Long Term Residents
What are Long Term Residents?
Long Term Residents at Rafiki's Rescue are very special animals that have been in our care a lot longer than typical cases are. Most of the time, they are more involved, special needs cases that require supportive care. Some are adoptable and some are permanent residents due to their ongoing medical needs. Some have simply been overlooked and are still waiting for their forever home. Here you can view those that are cared by us on the daily, their stories, and the best ways to support their ongoing care! Donations are what allow us to continue caring for their medical and daily needs. We hope you will consider becoming a monthly sponsor for one here that needs your support! We couldn't do it without you...
Posie came into our care as a 2 month old in February of 2021 from a hoarding situation. Posie has faced the most complicated medical hardships out of all of our intakes, but she is resilient and the strongest fighter we know. She enjoys every second of life, lives it to the fullest, and wants to be here. She was born with a plethora of medical deformities and anomalies that countless specialists cannot seem to all agree upon. There are many theories, but in essence, Posie has many congenital challenges. She has a spinal deformity that causes her to walk leaning to the left and hopping like a bunny. This deformity also has effect on her bowl & bladder control. She has to be manually expressed throughout the day. These issues, however, are not her most challenging ones, but the management of her chronic inflammation is.
Posie has gone through four surgeries. When she first arrived, she needed a deobstruction surgery that she was not suspected to survive at her size, but she did! The second surgery was to repair a prolapse because, unfortunately, Posie's unique anatomy did not allow for manual expressions of the stool. Thirdly, her largest surgery, was a total colectomy. Posie has only 1/2 inch of her colon. Her fourth surgery was amputation of her tail that was causing her discomfort. Finally, at around 10 months old, Posie went in for surgery once more for intestinal biopsies. All test results lead simply to chronic inflammation.
Sadly, due to this chronic inflammation, Posie's body is incredible fragile and, every few months, she needs a few days of hospitalization due to a flare up. When managed properly, Posie absolutely thrives and might be the happiest cat in our care. She is spirited, adventurous, and determined to let nothing hold her back. Because of this spirit and will to live, we have traveled to every specialist under the sun and even drove 7 hours north to UC Davis. Posie has a large team of veterinary professionals and we continue to provide her with top quality care and to seek out new answers and options for her health. She is a forever foster at Rafiki's Rescue due to her needs. She inspires us each day to keep fighting for these little lives like hers so long as they want to fight too. They are capable of so much more than we realize and its beautiful to watch them overcome so much with the right support.
Willow arrived at Rafiki's Rescue in 2021 when we were reached out to about a 2 week old kitten with paralyzed back legs. After asking further questions, we discovered that the kitten had an entire family, mama & siblings. Their rescuer did not imagine that one rescue would be willing to take both the special needs kitten and the whole family. But of course we were not going to split them! So we welcomed in two week old Willow along with her 3 brothers and mama.
Willow has been paralyzed in the back two legs her whole life and hasn't any clue she's remotely different from the other cats! She runs fast as can be, climbs, and is just as happy as, if not happier than, all the other kitties! She just needs her diaper to be changed throughout the day because she does not know when she is going. Unfortunately, Willow is a very sensitive kitty who is prone to UTIs. Because of this, she gets regular vet check ups and a urinalysis run far more frequently than the typical yearly check up. Because her body has proven to be so sensitive and the risky of a kidney infection is high, Willow is likely to be a a forever foster at Rafiki's Rescue. It is critical that her routine is kept up with to a T to protect her health. The rest of her family was adopted into loving forever homes, but Willow is thriving and adores her current foster home just as much!
She is a spunky, affectionate, happy go lucky girl that is the perfect example of why we do what we do. The bit of extra love and care that goes into Willow's routine is worth every purr & biscuit we get in return!
Hercules was the very first paralysis case we took in at Rafiki's Rescue. We learned everything we know from him! He came to us from shelter at 5 weeks old in 2020 after he was found with partial paralysis in his back two legs, puncture wounds, and a massive abscess on his back. We worked hard to give Hercules the best chance possible and started going to weekly acupuncture, laser therapy, PT, and accuscope therapy. We do believe that this hard work paid off as he now has a lot of strength in his back legs, however, he cannot stand up on them. He does use them to propel himself forward and to assist in climbing where he wants to go. Hercules has a wheel chair that he uses for PT sessions in order to keep up strength in those legs that he has worked so hard to build over the years.
Hercules does need to have both his bladder and bowels manually expressed as he has no control over them at all. He is the sweetest boy and does not allow for these things to bother him in the slightest. He enjoys every moment of the day, especially when it's time to snuggle up and cuddle. When he is happy, he suckles one of his back legs toes like a pacifier. It's the cutest thing we've ever seen and a behavior he's has since a small kitten! Due to Hercules's sensitivities and need for manual expressions to go to the bathroom, he is likely a forever foster at Rafiki's Rescue. that's okay, this little man paved the way for all that we do today!
