Rocky, the aquatic cat from the UK, took to water much better than expected when his human, Graham Allen, first took him to a hydrotherapy center. Now, the cat has taken like a duck to water, swimming the length of a special pool usually used by doggie paddlers.
Although people don’t associate cats with swimming most of the time, Rocky, age two, is an exception. As we’ve shared before, some cats do love the water. After a gradual introduction, Rocky now gladly swims the length of the pool.
Hydrotherapy for a Degenerative Condition
Last August, Rocky’s human, Graham Allen, 55, noticed the cat was having problems with his rear legs. According to the Daily Echo, Rocky’s hind legs were low to the ground, and one stood out at an angle. After a vet check, they diagnosed a degenerative condition called polyneuropathy, causing his body to attack the nerves and muscles.
Following diagnosis, the veterinarians recommended hydrotherapy. At first, Allen was, as one might expect, taken aback.
“My first thoughts were that cats and water don’t mix and that he would go absolutely nuts,” Graham said.
At 4 Paws Hydrotherapy Centre in Ringwood, Hampshire, experts offer canine and feline rehabilitation with a heated pool and aquatic treadmill. There, the qualified hydrotherapists and veterinary physiotherapists took time to help Rocky adjust slowly. First, the cat started by walking on a submerged treadmill. Right away, he showed little fear, and so he moved up to the main pool.
“He is a very cool cat anyway and doesn’t seem to have any fear an that really helped,” said Graham.
Before long, Rocky had completed seven sessions and began swimming the length of the pool. Now, he actively seeks the water on his own, enjoying himself. As he swims, he wears a life vest, and the therapists use a toy to encourage him.
Rocky is Stronger with Swimming
Not only does this cat enjoy hydrotherapy, but his legs are gaining strength too, gaining muscle mass despite his long-term health condition. Now, everyone is seeing positive results and expects that he will continue to benefit from swimming sessions well into the future.
Fortunately, the cat’s pet insurance covers a portion of the cost, at £40 (about $53) a visit.
“Rocky has taken to swimming really well and is fine with it. He even has a shower and a shampoo afterwards before going home,” said Natasha Roberts, director and manager at 4 Paws Hydrotherapy.
In February, 4 Paws Hydrotherapy Centre shared a video of Rocky in action on Facebook.
“Meet Rocky! Rocky has been having treatment with us for the past month following being diagnosed with polyneuropathy. Prior to starting treatment, he had lost a lot of muscle strength and coordination in his hind limbs, meaning he struggled doing normal day-day tasks like jumping on and off furniture and being able to groom himself properly,” they stated.
“After only 4 sessions, he is becoming stronger on his hind limbs and is using them more to play with his toys at home. He has taken to the pool really well and enjoys swimming towards his Santa toy!”
Before Rocky, another black kitty benefited from hydrotherapy at the center, as shared on Facebook. (see below)
Images: Daily Echo and Facebook/4 Paws Hydrotherapy Centre Ringwood