Friday, May 3, 2013

National Disabled Pets Day - May 3rd

So apparently May is National Pet Month, with May 3rd being National Disabled Pets Day.  Having owned a "disabled" pet myself (or two) and having fostered a few over the years, this is one of those "national" things I can really get behind.. (Like National Adopt a Cat Month in June)

"Disabled" pets are any pets that are not standard.  A kitty who is deaf, blind, missing a limb, FIV+, FeLV+ are all considered "disabled" even those people who own such pets will tell you that these animals do not know they are disabled.

Some pets need more than your average pet.. diabetics, paraplegic, kitties with "CH" (aka cerebellar hypoplasia) or thyroid conditions, asthma, but even still often the care, which needs to be done regularly is very manageable.. just a few minutes per day.

I myself have owned a kitty who became diabetic. While I would NEVER wish a person's cat to be diabetic, but I have to tell you that her disease brought us so much closer together.  Spending a few minutes each morning and evening loving on her, testing her blood sugar levels and injecting her, took no more time than I would have normally given her, now it just needed to be on a schedule. When ever I meet someone who has a kitty who was just diagnosed I tell them that while the learning curve is very steep it is really short and in no time at all they will be amazed that they were ever scared or bothered by it, and they will find it is a blessing because of how strong of a bond they will form with their kitty.

I also adopted Fleurp who has that scar on her eye that inhibits her sight.  Is she disabled? I wouldn't think she is, but I am sure the lack of site and the depth perception issues she had as a kitten would have put some people off.

While I understand the desire to adopt able bodied kitty, it doesn't take a "special person" to adopt a "special pet".  All it takes is someone who is open to love and who is willing to learn... and who is ready to start one of the most amazing relationships with a pet they will have..

but don't just take my word for it..

Cat Graney said:
I had a white, blue-eyed Maine Coon who was deaf. Boo was a challenge as adopted him as a senior and it took a while for us to adjust to each other. What made things interesting is that I've always used verbal commands with my cats. However, I learned very quickly to use hand signals with him and he picked those up very quickly. After a while the only way we remembered that he was deaf was when he would talk as he was quite loud.

Rene said:
As you know, our Benny has eye problems. He has almost no sight in his right eye and partial sight in his left. His right eye also has glaucoma, requiring two types of eye drops daily. He sees an animal opthamologist every six months.

Day to day, we often forget about his limited sight. There are times we try to play with him or come up on his blind side and we catch him off guard. He also has issues with the water bowl at times (we guess depth perception) and will always stick his paw in to check the water.

The most challenging thing with him isn't his health, but finding a cat sitter who will give him all medications as directed. We had used bonded/insured companies and later found out they weren't giving him his medication! Twice this happened with different companies--frustrating because not once did they call or email us to alert us of this problem. So something to consider if you have a disabled animal. [We now have our friend Susan care for them when we do leave home.]

Jeanne reminded us of her foster kitten Bourbon:
Well, da Bourb was a foster here and had no knee caps in either back leg. Honestly, other than walking a little funny and warning his adopters of potential early arthritis, he got around great. I think people were afraid of the "what might happen" but his new mom and dad had a special needs kitty before Bourb and moved the furniture and laid down rugs to make it easier for him to get around - and said that THEY would make changes to how they lived to make sure that Bourbon and his brother Goose were comfortable.

JaneA Kelley recently adopted a diabetic cat:
I adopted a diabetic cat, Bella, from HART of Maine , a no-kill, volunteer-run cat shelter. One of the shelter's long-time volunteers spent an hour with me teaching me about testing blood glucose, giving insulin, diet and so on.

I think a lot of people are intimidated by taking care of a diabetic cat. The diagnosis and the fact that your lifestyle is going to have to change is a lot to deal with all at once. But once you get over the initial "overwhelm," it's really a lot easier than you might have thought. There's a lot of support out there: mine has come from HART, Diabetic Cats in Need,, and, of course, my awesome vet.

Why did I do it? Because I'm confident in my ability to take care of special-needs cats, because I believe ever cat deserves a loving forever home ... and because I totally fell in love with Bella the minute I laid eyes on her!

Tom Demerly wrote in a article:
MiMi doesn’t know or care that Mia and I have two eyes and she has one. She simply uses her one eye for everything, moves her head a little more to compensate for only having one, without even realizing it. She can do anything Mia and I can do, and she is the most loving and kind cat. To her, having one eye is just the way it is. It is neither good nor bad.

Lisa said:
I would tell anyone not to let the disability of being blind prevent them from adopting the kitty. I wouldn't trade Lenny for the world. He learned his surroundings and has never had cat box issues. His hearing is unbelievable. That is how he finds his toys and me. He is a clown and I love watching him. I would say go for it. He is the best.

Roberta emailed me:
In 2011, I adopted a tripod kitty I named Romeow from my vet. He was a stray and was brought to my vet by some kind people when his leg was badly injured and it couldn't be saved. He was the sweetest kitty and he could run like a 4-legged cat. He never knew he was handicapped. I had him for only 3 months when he was diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer and I lost him 3 months later. I have no regrets adopting him and loved him with all my heart. The hardest part was losing him but I will never forget this sweet boy. I would encourage others to adopt a kitty with challenges because they give us so much back.
(oh Roberta, I am so sorry that Romeow had to leave you so quickly!!)

I have a few more testimonials coming, and I will update this post when they show up.

Odilia thanks you for reading this post..


  1. Some of my favorite kitties on the internet are different from normal. (I refuse to use the term "disabled" - that is SUCH a human phrase!) Anakin, the handsome two-legged kitty, Dot over at Tabby's Place, who has spina bifida... and Odilia is adorable! I wish I knew about this day beforehand because I'm totally unprepared to blog about it!

  2. Anonymous2:00 AM

    Your last line (the thanks from Odilia) really opened the floodgates. You are so compassionate, Connie. Nice testimonials, and I totally agree, as my old cat was blind for his last couple years. I didn't even know it for probably a few months, he was so incredible.

    Odilia is precious. You are going to keep her, aren't you?

  3. Absolutely FABULOUS POST!!! Sharing this!

  4. May I chime in? Years ago, I adopted two "unadoptable" kittens who had congenital heart disease and required twice-daily meds and cardiologist visits. Those cats were a joy to me while they were here. I currently have a cat who has immune system problems and needs daily medication, as well as another cat with a bum eye, and a third cat with behavioral issues. Yep, it's quite the household! They are truly the lights of my life. Cats who are "different" make the absolute best pets. They give back so much more than they take.

  5. That Odilia is a cutie!!! You mentioned about Fleurp which reminded me about Mozart's corneal scar. Honestly, I don't even think about it. It developed from a NASTY eye infection when he was a tiny foster. I think it does impair some of his sight, but it doesn't bother him. But it is one of the reasons I "failed" as a foster with him. When he finally was healthy and went back to the shelter, he was a 5 month old black cat with a scar on one eye and a note from the vet that he could possibly lose the eye. He is now 6 and the eye is fine, but I was afraid that he would sit there forever or would be adopted by someone who felt sorry for him. And so back he came.... never to leave again. :)

  6. This is a very well written post! I just want to give little Odilia a cuddle. She's so adorable!

  7. Wonderful post! I hope you will consider adding to it as you hear form more owners of "disabled" pets.

  8. Haven't posted in a LONG while...but I just think Odilia is adorable and I do not know how you will be able to give her back to the shelter!! :)
    Much Love,
    Mamam Mindy of The Slimmer Pugs & Purrs

  9. Odilia is a doll. I love her. It was great reading about others who have loved cats with disabilities. They are purrfect in our eyes.


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