Kailani came into our care in October of 2021 having quite literally, and figuratively, been left for dead. Right around Halloween time, someone had found this 5 week old paralyzed kitten and took it upon themselves to abandon her in a faux, decorative graveyard she could not escape. Thankfully, the good samaritan who found her reached out for help.
When Kailani arrived, we knew she was not a typical paralysis case. Her legs were oddly positioned and she got around quite well for what was suspected to be a new injury. Between orthopedic specialists, neurologists, and many primary vets, no one is quite sure what causes Kailani's abnormal legs. Our best theory is that she has a condition called arthrogryposis, a congenital disorder where the joints fuse together.
Her right leg sticks out straight, but because it causes her no harm and she gets around well, no one feels that an amputation is in her best interest at this time. We like her wonky leg anyway! Her left leg is fused into curved position behind her back. She can move her legs from the thigh, but that is all. She sometimes attempts to scratch herself with her right leg. She has little to no feeling in them and so she often times wears her custom made pants in order to protect them. She is a major fashionista! She also cannot go to the bathroom on her own and has to be manually expressed, but that just makes for another cute, customizable fashion accessory - diapers!
We have not given up hope on finding a definite diagnosis of what caused the fusion of her joints, but for now, she is the happiest, sassiest, spunky, energetic girl that hasn't let a single day get in the way of her living life big!
Sweet Bamsi was rescued from a Craiglist ad in 2021 that listed a litter of "free, 5 week old kittens." Bamsi, being paralyzed, was left at a huge risk of being scooped up for use as a bait kitty. His rescuer rushed to his aid! Unfortunately, by the time she got here, the rest of the litter had already been given away. Bamsi was the only one left, unwanted because of his condition.
But that's okay because we wanted him! Bamsi came into our care FULL of energy and ready to play all day! That energy has remained to this day! He is one of the most wild, rambunctious kitties and is the FASTEST one in the home! Faster than even the normal kitties! Bamsi has no use of his back legs and no feeling at all, however, he is able to go the bathroom all on his own and even knows when he is going! However, he makes quite a mess of himself and so it makes more sense to use a diaper to protect his hygiene and offer his body cushion as he drags his back end. Because of how energetic and playful Bamsi is, the fact that he cannot feel his back end does pose risk of injury. Unfortunately, Bamsi had to unexpectedly have his tail amputated due to an unknown injury. If he becomes bored, he is prone to self mutilating the areas that he cannot feel, which is likely what happened to his tail. So it is important we keep this nutty boy stimulated and in an environment full of fun and enrichment!
He may be different, but this little guy sure knows how to bring the party to each and every day! He's also the meanest biscuit maker in the whole town!
Sasha found herself in shelter in 2020 after having endured a pull-tail injury that left her unable to go to the bathroom on her own. Sadly, a tail amputation was performed, but not a spay... so no one realized that she was also pregnant! The stress her body had endured from a pull tail injury, a surgery, and then a growing pregnancy was far too much for her young body. That's when we stepped in to give her a fighting chance.
Sasha went through months of surgical repairs, enemas, and therapies to get her where she is today. Today, she can go to the bathroom on her own! She does still leak a bit and requires a very strict regimen as far as her diet, supplements, and daily hygiene routine, but she is otherwise a super capable and independent girl! She is full of spunk, sass, and personality. She is quite the character! There was never a doubt that this special girl would fight and was meant to be here. She is resilient as they come and ready for bigger, grander adventures that hopefully include a forever home & family who loves and accepts her for who she is. She is meant to be an adored, regal queen!
Rocky arrived in our care during a TNR project when he wound up in one of our humane traps. He was in horrific shape, completely beat up with infected puncture wounds, an infected mass in his ear, a scarred and swollen face, and a body that was skin & bones. We were told that he was the "neighborhood menace." Clearly he had been in his fair share of cat fights. When we got him to our vet's office, we were able to get him cleaned up and Rocky made it resoundingly clear right off the bat that he wanted a home! He was so grateful for his rescue and adored each person involved in his care. Definitely did not live up to his name as "menace."
Originally, Rocky tested negative for FIV & FELV, but he had a lot of trouble healing as the weeks went on. Because he had arrived with puncture wounds, we grew suspicious that he could had been newly infected and, therefore, the test would not have turned up positive just yet. Eventually, the wounds healed, but he needed three surgeries to successfully remove the infected polyp in his ear. We ran further testing to reveal he had mycoplasma which was causing chronic congestion and anemia. A few months later, we retested his FIV test and, sure enough, it was positive.
Rocky's chronic illnesses do need to be closely monitored and maintained, but it does not take away from his joy and love for life & people. He is one of the most affectionate, happy cats and is now a whopping 16lbs! Spoiled as can be and loving life despite it's challenges.
