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The Cats of Quincy House

One of the highlights of our recent trip to Best Friends was a visit with the cats of Quincy House. Quincy House is home to cats with special needs many severe including mobility and neurological issues as well as paralysis. Although I consider myself a seasoned special needs pet advocate, I was not prepared for the beauty and courage of these cats as well as the devotion and compassion of their human caretakers.

Snowflake is one the cats of Quincy House at Best Friends

Our volunteer duties included taking the cats for stroller rides and shorts walks. As we took our first cat (Tiny Tim) outside, his caretakers warned us that he liked to catch lizards. I admit, I briefly questioned how a paralyzed cat would catch a lizard or anything else. Tiny Tim spent the next thirty minutes proving me wrong. No lizards were harmed, but we had several close calls. In many ways, the Quincy House cats are like any other cats: they love to cuddle, play, hunt, explore, and sunbathe. They just do everything with a little extra spunk and a whole lot of heart. Here are just a few of the extraordinary cats of Quincy House.

Shelley is one of the cats of Quincy House at Best Friends

Shelly is a healthy fourteen year old, FIV positive beauty. She arrived at Best Friends in 2012 after being rescued from the streets of New York. Don’t let her grumpy face fool you! This street smart former city girl is an absolute sweetheart who loves visitors.

Eliana is one of the cats of Quincy House at Best Friends

Eliana is a spunky, tortie girl who doesn’t let her paralyzed hindquarters slow her down one bit. With her strong front legs, she climbs to the top of the cat trees and moves with the speed of a panther.

Duke is one of the cats of Quincy House at Best Friends

Duke was living as a stray in Phoenix before arriving at Best Friends. He has Cerebellar Hypoplasia and probably also suffered head trauma during his past life on the streets. He doesn’t get around as much as the other Quincy House cats, but he has a heart of gold and never gives up. Duke can usually be found on a nice blanket right in the center of the lobby ready and waiting to greet all visitors.

Tiny Tim is a resident cat at Quincy House Best Friends

Tiny Tim (otherwise known as Happy Feet) has a spinal deformity that has twisted his lower back so he sits side saddle. Whether he was born with this condition or it was a result of a past injury, is unknown. But don’t be fooled – this kitty is super fast, playful, and a skilled hunter.

Hermes is a resident cat at Quincy House at Best Friends

Hermes was found as a stray kitten with paralyzed back legs. He is a big friendly orange boy who loves sun puddles, laser lights, and walks with volunteers.

Conner is one of the cats of Quincy House Best Friends

Connor has Manx Syndrome, a genetic spinal deformity caused by overbreeding. As a result of her condition, she has her own special way of walking – kind of sideways hop like a rabbit.

Snowflake lives at Quincy House for Cats Best Friends

Snowflake (also in the first picture) is one of the most famous cats at Quincy House. She was found living under a trailer with her two kittens. Her back legs were badly injured after being hit by a car and yet each day, she dragged herself around looking for food to bring back to her kittens. Once rescued and safely at Best Friends, her back legs were amputated. Snowflake now has fans around the world who send her beautiful handmade dresses and blankets.

Aramis lives at Quincy House for cats at Best Friends

And last but not least, our personal favorite, Aramis.  This doe-eyed, handsome kitty was born paralyzed, but he doesn’t seem to notice or care that his back legs don’t work quite like other cats. Aramis loves to explore and go for walks and charmed us almost instantly with his sweet, gentle nature.

The Quincy House cats are spirited, affectionate, and independent and go about their daily feline routines without notice of their limitations.  Spending time with them was both humbling and inspiring and truly changed the way I look at the world. Sadly, most of these amazing cats would have been euthanized in traditional shelters. But against all odds, they survived and now have much to teach us about compassion, kindness, gratitude, and the beauty of celebrating each moment.

Many of the Quincy House cats are available for sponsorship and ALL are up for adoption. You can also send care packages directly to Quincy House at Best Friends. Thanks to all the Quincy House Caretakers especially Kristen, Barbara, and Felicia for making us feel so welcome and taking such amazing care of all of these beauties!

