Brutiss is a disabled cat living her best life in Boston, Massachusetts. Now in the care of a loving veterinarian, she’s become an Instagram-famous artist, swimmer, and cat celebrity. (She’s also on Facebook)
Shortly after the kitten was born, someone found her in a garden with a sibling. Unfortunately, the mother cat abandoned the kittens there. After the rescuer brought the kittens to the veterinarian, they feared the 4-week-old kitten would never walk. Within a week of care, Brutiss’ sister passed away. However, Brutiss proved to be a “tough little cookie.” The veterinarian, Shanna Egan, bottle-fed the kitten for weeks and ended up deciding she would adopt her. Thus, she became her “hooman.”
Then, with a lot of love and ingenuity, this kitty learned to get around comfortably and even swim! Four years later, Brutiss’ personality is shining, and she’s living her best life. Here she is living it up as her hooman feeds her salmon sashimi. (see bel0w)
Below, see Brutiss as a wee kitten via The Dodo:
Where did Brutiss Get Her Name?
How did Brutiss receive her special name? As Egan puts it on Instagram:
“She was only a couple hours old when found, so we gave her a ‘tough name.’ Then, as she grew, we realized she was a girl (so we just changed the spelling and went with it).”
Life with Cerebellar Hypoplasia
Notably, the kitten was born with cerebellar hypoplasia that left her with tremors and unable to balance herself. However, she’s not in pain and has no problem otherwise. She can control her bodily functions but occasionally has problems navigating around corners in her custom-made walker.
Possibly, her mom had feline panleukopenia virus, Egan suspects. In such cases, kittens can be born with a neurological condition after the virus attacks their developing cerebellum.
Since both kittens were born with a grey “fever coat,” Egan says it indicated their momma cat was probably very stressed or ill. Although the silver-colored coat can be pretty, it’s a sign that pigment hasn’t properly deposited in the fur. As these kittens grow, they shed the grey, cream, or reddish coat and reveal their adult colors.
Below, Brutiss uses her decked-out walker complete with its own raised/tilted feeder.
A Decked-Out Walking Aid
When Shanna Egan’s parents learned about “Bru,” her dad decided to build her a custom wheelchair. After watching YouTube videos, he crafted the first walker using PVC pipes and some wheels.
Then, Egan’s mom used some ingenuity to create a belly sling to hold the kitten gently. Using a ferret harness, she could secure the kitty in her new walker. To help Bru grip the floor better, they added little booties on her front paws. Now, the kitten could stay on her feet with support for her back legs. With the booties on her paws, she was able to get better traction on the slippery hardwood floors.
Fortunately, the kitten took to the walker with ease.
“Bru took to the walker pretty quickly, within a few minutes. We added booties to help her get better traction on the hardwood flooring.”
After seeing how well Bru adjusted to the walker, the Egan decided to upgrade to a custom wheelchair. On Instagram, you can see Shanna is always improving on the design with new features.
Just Like Any Other Indoor Cat?
Although she has a disability, Bru can get around very well now at a “comfortable pace.”
“Brutiss needs some extra help, but in other ways she’s just like any other indoor cat – she naps, plays, eats, etc.,” Egan told Metro.
On the other hand, this cat is also an artist and likes to swim! Thus, she’s not your average kitty by any means! Recently, Egan found a flotation device to help Brutiss float in a shallow wading pool or bathtub. There, the kitten enjoys paddling around while someone plays lifeguard.
“As long as the water is warm, she’s fine with it! She has a life jacket to help with buoyancy,” Egan said.
See Bru taking a swim below via Instagram.
Art to Care for Special Needs Kitties
Amazingly, Bru is also quite a talented artist. Using non-toxic paints, the kitty enjoys creating unique abstract patterns on canvas. Watching her paint, she really does seem to love doing it.
Recently, Shanna auctioned off a Brutiss masterpiece, using proceeds to help other cats with special needs in Salem, MA. A nonprofit called the Odd Cats Sanctuary ensures kitties like Brutiss can live their best lives too! See the artist in action in the video from Bru’s Instagram below. Caring for a special needs cat like Brutiss can have its challenges but also incredible rewards.
See Brutiss painting in the video from Instagram below.