Kittie-Paddling Saves Paralyzed Cat

July 22, 2010 | By Kathy Ehrich Dowd | Category: Strange But True | 16 comments
Tags: care & safety, health & wellness, cats, hydrotherapy, strange but true

Story originally published July 2010 on

A NYC feline regains the use of her paw through hydrotherapy.

Cats aren't supposed to like water, but don't tell that to Nazzaning, a 6-year Turkish Van feline who is a fully-functioning kitty once more thanks to thrice-weekly hydrotherapy sessions.

Nazzaning's troubles began last month when owner Florence Rostami believed her beloved kitty, whose name means "Dear One" in Turkish, broke her front paw. Rostami rushed her to the vet, only to discover that Nazzaning's paw wasn't fractured. Worse, an MRI detected swelling on part of her vertebrae, which caused the paw paralysis.

The solution?

A neurologist at the NYC Veterinary Specialists, which was treating Nazzaning suggested an unorthodox treatment — hydrotherapy — balking at the notion that all cats hate H2O.

“I was very happy,” Rostami told the Today show. “Turkish Vans are natural swimmers, and I thought that this might wake up her instinct.”

Wake up her instinct it did, and she became a trailblazer at Water 4 Dogs, which, as the name suggests, had previously been a canine-exclusive aqua rehabilitation center.

“She was definitely nervous about what was going on, and she was vocal and meowing,” said Jean Marie Cooper, the manager at Water 4 Dogs. “At first she was balling up and not moving, but after a few treatments, I think she started feeling better and relaxed.”

Treatment for the now-cooperative kitty is two-fold. First, she walks for 30 minutes on a treadmill submerged in 4 to 5 inches of 92-degree water, with a therapist guiding her to keep her upright and ensure proper paw placement. Once that's done, the fun begins: she kitty-paddles around the 4 1/2-foot pool with slight help from a therapist to strengthen her limbs and provide all-over exercise.

"I only hold her to make sure her ears don't get wet," therapist John Larson told the New York Post.

Rostami now says her kitty is at home and back to her loving, moody, demanding self (she is a typical cat, after all).

Nazzaning is one of the first felines to successfully recuperate thanks to hydrotherapy. And recently, Tonic told you about Oscar, the world's first bionic cat. So what does all this mean?

It's a pretty good time to be a kitty.

To find out more about NYC Veterinary Specialists, visit

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Comments (14)

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5 years ago

this is amazing! i love hearing happy endings!!!

Good Point | Reply ›

Salena S.

Salena S.
5 years ago

I think this story is really good. its amazing how some animals heal from such injuries, even if they were from abusive people.

Good Point | Reply ›

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