Our visit with the special cats at Quincy House for cats at Best Friends Animal Society


  1. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    July 1, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    We are so grateful that there are kind-hearted peeps who give furries like these incredibly beautiful cats a chance at a happy life. The kitties and their stories are just amazing. We fell in love with Snowflake with that first shot of her.Woos – Ciara and Lightning

  2. Ruth Epstein
    July 1, 2016 / 8:25 pm

    I am always amazed at the wonderful stories and sanctuaries for the animals and this one sounds absolutely fantastic, thank you for sharing

  3. The Menagerie Mom
    July 1, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Oh my goodness, thank you so, so much for sharing this with us. Perhaps it's because I have a hind limb paralyzed kitty myself (Evan!), but I can't even express how much these kitties and their stories of courage touched my heart. I honestly did not know about Quincy House until you brought it to my attention here, but I am so very glad you did. I can see myself visiting there someday, and getting to know these amazing kitties and their amazing caretakers. Thank you again so much for sharing this!

  4. Nichole Burke
    July 1, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    Stunning photos! I am a little jealous of your awesome experience… visiting and volunteering at Best Friends is on my bucket list!

  5. Jean Dion
    July 1, 2016 / 11:37 pm

    Your photos are gorgeous. You really show how wonderful these sweeties are. And that last photo? With the kitty and your daughter walking side by side? Brought a little tear to my eye. I love it that she had such a special connection with what seems to be a very special cat.Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  6. Spencer the Goldendoodle
    July 2, 2016 / 2:15 am

    What a wonderful opportunity and thank you so much for sharing! There's nothing as good as giving back!!!

  7. The Island Cats
    July 2, 2016 / 2:22 am

    Wow, what special kitties the kitties of Quincy House are. Thank you for introducing us to them.'

  8. Three Chatty Cats
    July 2, 2016 / 3:11 am

    I absolutely love this post – thank you so much for sharing it. And Shelly – that face! I think I'm in love. I didn't get to visit Quincy House when I was there, but I'm definitely going to volunteer there next time. I can't wait to go back! I'm thinking a blogger meetup! 🙂

  9. Jeanne Pursell
    July 2, 2016 / 9:15 am

    Your pictures are beautiful and we are so thankful for Quincy House for helping out all of these lovely kitties!!

  10. Mark Muller
    July 2, 2016 / 10:31 am

    it is great that such a wonderful place like Quincy House exists… one look in this wonderful eyes and we feel all the love such a purring friend can give…

  11. Madi and Mom
    July 2, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    My goodness what a loving place. It feels my heart w joy to read about the special care they give each precious lifeHugsMadi and momPS ruby your pretty little girl is getting so tall

  12. Sometimes, Cats Herd You
    July 2, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    It's so heartwarming that there's a special place for cats like these who need extra care. The humans at best friends really are the best for going the extra mile for these special needs kitties.

  13. Brian
    July 2, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Those sweeties are all amazing and it's so nice to see they are getting the care and attention they need and deserve. Beautiful post!

  14. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    July 2, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing the stories of such wonderful cats, cared by such wonderful people.

  15. Yamini MacLean
    July 2, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    Hari OMGorgeous, every one one of them… again you bring warmth to our hearts and leaks in the facial faucets!!! YAM xx

  16. Marg
    July 2, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Oh goodness, what a wonderful post. And such good pictures of the cats. That place is just so wonderful. So glad you got to visit there and see all of the cats. Thanks for telling us about it all.

  17. Unknown
    July 2, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    I volunteer 2 weeks of every year at Best Friends in Kanab. This will be my fourth year. I always chose Quincy House. Thanks for the great pictures of many of my favorite (away from home) kitties. I adopted a little girl from Quincy last November. 28 days until my next visit. My happiest place in the world. My granddaughter comes with me in the summer to participate in their free kids camp while I volunteer. >^..^<

    • Kristen Kolar
      August 11, 2016 / 2:59 am

      I know who this is! This year you adopted a very handsome boy! <3

  18. Murphy
    July 2, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    Best Friends does good work . . . very good work!Your Pals,Murphy & Stanley

  19. Idaho PugRanch
    July 2, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    What a wonderful place – it warms our hearts to know there are such good people hugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  20. Casey
    July 2, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    What sweet babies! Thank you for sharing their special spirit.

  21. Mary @ StaleCheerios
    July 2, 2016 / 5:44 pm

    What wonderful photos! It sounds like you had a great trip to Best Friends. I would love to get to visit them some day!

  22. Leanne Southall
    July 2, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    I have been touched so much by this post, and the personalities of these lovely cats. So special, street smarts and sweeties! Quincy House is an inspiration to those of us in the pet world who can share far and wide what these special needs kitties have to offer the world, just as they are. Thank you for sharing.

  23. McGuffy Ann Morris
    July 2, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    Bless their hearts and those who love them. Beautiful stories of beautiful souls.

