The name Grandpa seems like an odd choice for a newborn kitten — but when Stephanie Medrano first met her foster, she knew it was perfect.
The tiny white kitten’s scrunched-up face looked far older than his hours-old body, and his unique features gave him a constantly worried expression.
“When I foster kittens, I try to give them funny names like Turtle or Starfish, but when Grandpa was handed to me, that was the first name I thought of when I saw his little face,” Medrano told The Dodo. “I had no idea it would be such a hit and [would] actually match his personality so much.”
Medrano met Grandpa the day he was born and has been working to help the special little kitten thrive ever since. “My friend called me asking for help. A kitten had been born that morning with his back legs bent backward and a cleft palate,” Medrano said. “The owners took him to the vet and were told his chances of survival were slim and to consider euthanasia. They did not want to put the kitten down and informed my friend of what happened — she called me right away.”
With the help of Stray Cat Alliance, Medrano brought the tiny kitten home and started him on a program of tube feedings every two hours and stretches for his twisted back legs.
“This happens when the tendon is short so it pulls the leg backward instead of forward,” Medrano explained. “I stretch and massage his legs forward multiple times a day … When he is older, if there is more improvement to be made, he will see a specialist for this.”
When Grandpa is strong enough, he’ll need a procedure to correct his cleft palate so he can eat normally. But for now, the tiny kitten is just working on building up his energy — which means plenty of long naps.
“Grandpa, or Gramps as I call him, sometimes is a sleeper. He’s still a baby so that’s normal, but he can go into a deep sleep,” Medrano said. “When he was smaller, I would pick him up and his body would be limp because he wouldn’t wake up right away.”
Though he’s still so small, Grandpa is a fighter and getting stronger every day, according to Medrano. He’s also a little gentleman who loves spending time with his foster mom.
“For the most part, he’s slow-moving and gentle,” Medrano said. “He will just sit up and stare out into space. He enjoys getting his fur brushed with a toothbrush.”
For Grandpa, it’s the simple pleasures that count.