Following the death of their first rescue cat at the age of 16, Georgina Price and her fiancé, Christopher Lardner, knew they wanted to open their hearts to someone new.
"We decided we would look for an extra special cat that might take a little longer to find a home," said Georgina. Their generous desire to give a home to a "special" cat prompted her and her fiancé to browse the web, where they stumbled upon Toby and Quinton.
"We found them on the RSPCA website when they were looking for a home," Georgina told Bored Panda in a recent interview. Quinton, a 7-year-old black and white cat who was missing all his teeth, and Toby, a 6-year-old short-haired feline who sported a lot of loose skin. "They're a bonded pair, the RSPCA advertised them together. And we thought if we can help two cats rather than one, then that's the best possible outcome."
Georgina later learned that Toby had been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or feline cutaneous asthenia (FCA), a congenital condition that can cause unusually loose and fragile skin due to a lack of collagen.
Georgina and Christopher visited the duo at the RSPCA where they lived in a special unit.
"They were both terrified and huddled right at the back. Toby just hid behind Quinton the whole time, trembling," said Georgina, who was able to pet Quinton, but couldn't touch Toby because he was just too scared. Nevertheless, she and Christopher were still confident they could take on the roles of guardians for the nervous special-needs feline and his bro-fur.
And so, they adopted both Toby and Quinton.
Because of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Toby's stomach hangs down to his knees, and Georgina and Christopher are concerned about the effect the added weight of this extra skin might have on his long-term health—with joint problems caused by the excess weight being a particular concern.
"We're very lucky that his condition seems to be mild and we manage it very easily. His skin is just weaker than it should be so he gets lots of tears, especially around his neck and head," said Georgina. "We're always telling him off for scratching or cutting his nails to reduce the chance of injury, and you can see he just thinks 'leave me alone, I can take care of myself.'"
Georgina noted that Toby often seeks Quinton out for help with grooming and that Quinton will lick his face and head, particularly any cuts."Just like a good kitty brother should!
But even though Toby requires a bit more extra care, Georgina and Christopher couldn't be happier with him and his bro-fur Quinton.
His condition aside, Toby is just your average kitty who enjoys bird watching, playing with bouncy balls, and snuggling with his owners.
"He loves belly rubs and will plop himself next to you and look at you, waiting for you to rub his belly," said Georgina, who hopes that sharing Toby's story will not only raise awareness about his rare condition but will encourage more people to consider bringing special needs cats into their lives.
"It doesn't take any more to love them and despite whatever it is that may make them 'special needs,' she said. "They are still beautiful animals with their own amazing personalities, likes, dislikes, and the ability to love you back."
We agree with you, Georgina! And we couldn't have said it better ourselves...
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