  24. Jane H
    July 3, 2016 / 12:53 am

    What wonderful dedication Quincy house has to these special kitties. I truly loved reading about the residents there. How sweet of Rosie to donate her swag ❤

  25. pilch92 15andmeowing
    July 3, 2016 / 2:12 am

    They are all beautiful. I would love to visit there.

  26. Tenacious Little Terrier
    July 3, 2016 / 5:32 am

    What a wonderful trip! I can really see their personalities the way you describe them.

  27. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    July 3, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Tears are streaming down my face … you portray each unique cat so wonderfully, I fell in love with each one and hurt at what they've experienced in this life. I'm so glad B.F. is there to give them the best life given their limitations. I'd heard a few bad things (mostly administrative) about BF, but after seeing your coverage – I can't help forget all that. Thank you for sharing <3

    • Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
      July 3, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      Thank you for replying about your experience. It certainly seems like a wonderful place. I feel bad for ever thinking otherwise … and now I want to visit and volunteer (mainly volunteer).

  28. Marie Symeou
    July 4, 2016 / 8:44 am

    They are all such sweet cats and we're glad there are such kind hearted souls that take care of them. Hugs and purrs to them all xxAthena and Marie

  29. Sadie and Co.
    July 4, 2016 / 9:48 am

    What a fabulous organization. Thank you so much for sharing the stories of these beautiful cats. Hermes look just like my Rooster!

  30. Sweet Purrfections
    July 4, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    What a special organization to provide homes for special needs kitties.

  31. Savannah's Paw Tracks
    July 4, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    Oh my Kristin. What amazing heart these kitties show and such dedicated caretakers. Thank you for sharing your experiences at Best Friends.

  32. Rugby James
    July 4, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I loved this post! My favorite part, I think is just the notion that someone somewhere sometime decided that imperfect kitties still have value in the world. That just twangs my heart, because my own dog, Rugby James has emotional issues that would have seen him euthanized as well. I have learned SO much from my little nutter, and can't imagine that he doesn't have value to the world…just like these beautiful and spunky kitties! Thanks for sharing!!

  33. Bocci
    July 4, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing part of your visit to Best Friends with us. These kitties are indeed special. I love what the above commenter said about having value in the world, and that they each do.

  34. LP
    July 4, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    Kristin this must have been such a wonderful experience for both you and your daughter! One day, I hope the world is filled with so many compassion people, that being compassionate toward any living being in need, won't be particularly laudable. Until then, thank you to all the volunteers who make Best Friends/Quincy House possible and who keep these potentially vulnerable kitties safe and happy.the critters in the cottage xo

  35. DIY Dog Mom
    July 5, 2016 / 2:17 am

    So fantastic advocating for these special kitties. Thank you for sharing!

  36. Kia
    July 5, 2016 / 3:37 am

    What a wonderful experience. What gorgeous photos! I always think cats have the most beautiful eyes 🙂

  37. Katie Kat
    July 5, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Very humbling to see these sweeties loving life to the fullest. Thank you so much for sharing your time with them.

  38. Daily Dog Tag
    July 5, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    I also visited Quincy House when I was at Best Friends, the caregivers are amazing! What a wonderful memory for you and your family.

  39. Cathy Armato
    July 5, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  40. Cathy Armato
    July 5, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  41. Cathy Armato
    July 5, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    Another heartfelt, informative post from you Kristen! You've told their story so beautifully, it's no surprise you won two awards at BlogPaws! It was so good meeting you in person in Phoenix! I look forward to more captivating stories from you!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  42. FiveSibesMom
    July 6, 2016 / 2:14 am

    How wonderful. What beautiful kitties. Thank you for sharing this story about Quincy House that sounds so amazing!

  43. FidoseofReality
    July 6, 2016 / 2:45 am

    Thank you for taking the time to share this experience in words and images with us. Thank goodness for places like BFAS to help pets.

  44. Cathy Keisha
    July 10, 2016 / 2:45 am

    All those cats are gorgeous and precious lives in their own ways. Thank you for celebrating them. Thank you Best Friends for giving them the lives they deserve.

  45. Norm Thompson
    June 15, 2020 / 8:28 am

    My wife, grand daughter and I have a small farm in the mountains of North Georgia. We recently brought home a kitten from my wife’s, parents farm that has paralysis of the hind quarters. The vet weighed her in at 1 lb. By trial and error, my grand daughter has figured out how to make jump suits from socks, lined with a feminine panty liner. With your experience, is there a better method of keeping her clean? The jumpsuit is also to protect the undercarraige from being drug through the floor. Any advice on mobility assistance devices? Any insight and feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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