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Inseparable . . . Tazy, the kitten, bonds with his new owner Frans Duplessis (11) after enduring a rough start in life. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Tazy, the kitten, and his proud new owner, Frans Duplessis share one of the strongest bonds to ever walk out of the Alexandra SPCA.

Like many people who visit the SPCA, an instant bond developed between Tazy and Frans (11) when they first met about six weeks ago.

However, it was the events that followed that has made their connection extra special.

At the time of his initial visit to the SPCA, Frans was in the final stages of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which he had endured for the past three and a-half years.

He previously had a cat, called Billy, but he died three months before Frans’ diagnosis.

A low immunity meant Frans could not be around animals during his treatment, so getting another cat had been out of the question. Until now.

Frans had his final dose of chemotherapy last weekend, which meant he could have contact with pets again.

With that in mind, Frans chose Tazy, now nine weeks old, and had him put aside for when he completed his treatment.

Meanwhile, a severe case of panleukopenia hit Tazy and his seven siblings.

The condition is a highly contagious viral disease of cats, caused by the feline parvovirus.

Four in the litter died, but Tazy, the runt, survived.

Alexandra SPCA centre manager Shirlene Steel said the litter, which had been found as strays in Alexandra, were just four weeks old when they were diagnosed.

“It was a bit hit-and-miss. The law of averages meant they are compromised at that age.”

Ms Steel believed Tazy, being the runt, would have been the first to die.

down with it, I thought .. there’s no way you will fight this.”

But he did, and is now settling into Omakau life well, Frans’ mum Nadia Duplessis said.

“We didn’t grab this kitty just by chance,” she said, of the overall challenges the family and kitten have endured.

As for Tazy’s name – it was an extension of Taz, his name at the SPCA, which Ms Steel had affectionately called him – an abbreviation of Tasmanian Devil.

“I want to name him by his personality,” Frans said, before settling on the name when he got home.