Simone and Matt Tipton, from Trabuco Canyon, California, knew they were destined to adopt Doc as soon as they saw her.
They first heard about her on the news—a three-month old cat who had lost one of her legs.
“We never watch the news, but just so happened to have it on that day,” Simone recalled to Today.
“This was a huge thing of fate in my opinion.”
The kitten was apparently mangled in a car accident—but made an unlikely recovery, albeit missing one leg.
“They think she was inside the wheel of a car when the car started and didn’t get out on time,” Simone explained. “They said she wasn’t going to make it, and actually had the euthanasia ready, but one of the staff members begged to try to save her.”
Simone and Matt drove out on Christmas Eve to adopt the poor kitten and bring it home as a gift to their children—particularly, their 2-year-old daughter, Scarlette.
Her parents thought Scarlette might form a special bond with the new three-legged pet, and it was for one heartbreaking reason.
Their daughter was missing one arm.
Scarlette was born with an abnormally large arm, which was found to have an aggressive form of cancer. When treatments failed, amputation was the only option.
“She was ten months old when they took her arm, shoulder, scapula, clavicle and all the surrounding skin and tissue,” Simone explained to Today.
But now she’s cancer-free—and she doesn’t let anything hold her back.
“Though our daughter was told she likely wouldn’t be able to crawl, stand or walk, but she figured all of that out herself with the help of a physical therapist,” Simone told ABC News.
“And we saw that exact fighting spirit in the cat.”
Knowing their daughter loved cats, the parents had been looking for the perfect pet. When they saw Doc (who they named after Scarlette’s favorite cartoon character), they knew it was fate.
“We wanted a little kitten to have her grow up with,” Simone told Love Meow.
Their idea paid off. Soon after Doc came home, Scarlette heartbreakingly realized the cat was just like her.
“On the day we met Doc for the first time, Scarlette noticed the staples and drain tube in her side and touched her gently and said, ‘Owies?’” Simone recalled to Today. “I said, ‘Yes, she has owies just like you do.’”
“She placed her hand on her own amputated side and just nodded.”
Their disability may give them a special bond, but it doesn’t define them or hold them back. The two youngsters run around and play like any girl and her pet.
“We brought her home thinking she’d have trouble jumping on the couch and bed, but she’s just jumping around the house like it’s no big deal, climbing around and exploring,” Simone told ABC News.
“Doc is just as adventurous as Scarlette,” she told Today.
“Every day it continues to be a perfect match all over again.”
“We wanted to find a companion for Scarlette, so she could grow up with someone similar to herself — not only so she can see that she’s not the only one, but so she can grow stronger and learn how to cope just like her kitten does.”