting a paralyzed cat with special needs

Tiny Tim (otherwise known as Happy Feet) has a spinal deformity that has twisted his lower back so he sits side saddle. Whether he was born with this condition or it was a result of a past injury, is unknown. But don't be fooled - this kitty is super fast, playful, and a skilled hunter.

adopting a paralyzed cat with special needs

Hermes was found as a stray kitten with paralyzed back legs. He is a big friendly orange boy who loves sun puddles, laser lights, and walks with volunteers.

Connor Quincy House Cats Best Friends Animal Society

Connor has Manx Syndrome, a genetic spinal deformity caused by overbreeding. As a result of her condition, she has her own special way of walking - kind of sideways hop like a rabbit.

adopting a paralyzed cat with special needs

Snowflake (also in the first picture) is one of the most famous cats at Quincy House. She was found living under a trailer with her two kittens. Her back legs were badly injured after being hit by a car and yet each day, she dragged herself around looking for food to bring back to her kittens. Once rescued and safely at Best Friends, her back legs were amputated. Snowflake now has fans around the world who send her beautiful handmade dresses and blankets.


And last but not least, our personal favorite, Aramis.  This doe-eyed, handsome kitty was born paralyzed, but he doesn't seem to notice or care that his back legs don't work quite like other cats. Aramis loves to explore and go for walks and charmed us almost instantly with his sweet, gentle nature. 


The Quincy House cats are spirited, affectionate, and independent and go about their daily feline routines without notice of their limitations.  Spending time with them was both humbling and inspiring and truly changed the way I look at the world. Sadly, most of these amazing cats would have been euthanized in traditional shelters. But against all odds, they survived and now have much to teach us about compassion, kindness, gratitude, and the beauty of celebrating each moment.

Many of the Quincy House cats are available for sponsorship and ALL are up for adoption. You can also send care packages directly to Quincy House at Best Friends. Rosie has kindly agreed to share her BlogPaws cat swag with Aramis and friends and we will be sending a special care package soon.

Thanks to all the Quincy House Caretakers especially Kristen, Barbara, and Felicia for making us feel so welcome and taking such amazing care of all of these beauties!
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46 comments

  1. We are so grateful that there are kind-hearted peeps who give furries like these incredibly beautiful cats a chance at a happy life. The kitties and their stories are just amazing. We fell in love with Snowflake with that first shot of her.

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

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  2. I am always amazed at the wonderful stories and sanctuaries for the animals and this one sounds absolutely fantastic, thank you for sharing

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  3. Oh my goodness, thank you so, so much for sharing this with us. Perhaps it's because I have a hind limb paralyzed kitty myself (Evan!), but I can't even express how much these kitties and their stories of courage touched my heart. I honestly did not know about Quincy House until you brought it to my attention here, but I am so very glad you did. I can see myself visiting there someday, and getting to know these amazing kitties and their amazing caretakers. Thank you again so much for sharing this!

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  4. Stunning photos! I am a little jealous of your awesome experience... visiting and volunteering at Best Friends is on my bucket list!

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  5. Your photos are gorgeous. You really show how wonderful these sweeties are. And that last photo? With the kitty and your daughter walking side by side? Brought a little tear to my eye. I love it that she had such a special connection with what seems to be a very special cat.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  6. What a wonderful opportunity and thank you so much for sharing! There's nothing as good as giving back!!!

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  7. Wow, what special kitties the kitties of Quincy House are. Thank you for introducing us to them.
    '

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  8. I absolutely love this post - thank you so much for sharing it. And Shelly - that face! I think I'm in love. I didn't get to visit Quincy House when I was there, but I'm definitely going to volunteer there next time. I can't wait to go back! I'm thinking a blogger meetup! :-)

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  9. Your pictures are beautiful and we are so thankful for Quincy House for helping out all of these lovely kitties!!

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  10. it is great that such a wonderful place like Quincy House exists... one look in this wonderful eyes and we feel all the love such a purring friend can give...

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  11. My goodness what a loving place. It feels my heart w joy to read about the special care they give each precious life
    Hugs
    Madi and mom
    PS ruby your pretty little girl is getting so tall

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  12. It's so heartwarming that there's a special place for cats like these who need extra care. The humans at best friends really are the best for going the extra mile for these special needs kitties.

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  13. Those sweeties are all amazing and it's so nice to see they are getting the care and attention they need and deserve. Beautiful post!

