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Meredith Holt, Published April 26 2012

Corky the kitten gets partial amputation following surgery to fix twisted legs

CASSELTON, N.D. – Three weeks after surgery to fix his twisted hind legs, part of Corky the kitten’s left leg was removed Thursday afternoon.

“He did absolutely everything he could to save that foot,” Gail Ventzke said of Dr. Dan Burchill, Corky’s surgeon at Casselton Veterinary Service.

Ventzke, of Fargo’s CATS Cradle Shelter, said despite their best efforts, circulation wasn’t returning to his foot and the tissue had started to die.

“When tissue dies, you have to remove it,” she said.

The tabby’s right leg is doing well and his bandages could come off next week, Ventzke said. Burchill thinks Corky might get around better with three legs than he would have with four, she said.

“The way we look at it is he started out with two, and now he’s got three, actually three and a half,” she said.

The news of Corky’s partial amputation reached his fans the night before Ventzke got a call from CNN’s Jeanne Moos, who featured the Internet sensation in her “MOOSt Unusual” segment of Thursday’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

Since his corrective surgery April 5, Corky’s fame has continued to grow.

Both his Facebook page and the shelter’s have over 7,000 likes, and the cat has gotten attention from national and international media outlets.

“I can’t even name them all,” Ventzke said.

“Inside Edition” has contacted the shelter about doing a TV spot, but that’s on hold while Corky recovers from his latest surgery.

Letters, emails, phone calls and donations continue to come in to the shelter. The “Legs for Corky” fund has topped $15,000 – $1,000 poured in on Thursday alone.

Ventzke isn’t sure how much Corky’s multiple surgeries, therapy and hospitalization will cost, but she said whatever’s left will help other cats.

“We have other special-needs cats. Corky’s not the only one that we help,” she said.

There’s something about the once-deformed cat taken in by CATS Cradle that touches his followers. “He has brought so many people together,” Ventzke said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590