Willow was the kitten no one wanted. Born in November 2010 with backwards hind legs, she was the only kitten in her litter that couldn’t find a home.

But when Wendy Matthews came across a Craigslist ad for the kitten in February 2011, she changed the tiny cat’s life.

"My heart was gripped," she told Catster. "I called the people and immediately drove 40 miles one way in a snowstorm to pick her up. She was definitely wanted!" Matthews named the kitten Willow and took her home.

Because of her deformity, walking was difficult and painful for Willow, but her biggest health challenge was the painful sores and wounds that developed from dragging her back legs behind her. Unlike human skin, a cat's skin doesn’t develop callouses.

So Matthews crocheted Willow a pair of leggings to protect the feline’s legs, and the kitty clothing changed Willow’s life. Although walking was still a challenge, her mobility vastly improved when she could drag her legs without damaging them.

Willow’s custom pants were the beginning of Leggings for Life, the nonprofit Matthews started to provide crochet leggings for animals in need.

Since it was founded in 2011, Leggings for Life has helped more than 150 animals worldwide, including dogs and rabbits. About 100 volunteers across the globe crochet much-needed leggings for disabled animals.

"The most rewarding part is seeing animals with disabilities being given a chance," she adds. "So often they are discarded and seen as worthless. Every time I get a picture or a message back from an adopter saying how much they love their new family member, it does my heart good."

To learn more about Willow, check out her Facebook page. You can also watch her walk — complete with stylish leggings — in the Leggings for Life video below.

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Custom leggings help disabled cat walk
Born with backwards hind legs, Willow had trouble getting around until she donned the first 'Leggings for Life.'