When a woman was sent a picture of a tiny tuxedo kitten with her head dramatically tilted to one side, she immediately knew what was wrong.
She knew all too well why this kitten had been suffering.
Keep reading to discover about how fate brought together a very special kitten with a kind woman who was determined to see her thrive.
A Chance Encounter
Deanna wasn’t searching for a cat to adopt when her phone dinged one Friday afternoon in a small rural town in eastern Oregon.
“I have a kitten that I think you would be interested in,” read the incoming text.
Deanna couldn’t help it; she was already hooked and needed to know more.
Ding. Deanna was sent a photo of a tiny tuxedo kitten with the most adorable mustache.
She was scrawny underneath her thick, fluffy coat of fur.
Oddly enough, her little head was tipped dramatically to the left.
“The moment I looked at her I knew exactly what was going on,” said Deanna.
Deanna knew because she had the same condition.
A Helpful Hand
The kitten was one of 40 cats and kittens living in a local barn colony.
Rescuers took one look at the tiny kitten with the tilted head and knew she couldn’t be released back to the barn.
She needed special medical care. The property owner agreed, surrendering the tiny kitten.
“The property owner said she’d had a lot of ear infections,” as shared by Deanna. “Hydrogen peroxide had been used to try to help these ear infections.”
Hydrogen peroxide is an old wives tale, thought to cure ear infections in cats.
Instead of helping, the hydrogen peroxide destroys the inner workings of the ear.
The kitten was off-balance; her world spun.
As fate would have it, Deanna knew from personal experience the world that this kitten lived in.
“I know about vertigo, I know about the dizziness, I know about everything that comes along with it. So, when I saw the kitten, I knew something was familiar,” shared Deanna.
The very next day, Deanna brought the kitten with the tilted head home.
The Moment of Truth
The kitten arrived at Deanna’s home and immediately got to exploring.
She circled every inch of the house, around and around the dining room and circled in the living room.
Tipping and swaying, her tilted head lead the way for circles around everything.
“I said, you’re just a little bit tippy, aren’t ya,” said Deanna. “I looked at my husband and I said, I think I just said her name.”
The little kitten would be known as Tippy from then on.
“I knew the moment that I saw Tippy that there was something very uniquely special about her,” recalled Deanna. “Her and I had a connection. I could understand her in ways that maybe nobody else could.”
Deanna was by Tippy’s side as Tippy underwent surgery to have a polyp removed.
Although the prognosis was positive, the vet told Deanna that Tippy would most likely remain – tippy.
“We were prepared that she would live her life sideways,” said Deanna. “That tilt is just her way of compensating. It’s her way of adjusting the world to what she believes it should look like.”
For six months the world looked just the way Tippy and Deanna had hoped – full of love and joy.
Tippy was the good kind of dizzy, dizzy with love.
“She immediately became part of our family,” shared Deanna. “All of our kitties loved her. They somehow knew that she was different in some way, that she required extra love.”
But one night, Deanna and Tippy’s world didn’t just turn sideways, it turned upside down.
“We came home one evening and she was crouched down on the floor, all fours, hanging on to the carpet and her head was rocking,” explained Deanna as she held back tears.
“Her little eyes were about as dilatated as they could be. Her head was rocking almost violently back and forth.”
Even today, she still gets choked up when she recalls this shocking night.
Deanna and her husband panicked. They didn’t know what was happening to Tippy.
The vet explained that Tippy was having an episode of vertigo.
There was nothing for Deanna to do other than to comfort Tippy and painfully wait for the episode to pass.
“That episode ended up being one of probably 150, 200 that we have watched her have,” shared Deanna. “Sometimes they last moments, sometimes they last hours.”
Tippy has spent hours laying on the floor in a dark closet with Deanna, waiting for the episode to pass.
“When her episode is over, she is back to the exact same sweetness that she was before the episode started,” said Deanna. “She lives a wonderful life despite the hardships, despite the days that are bad.”
Though she has bad days, Tippy’s good days are really good.
Happily Ever After
Tippy loves to indulge in catnip and pushup treats.
But most of all, she loves watching the birds.
“She’ll look out the window and you’ll see her head tilt. When there’s something really interesting that’s flying by, that head really tilts,” shared Deanna.
Snapping out of her bird-induced daze, Tippy will realize when she’s lost track of Deanna.
Small in size, but with a mighty meow, Tippy will call out for Deanna, who always responds.
“She’ll come around the corner as if she’s misplaced me for the moment,” laughed Deanna.
Tippy and Deanna have special routines, keeping Tippy happy and helping with her anxiety.
Tippy knows exactly when her special treat time is each and every day.
She also knows when the postal carrier is due to arrive.
“She loves the mail lady, and the UPS lady too,” Deanna shared. “She’ll sit on the box in hopes that whatever is in the box is for her.”
Many times it is her for her, or one of her five other siblings.
It has been four amazing years since Deanna received that text message, and she doesn’t take a single happy day with Tippy for granted.
Life isn’t always easy for Tippy, but with Deanna’s special care and bond, Tippy lives a very happy life.
Sadly, many special needs cats aren’t given the chance for a happy life.
“Don’t euthanize them because looking at them makes you sad,” Deanna said. “I can look at Tippy sometimes and ‘think this just makes the heart sad.’ But my heart being sad doesn’t mean that Tippy’s life isn’t happy.”
Thank you to Deanna and all of her rescuers for giving Tippy a chance for a long, happy life.
Want to see more of Tippy? Click here to see Tippy and her special sisters in action!