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  14. Thank you for sharing the stories of such wonderful cats, cared by such wonderful people.

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  15. Hari OM
    Gorgeous, every one one of them... again you bring warmth to our hearts and leaks in the facial faucets!!! YAM xx

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  16. Oh goodness, what a wonderful post. And such good pictures of the cats. That place is just so wonderful. So glad you got to visit there and see all of the cats. Thanks for telling us about it all.

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  17. I volunteer 2 weeks of every year at Best Friends in Kanab. This will be my fourth year. I always chose Quincy House. Thanks for the great pictures of many of my favorite (away from home) kitties. I adopted a little girl from Quincy last November.
    28 days until my next visit. My happiest place in the world. My granddaughter comes with me in the summer to participate in their free kids camp while I volunteer. >^..^<

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    1. I know who this is! This year you adopted a very handsome boy! <3

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  18. Best Friends does good work . . . very good work!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  19. What a wonderful place - it warms our hearts to know there are such good people
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  20. What sweet babies! Thank you for sharing their special spirit.

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  21. What wonderful photos! It sounds like you had a great trip to Best Friends. I would love to get to visit them some day!

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  22. I have been touched so much by this post, and the personalities of these lovely cats. So special, street smarts and sweeties! Quincy House is an inspiration to those of us in the pet world who can share far and wide what these special needs kitties have to offer the world, just as they are. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Bless their hearts and those who love them. Beautiful stories of beautiful souls.

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  24. What wonderful dedication Quincy house has to these special kitties. I truly loved reading about the residents there. How sweet of Rosie to donate her swag ❤

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  25. They are all beautiful. I would love to visit there.

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  26. What a wonderful trip! I can really see their personalities the way you describe them.

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  27. Tears are streaming down my face ... you portray each unique cat so wonderfully, I fell in love with each one and hurt at what they've experienced in this life. I'm so glad B.F. is there to give them the best life given their limitations. I'd heard a few bad things (mostly administrative) about BF, but after seeing your coverage - I can't help forget all that. Thank you for sharing <3

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    1. Thank you for replying about your experience. It certainly seems like a wonderful place. I feel bad for ever thinking otherwise ... and now I want to visit and volunteer (mainly volunteer).

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  28. They are all such sweet cats and we're glad there are such kind hearted souls that take care of them. Hugs and purrs to them all xx

    Athena and Marie

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  29. What a fabulous organization. Thank you so much for sharing the stories of these beautiful cats. Hermes look just like my Rooster!

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  30. What a special organization to provide homes for special needs kitties.

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  31. Oh my Kristin. What amazing heart these kitties show and such dedicated caretakers. Thank you for sharing your experiences at Best Friends.

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  32. I loved this post! My favorite part, I think is just the notion that someone somewhere sometime decided that imperfect kitties still have value in the world. That just twangs my heart, because my own dog, Rugby James has emotional issues that would have seen him euthanized as well. I have learned SO much from my little nutter, and can't imagine that he doesn't have value to the world...just like these beautiful and spunky kitties! Thanks for sharing!!

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  33. Thanks for sharing part of your visit to Best Friends with us. These kitties are indeed special. I love what the above commenter said about having value in the world, and that they each do.

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  34. Kristin this must have been such a wonderful experience for both you and your daughter! One day, I hope the world is filled with so many compassion people, that being compassionate toward any living being in need, won't be particularly laudable. Until then, thank you to all the volunteers who make Best Friends/Quincy House possible and who keep these potentially vulnerable kitties safe and happy.

    the critters in the cottage xo

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  35. So fantastic advocating for these special kitties. Thank you for sharing!

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  36. What a wonderful experience. What gorgeous photos! I always think cats have the most beautiful eyes :)

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  37. Very humbling to see these sweeties loving life to the fullest. Thank you so much for sharing your time with them.

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  38. I also visited Quincy House when I was at Best Friends, the caregivers are amazing! What a wonderful memory for you and your family.

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  39. Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  40. Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  41. Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  42. How wonderful. What beautiful kitties. Thank you for sharing this story about Quincy House that sounds so amazing!

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  43. Thank you for taking the time to share this experience in words and images with us. Thank goodness for places like BFAS to help pets.

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  44. All those cats are gorgeous and precious lives in their own ways. Thank you for celebrating them. Thank you Best Friends for giving them the lives they deserve.

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