Extra Love Needed: Meet Matt the Blind Cat

may I ask how old you are? Where did your name come from? How did you come to live with your family? Were you born blind or did you have an accident to cause you to be blind? How long did it take you to learn your new surroundings? Do you live with any other fursiblings? What are your favorite things to do? What advice would you give to other cats like yourself looking for a permanent home? What advise would your humans like to give to those who are worried/concerned/scared about adopting a blind cat? Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your humans would like to share about you? Maybe I borrow pictures of you for the article? I will state they were used with permission. I will also link your facebook page. Thank you for your time.

 

I was rescued in Stephenville, Newfoundland. A lady found me huddled in the snow. She called Port Aux Basques and Area Scaredy Cat Rescue, who then got me to a vet. They thought I was approx. 4 months due to my size, but the vet determined I was roughly 8 weeks old at the time based on my teeth. I had pneumonia as well as upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis etc. My eyes were so infected, they swollen shut. As they healed the vet realized that I had been born with eyes that hadn’t formed properly. My rescuers called me “Matt Murdock” after Daredevil the blind comic book character. After a few months of healing I was adopted by a gentleman in Cornerbrook. Sadly a few month later our house burned down. One of my kitty brothers died. I was then found the next day in the basement of my house soaked and terrified. I had severe smoke inhalation. I then returned to my previous foster home where I spent many months recovering from the trauma of the fire. It took me a long time to recover from that and it broke my foster parents hearts. I had been such a loving fella when I left and returned scared and withdrawn. They then decided I would stay with them forever because it took so long for me to settle in their home again, to send me to yet another would have been hard on me. It doesn’t take me long to map out a room. Usually within one day I have it memorized. I climb the cat trees just like my furry siblings (I have 7 others kitties living in my home), I can navigate just as well up onto the furniture as they do. Sometimes something might be left on the floor like a suitcase, box etc and I just feel it with my whiskers and go around. I spend lots of time on the Victrola greeting people who come visit us. My forever mom and dad run the rescue so we have lots of visitors! Besides lounging I love playing with soft balls…I carry them around in my mouth. MY favorite thing to do is bumming vittles from my humans. My nose is super strong so I can smell all their good food. My advice for other kitties who are blind is just be yourself and let your true self shine. Change may be scary, but when your forever home comes through its the best feeling ever! While the thought of adopting a special needs cat might seem to be a lot to take on, really having Matt has been no different then having any other cat in our home. As long as we’re not moving the furniture around drastically he does quite well. We’ve made small furniture adjustments in the livingroom, and it he mapped it out quite quickly. Feel free to send us anymore questions you may have. Also take whatever pics you need. I’ll be posting more in the next day or so. Thanks so much for sharing Matts story. Hopefully in convinces others to consider adopting a bling kitty. =^.^= Matt, Bob and Kat

Extra Love Needed: Meet Snoopy

 
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Snoopy’s mom for answering the questions. You can follow his journey on his facebook page – Snoopy Whoopie -. Pictures used with permission.
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Snoopy Snoopy was born on August 24th of 2011 at our home . We never knew of his condition maybe until 2 weeks after birth When I saw him I knew he was my special little angel. We kept him and his sister Lady and he also has a brother named shaggy who we gave a home.
How does he normally get around?
Snoopy normally gets around without his wheels due to the stairs and we have outside. Kinda steep and dangerous for him to be on his wheels.
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When did he get his first set of wheels?
Snoopy got his first wheel said maybe around April or May of last year. Snoopy he’s gotten some what used to his wheel. He’s not 100% there but still working process. He practice at least when we try to practice three times a week for 30 minutes or as long as he can handle it. When he gets tired he’ll get of them and rest for good while or for the rest of the day.
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What is his favorite thing to do?
  His favorite things to do is eat and of course play with the cats.
What advise does your mom have for people who want to adopt a dog that is missing a leg (or two?)
My advice to people that want to adopt a special needs pets do it. I think that’s the best thing you can ever do. It just feels right and they need love too. When you do it it makes you view life a whole different way. Just remember just because they are different does not mean there no good. It just means there special little angel that can give you lots of love. Snoopy and his furry family are my everything and it makes me happy that they are happy.

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Extra Love Needed: Meet Scooter

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Scooter’s Mom for letting me bombard her with questions. Please stop by Scooter‘s page and give her mom some love as she is missing her furbaby dearly. Many thanks to Miss Tami for letting me borrow pictures for the article. 


