Squittens – cats with rare genetic condition that makes them look like squirrels

Trixie the cat, seen lounging in the picture above, is an example of what owners lovingly refer to as squittens — cats with feline radial hypoplasia.

The rare genetic condition affects the radius, a long bone found in the arm or front leg, and causes it not to develop properly.

Cats with this condition are often called ‘twisty cats’ or squittens because their front legs are shorter than normal, and often twisted, which make them look like squirrels.

It is thought that the condition is linked to polydactylism in cats, where cats are born with one or more extra toes on their paw — an example of a polydactyl cat can be seen in the picture below.

Polydactyl cat lying on a path
A neighborhood cat with extra toes on his paw shaped like a heart. Pic credit: @Friskus/Reddit

Living the good life

Cats like Trixie with feline radial hypoplasia can be restricted in their movement, but it doesn’t restrict their quality of life.

It is not a painful condition, and with a caring compassionate owner, cats like Trixie can get up to just as much mischief as other cats — playing, running, and even climbing in their own way.

Here is Trixie the cat looking for attention from her owner:

And here is another Squitten, called Forrest, playing with a twig:

Taking care of squittens

Radial hypoplasia can make it easier for cats to suffer other kinds of injuries, like abrasions from the ground or injuries from a fall where they could not support themselves with their front legs.

It is important to make sure owners of these unique cats are in regular contact with their vet and to make assessments of their abilities.

Cats with feline radial hypoplasia. Pic credits: @themayhew/Instagram, @hazel037/Reddit, @Forrest the Squitten/Facebook, @thumperflowerrh/Instagram.

For some cats with this condition, living mostly indoors may be the best decision but that doesn’t mean they will have less fun!

Here’s Luther the cat having fun with with his new stairs, which were donated to his owner to help him climb into bed:

Cats with feline radial hypoplasia are often overlooked when it comes to adoption because of their perceived ‘deformity’, but the owners of cats like Trixie, Forrest, and Luther, show that these squittens can be delightful additions to the family.

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