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Duncan is doing a lot better after his surgery.

An 8-month old kitten named Duncan, who was born with severely twisted back legs, is purring after a double leg surgery gave him the promise of a better life.

Duncan was just 3-weeks old when he arrived at Esther Neonatal Kitten Alliance in March. According to the Kitten Alliance’s Director Andee Bingham, kittens with twisted legs like Duncan’s aren’t uncommon.

“We have helped more than a dozen kittens with twisted legs this year,” Bingham recalls. “They usually come to us at just a few days old, when their legs are malleable enough that we’re able to straighten them with massage and physical therapy. Unfortunately, Duncan’s legs were already very seized up by the time we met him. We spent several months trying everything – massage, physical therapy, water therapy, splinting – nothing worked.”

Bingham and Duncan also met with many veterinarians, surgeons and specialists over the summer, but none had a plan for fixing his legs.

“It was frustrating, to say the least,” Bingham said. “Duncan had grown into such a sweet, loving boy. Everyone who met him fell in love. We just wanted him to have the quality of life he deserved. It was heartbreaking that there seemed to be no answers.”

Duncan finally found hope in September when he was examined by Dr. Krebs at Upstate Vet Specialty Care in Asheville.

“The procedure and recovery he proposed wasn’t going to be easy,” Bingham said, “but it gave Duncan a good chance at eventually being able to run and play with his friends.”

Duncan’s legs were straightened one at a time, with two surgeries which were spaced about a month apart.

“He will be in casts for about three months now and we’re visiting Upstate Vet several times a month for checkups, but Duncan has been a champ. We’re grateful that he is, by nature, such a gentle and happy-go-lucky guy,” Bingham said.

Bingham said physical therapy is their main focus going forward.

“He has never had the opportunity to stand up straight until now, so we’ve been working with him to become comfortable just being in that position,” she said. “We’re also doing a lot of motion and stretching exercises with him several times a day to help strengthen his leg muscles. Once he’s stronger and more confident we’ll start teaching him how to walk. A lot of us will definitely cry happy tears when he does that on his own for the first time.”

Bingham looks forward to the day she sees him walk on his own for the first time.

“It’s been a long journey, and I’m so excited to see him run and play like his other cat friends,” she said.

The Kitten Alliance has provided care and rescue to 400 kittens this year, and more than half were treated for critical injuries or illnesses. You can help save kittens like Duncan by contributing to their year-end fundraising campaign at www.kittenalliance.org/savekittens. Through Dec. 31, all donations will be matched to save little lives.

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