Rex & Gigi have been in our care since 2019 and 2020. Rex arrived as a very shy shelter kitty that needed a lot of love and patience to learn to trust. Gigi arrived from a stray cat colony and sadly she developed FIP. She was our very first FIP case since a new experimental treatment had become available, so of course we jumped on it! Gigi made a miraculous recovery and it was our first time experiencing the joy of successfully saving a life from FIP. However, once she had finished the 3 month long treatment, she had grown out of her prime "kitten age" for adoption and no one wanted a teen, FIP survivor... She was still a bit shy after everything that she had endured and no one expressing any interest in adopting her. That's when her & Rex developed a beautiful bond and became best friends.
Rex & Gigi are a very gentle, shy pair that need someone who has patience and an understanding of who they are. They are wonderful loving cats when given the time they need to trust and adjust. Unfortunately, no one thus far has believed them worth that bit of extra time... That's okay, we believe them to be worth every moment and they have a place with us until their forever one is found.
Rex & Gigi
Kingsley arrived in our care in 2021 with her two sisters as a 5 week old kitten from shelter with a horrible upper respiratory infection that took weeks to fully heal. Once they were available for adoption, sadly the 3 girls grew up without any adoption interest, likely because so many other kittens were available and were more desirable for their colors or breeds. Statistically, black and black & white cats are far less likely to be adopted. All three girls were black & white. Finally, just after celebrating their 1st birthday, her two sisters found their forever homes. Kingsley was still left searching...
We are strong believers that they remain in our care as long as they do for a reason. Whether that be that they need our love a while longer, their forever family is not quite ready for them yet, or in Kingsley's case, a health issue has yet to present itself. Kingsley has always been exceptionally small, only 4lbs. We have ran every test to be sure we were not missing any underlying health problem, but everything has always come back clear... until recently.
Kingsley had a very scary week where she suddenly stopped eating, was not behaving herself, and became aggravated. Her eyes began to dilate and we realized she had suddenly gone blind. She was diagnosed with ocular FIP and we quickly got her started on treatment. Within 2 days of the 3 month long treatment, she was back to herself and eating again! One week in, she began regaining her vision!
Kingsley is currently undergoing this treatment and, once she is finished, will be searching once again for her forever home. She is the most loving, gentle girl who just wants to be either held or on a lap all day long. She loves her humans and her sensitive, gentle nature has us smitten. We hope that three months from now, she gets to move on to the beautiful life she deserves with a family of her own!
Baloo arrived in 2021 as an incredibly ill, incredibly scared shelter kitten who had been rescued just in the nick of time, escaping his euthanasia deadline by the hour. We don't know what Baloo endured during his short life, but he took lots of love and patience to finally be comfortable and learn to trust. He is still incredibly shy of new people and new things, but he absolutely adores his feline friends and taking care of new foster kitties.
Baloo was never able to fully heal from his illnesses and has recurring episodes of chronic congestion. We have run PCRs, cultures, fungal tests, and each one comes back entirely negative. We are not sure what causes these episodes, it is possible that it is purely allergies and he is just a sensitive little kitty. But he does need a round of antibiotics when they flare up.
Baloo is a wonderful companion for another kitty and may even warm up to a special human who is willing to give him all the love and patience he needs. He just has to be understood and accepted. He is a happy, wonderful cat that we truly hope can find his happy ending one day soon.
Orie & Bugsy
Orie & Bugsy both arrived in 2021 and have pretty heartbreaking stories to tell, but they are the most wonderful, loving, resilient kitties! Orie arrived at 5 weeks old as we raced to pick him up from shelter just minutes before his euthanasia deadline. He was in severe neurological distress and could not stand up and could not see. He was raced to emergency where we were told he would not survive, but we had to give him a chance. By morning, he was a different cat! He was still blind and wobbly, but standing on all fours! Within two weeks, he had made a full recovery and was a perfectly normal kitten, cleared by a neurologist. Sadly, when he got older, he developed FIP and his lungs and chest cavity was filled with fluid. He was again told that he would not survive. We knew he was a fighter and started him on the 3 month long treatment right away. By day 12, there was no evidence that any fluid had ever existed! He blew his vets away once again! He made a full recovery and has remained healthy long past finishing his treatment. He is the most outgoing, lovable, bold, adventurous kitty who just loves life and people!
Bugsy arrived one month after Orie did with his 3 siblings. Sadly, the whole litter had panleukopenia and after weeks of 24/7 critical care, Bugsy was the only survivor. What was even more miraculous is that Bugsy had tested positive for FIV! He had managed to beat the deadliest kitten virus all while also being immunocompromised. An absolute miracle, he was definitely meant to be here. Bugsy is a very gentle and loving soul who took time to trust people. Now that he is comfortable, he is so gentle and affectionate and adores being cuddled and loved. He is a perfect compliment to Orie's bold and adventurous personality.
Orie and Bugsy went through all that they have endured together and developed and beautiful friendship. Their personalities make the most wonderful duo that some family is going to truly luck out with. We are not sure why it's taken so long for them to find their special someone, but we know they are out there and we cannot wait for them to finally get their happy endings that they worked so hard to get to!