Gust post by JaneA Kelley
I never imagined that one strange and spooky cat would be the foundation on which I based my life or how rewarding it would be to provide a home for hard-to-place kitties.
When I was about 13-years-old, my mother took in a cat who was living at a friend’s house and having a very hard time of it. Maddy Gold, as she’d been named, was a beautiful girl with a shiny black coat and a severe anxiety problem. A week after we’d brought her home, Maddy was still hiding under the couch, so I decided I’d try to coax her out. I opened a can of the smelliest cat food I could find and set it at the edge of the sofa. I then sat down on the other side of the room and called to her in a soft and sweet voice.
It took the better part of an hour, but Maddy did get close enough for me to touch her. I reached out and stroked a finger along her head. She jumped back, startled, and I pulled away my hand. Then, seeing that I meant no harm, she curled up in my lap and started purring like crazy. That was the beginning of my life as a sucker for special-needs cats.
Ten years ago, I met Thomas at a small-town animal shelter. He’d found himself there because his person had to go to a nursing
home. He was so closely bonded to his former daddy that he was at death’s door (I’m not exaggerating here) from a severe respiratory infection … and a broken heart.
Once he got physically well enough to leave the shelter, I brought him into my feline family and started working to heal his broken heart. It took a couple of weeks of intense attention, along with homeopathic remedies, to bring him back to life. Now he’s an outgoing and confident cat and the first person to welcome visitors to my home.
A couple of years ago, I adopted a cat with a chronic leg injury and severe fear aggression issues. Kissy was very sweet with people but terrified of other cats. Her constant pain did nothing to alleviate her anxiety, and there were a lot of days when my home was like a “before” scene in Jackson Galaxy’s (www.jacksongalaxy.com) show, My Cat From Hell. I used my own education about cat behavior and the lessons I picked up while watching Galaxy help troubled cats to work with Kissy on an emotional and energetic level as well as a physical one.
About three months after she arrived in my home, Kissy came out of hiding to curl up in my lap on the couch while one of my other cats sat next to me. I cried because I was so happy she finally felt safe. Maddy, Thomas and Kissy are just three of the special-needs cats I’ve worked with. I adopted a diabetic cat and got her into remission with a proper diet. My oldest cat is 18, and I’ve made a number of accommodations for her increasingly limited mobility so she can keep her dignity and enjoy a good quality of life until the end. From now on, I’m only adopting special-needs cats.
There is nothing more rewarding than giving a special-needs cat a home. If you’re an experienced cat parent, please think about
adopting a kitty who has been overlooked due to disability, illness or age. Every single one of these cats deserves to have a place where they can lay their furry heads and know that they are home.
About: JaneA Kelley is the webmaster and chief cat slave of the award-winning cat blog Paws and Effect (http://www.paws-and-effect.com/) and a contributing author at Catster (www.catster.com). When she’s not writing about cats, she’s busy working to ensure that pets can get the medical care they need, volunteering at animal shelters, and playing games that involve storytelling and dice-rolling.
Kissy-living-room.jpg: About three months after I adopted her, Kissy finally felt safe enough to join Thomas, Siouxsie and me in the living room.
Thomas-and-bella: Thomas (left) was a broken-hearted soul when I first met him. When Belladonna (right), a diabetic cat, became part of our family, he welcomed her with open paws.
Siouxsie-and-janea: Siouxsie is 18, and she still enjoys her life thanks to good pain management and accommodations I’ve made to help her keep her dignity as she ages.