It’s a sad truth that when an animal becomes disabled they are sometimes abandoned or even euthanized. However, what some see as a handicap can actually prove to be an asset in the right circumstances. And there are few better examples of this than Jesse the Wonder Cat.
Jesse the Wonder Cat wasn’t always differently abled; it was the result of a tragic injury. Although very little is known for certain about his earliest days, it’s possible that he lived as a stray in Tennessee. Regardless, his way of life soon changed.
Jesse was only six weeks old when he was found on the side of a road. And as a result of an unknown incident, he couldn’t move his rear legs and had been left paralyzed. Fortunately, a kind-hearted stranger came across him and saved his life.
The good Samaritan bundled the tiny ball of fluff up and went looking for help. As it happened, they both found what they were looking for at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. After all, the veterinary team there agreed to take a look at Jesse.
To begin with, the medical staff began exploring ways to restore the feeling in Jesse’s legs. “He had lots of physical therapy, electro-muscle stimulation and acupuncture,” the clinic wrote on its website. But with those avenues exhausted, the staff eventually concluded that their efforts were in vain.
But even though half of Jesse’s body wasn’t responding to treatment, that didn’t necessarily mean that the cat’s prospects were bleak. On the contrary, the staff saw plenty of encouraging signs as they observed Jesse. In fact, the Cat Clinic’s assistant manager Jennifer Allen was pretty optimistic about his future.
“He was happy and he could eat on his own,” Allen told The Dodo. “And he wasn’t in any pain.” In addition, Jesse didn’t seem to have any serious mobility troubles; he just dragged himself around on his fuzzy butt.
At first, the clinic considered putting Jesse up for adoption. By the time he was healthy enough to be allowed to leave, though, the staff couldn’t bear to part with him. And so it was that the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga took on the furriest member of their team.
“They hired me on as Chief Morale Officer,” the clinic wrote on its website on Jesse’s behalf. “I didn’t have any job experience prior to that, but they didn’t even have to train me. I just knew how to put a smile on everyone’s [face].”
Allen, who fell for Jesse’s charms the hardest, couldn’t agree more. “I became really, really bonded and attached,” she later revealed. “But he loves everybody and he makes so many people smile and laugh. It’s such a fun work day because he’s there.”
“He became our little mascot,” Allen added. As it happened, Jesse wasn’t just good for the morale of the Cat Clinic’s staff; he also helped lift the spirits of its patients. With one cat in particular, though, he proved just how good he was at his job.
“A lady called us and said she had a paralyzed kitten whom someone had put in a box and left on her porch,” Allen recalled. The woman in question had never heard of Jesse at the time she made her call. So it was just a happy coincidence that a cat in the same predicament as him was about to be brought in to the clinic Jesse now called home.
“I happened to walk up front with Jesse on my arm right when she walked in,” Allen continued. “She said, ‘Hey, I’m the lady who called and I have a paralyzed cat.’ And I said, ‘So do we.’ She seemed so happy and [excited].”
Under the circumstances, how could the Cat Clinic turn the new kitten down? The staff decided to make him a full-time resident alongside Jesse and called him Willie. Although Willie was also unable to walk, his paralysis turned out to be a result of a birth defect.
But despite their similarities, Silly Willie the Super Scooter didn’t always get on with Jesse the Wonder Cat. At first, Jesse’s attempts to bond were met with resistance by the little kitten. Indeed, Willie would just spit and hiss at his paralyzed puss partner.
Despite his best efforts, though, eventually Willie was unable resist Jesse’s charms. “It took less than a week, but Willie started to warm up to Jesse, and [he] started sitting on Jesse’s bed with him,” Allen recalled. They subsequently became the best of friends.
In fact, Jesse seems to have been something of an inspiration to Willie, who was a different cat when he first arrived at the clinic. According to Allen, he used to be a scared and clingy kitty. But that all changed under Jesse’s influence.
Willie also shares Jesse’s job at the Cat Clinic. Yes, he helps provide morale not just to the staff and feline patients, but also to their upset human families. “Jesse is very compassionate when people here are sad,” Allen reported to The Dodo.
“I’ve seen [Jesse] meowing outside the door of an exam room because he can hear people inside the room that are crying or upset,” Allen added. “Willie [has] the same kind of compassion. [He] will approach people when they come out of the room to make them feel better.”
And despite their difficulties, Jesse and Willie have been given a chance of a good life, and they’re living it to its fullest. “I know they’re probably not going to live to be 15-year-old cats,” Allen explained. “But we want them to be happy and healthy as long as we can keep them that way.”