We’ve all held on to an irrational hatred or fear of something before. Kids often hate vegetables until they grow older. People who have never flown before are often scared of airplanes.
Yet, in each of these cases, the cure for these fears is exposure. Veggies aren’t bad, if you prepare them right. Airplanes are far safer than cars.
Yet you’re not going to know any of that if you don’t try new foods or fly on a plane a few times. In Sam Tochtrop’s case, he hated cats, but then his whole life turned around when a particular furry creature moved in with him.
Sam Tochtrop didn’t like cats but his ex-partner wanted two of them.
In May 2015, Tochtrop’s ex-partner moved house and expressed a desire to own two cats.
“I hated cats. I detested them,” Tochtrop told The Dodo.
Despite this, he wanted to help his ex find his new furry companions, and by coincidence a friend of his had just discovered two kittens in her yard the day before.
“It was entirely fate,” Tochtrop said.
When they collected the kittens, they noticed one of them wasn’t quite normal. Her back legs were constantly drooped down.
“She could kind of get up on four legs but she couldn’t really do anything more than that,” Tochtrop said. “She was born with a deformity in her spine. That’s why she can’t walk.”
They decided to name this cat Scooter because of the way she’d have to scoot to get around.
One cat, named Scooter, had non-functioning back legs. Some said she should be put down but Tochtrop had grown attached to her.
Veterinarians told Tochtrop that taking care of Scooter would be a lot of work and advised that she be put down. Some friends advised the same. Yet Tochtrop wouldn’t listen; he had bonded with the cat.
“I couldn’t in good conscience put down an animal because of a thing that is not their fault,” he said.
When his ex’s work schedule became too hectic to take care of the disabled cat, Tochtrop adopted her at took her to Kansas City, Missouri, where he was starting medical school.
He built structures to accommodate her in his home, like a ramp to his bed and a “Scootbutt Snooze Hut” where she would go to nap and look out the window. He also taped all of his electrical cords to the wall so they wouldn’t get caught in her legs that trail behind her.
Like the vet had warned, taking care of Scooter did prove a bit difficult, but Tochtrop found an easy work-around to help out financially: Instagram.
When Scooter achieved social media stardom, it allowed Tochtrop to keep the cat living a comfortable life.
Holy cow! This amazon wishlist thing is showing me how kind people can be. I checked the P.O. box for the first time today, and we already received these cases of food! Thank you SO much to @foodyogacatz and @jessiebabyfit for the generous donations! We truly appreciate your gifts. Y'all are #ScootButties for life 😁
When Tochtrop opened up an Instagram account for Scooter, it gained over 17,000 followers.
“It just kind of took off,” he said in a video by Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
He convinced some of his followers to pitch in to pay for Scooter’s food, so that he could afford to pay all of the other expenses. Now, Tochtrop and Scooter live together in perfect harmony.
They play lots of fun games like hide and seek.
“She thinks she’s doing a good job at hiding but then you see two stiff legs just poking out,” Tochtrop told The Dodo.
Plus, Tochtrop talks, sings, and assigns weird nicknames to Scooter.
“I call her Scoot, Boot, Skreeb, Skreebo, Tino (that’s short for Scootino’s Pizza Rolls), Honey Bunches of Oats with Extra Scoots,” he said. The full list goes on for quite a while.
While once a cat-hater, this medical student has totally come around on cats—or at least this particular one.
“I do feel there is a small amount of compassion that is required to look at a creature—a person or an animal—and say that it’s deserving of a quality of life,” he said in the university video. “Scooter’s a good test of compassion.”
If Scooter’s the test, then Tochtrop has certainly passed.
How can a cat teach a medical student an important lesson for any future doctor? KCU student doc Sam Tochtrop recently rescued a paralyzed cat and ignored friends who suggested he put the pet to sleep. Today, Scooter the cat is becoming a bit of a social media celeb while teaching Sam the importance of compassion.
Posted by Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences on Sunday, February 12, 2017