Georgina Price and her fiancé Christopher Lardner have developed a reputation for adopting cats that no one else wants. It all started with their first rescue cat, a 16-year-old feline named Herbie.
They knew when they adopted Herbie that he didn’t have much life left to live, but they wanted to make the last of it as good as possible – and that’s exactly what they did.
They only had Herbie for a couple months before he passed away, but their hearts were broken nonetheless. Yet when one door closes, another opens – and this time that door opened for Toby and Quinton.
When Georgina felt ready to take on another cat, she wanted to find one that might otherwise struggle to find a good home, living far too many days, if not all of their days, in a shelter.
“I just kept thinking about all the animals that might only have five months left and would spend the whole of that time in a shelter,” Georgina said. “We decided we would look for an extra special cat that might take a little longer to find a home.”
While scrolling through the RSPCA website, Georgina found two kitties that spoke to her – Toby and Quinton.
“They’re a bonded pair, the RSPCA advertised them together. And we thought if we can help two cats rather than one, then that’s the best possible outcome.”
Quinton is a seven-year-old black and white cat who has no teeth and Toby is a six-year-old short-haired feline with very loose skin.
The reason for Toby’s loose skin? Toby has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), also known as Feline Cutaneous Asthenia (FCA).
This congenital condition results in loose, stretchy and fragile skin that is caused by a lack of collagen.
While Georgina and Christopher had never heard of the disease before, they were ready to deal with whatever came with it – and so they set up a time to go visit the feline pair at the RSPCA.
The bonded cats lived in a special unit at the shelter.
“They were both terrified and huddled right at the back. Toby just hid behind Quinton the whole time, trembling.”
Quinton finally allowed Georgina to pet him, but Toby was too scared to accept pets. Regardless, Christopher and Georgina knew in their hearts that they wanted to take the pair home.
They signed the adoption papers that day.
As expected, the furry pair took a while to warm up to their new home.
“They were just so scared and were living under the bed for weeks but food and love eventually got them out,” Georgina shared.
“And now they own the place. They just do whatever they want and act mad when you turn the light on if they’re asleep on the bed or something.”
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Toby’s skin condition isn’t always easy to manage. His skin is incredibly fragile and even simple things like grooming or cat play can lead to injury.
“He seems oblivious to it. His biggest problem is probably us trying to make sure he doesn’t get hurt or cleaning his wounds (he hates that).”
“His skin is just weaker than it should be so he gets lots of tears, especially around his neck and head,” Georgina added.
The couple keeps his nails trimmed short to reduce the risk of injury from scratching. Toby has a “leave me alone, I can take care of myself” attitude, but he still seeks help cleaning himself from his pal Quinton.
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“He seeks Quinton out to help him clean himself so Quinton will lick his face and head, particularly any cuts.”
There are some concerns for the future. Toby’s condition causes his stomach to hang down to his knees. This puts extra weight on his joints which could impact his health long-term.
To help combat future joint issues, Toby’s owners try and limit his jumping up or down from high places.
On the bright side, “We’re very lucky that his condition seems to be mild and we manage it very easily.”
Toby and Quinton are quickly gaining followers – they’ve amassed 30,000 followers on Instagram at the time of writing this.
Georgina hopes that by sharing their story they educate more people about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and bring more attention to all the special needs cats currently in shelters who need a loving home.
“It doesn’t take any more to love them and despite whatever it is that may make them ‘special needs’, they are still beautiful animals with their own amazing personalities, likes, dislikes, and the ability to love you back.”
Toby may require some extra special care, but his owners couldn’t be happier with their decision to adopt him.
He’s just your average cat in so many ways – he watches birds, loves a good bouncy ball, and is quite the snuggler.
“He loves belly rubs and will plop himself next to you and look at you, waiting for you to rub his belly,” Georgina lovingly shares.
Don’t forget to follow Toby and Quinton on Instagram!
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