 

 

How did Scooter come into your life? 
Scooter was found on Oct 31, 2014 under a pile of brush. I had heard her softly crying the night before, but could not locate her. I actually thought I was looking for a injured bird.
The next morning I got up and went out I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. 
It had gotten down to the below 30s that night.. I didn’t think it would have survived. 
As I stepped outside and let my dogs out, I hear her crying, this time a bit more loudly. 
I tracked her to the brush pile and asked a neighbor to help me get in to it, as it was on his side of the fence.. I told him, Something is in there crying, as we tore the branches away he spotted her all nestled up against a pile of bagged leaves. Poor little baby. She was shivering. I brought her inside and wrapped her in a warm towel, as well as my sweater. She was so cold.

My daughter and I got into the car and went and bought her supplies, formula, and what not. Thank you to Iowa Pet Foods & Seascapes for all your help! 
We then noticed after we got her home that her back legs weren’t working, she was pulling herself with her front legs.
So off to the vet we went. Turns out she is a very healthy lucky kitten who was a bit dehydrated but otherwise in good health. According to the vet she was born a paraplegic, therefore, that is why we think her mama left her. 
The vet had taken xrays and noticed her joints in her hind legs were all backwards and  her pelvis is extremely small and he predicted that she would not live past  6 months of age due to her organs being crowded. Due to being a paraplegic she has no control over her bodily functions so she does wear a diaper.

Scoot aka Baaby, is now a active and busy 8 month old kitten. She has really no issues at this time, other than she for some reason has begun to chew her foot. We are not sure why she is doing this so we currently keep it covered and that helps her leave it alone.

Is she on a special diet? 

Scoot is on a normal dry cat food. I cant switch her diet up as it gives her really bad diarrhea. She eats “Fromm” Cat food.
Did she have to do any physical therapy or medication?

We did PT with her when she was a baby using water therapy and moving her muscles.. over time her hips and legs began to stiffen more and eventually fused so that they no longer bend. No medication is needed for her condition. She is in no pain.
 
How does she get around?
She gets around on her bum… by scooting…  🙂 Her favorite activity is going down the stairs and meowing for me to come get her as she cant get back up by herself.. but going down is so much fun for her.. 🙂
 
Does she have any fursiblings?
Scooter is the baby of the family.. she has 3 older furbaby dogs.. Rosco who is 12, Carli who is 6 and Zoe who is 3. They love to watch over her and really snuggle with her when its nap time… We also have 3 geckos and 2 fish tanks.
What would you like to tell other cats that need extra love? 
Don’t give up, keep fighting… there is someone out there who loves you, they just may not have found you yet.
Dedication:
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Scooter
Fly free sweetheart, know you will never be forgotten and you will always be loved.

Extra Love Needed: Meet Bounce

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Bounce & her caretaker. 🙂 If you are interested in reading more abut CH Cats, I have included two articles at the bottom of the interview.

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Thank you so much for letting me interview you. 

-My pleasure! I love talking with all my friends, especially if they are snuggling me!


First, where did your name come from?
-At first, the wonderful people at Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary called me “Blip”, which was because I think they just didn’t quite understand me.  I was just a baby, so my words still didn’t quite come out right.  When daddy found me, though, and asked my name, he understood.  He’s had kitties for a loooooong time. (He’s old, you know)
I have the name “Bounce”, though, because I don’t move quite right.  I bounce and flop around some because I have something called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (or CH for short).  It varies in severity with different kitties, but basically the Cerebellum didn’t develop quite right, so it seems like we CH kitties are drunk all the time.  Some of us just walk a little stiff legged, or high step.  Some of us can’t walk at all.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  But I still get around just fine and use the kitty box okay… most of the time.
How did you come to live with your dad?
-Well, my daddy and mommy came to Best Friends Adoption Center looking for a calico, but as soon as daddy saw me, he fell in love and took me up to the counter to adopt me.  I thought that was funny, because he wasn’t supposed to do that. He was supposed to have the really awesome helpers there get me out of the little house and bring me up.
Do you do any therapy to help your balance?
-Not specifically.  Sometimes daddy or someone will give me a treat, and because I can’t really keep my head steady sometimes, it’s hard to pick up.  When that happens, the figured out that if they just put a couple fingers on the back of my head and neck, I’m able to get the treats a lot easier.  I also fall over a lot more when I get excited, so when that happens, they just talk to me or stop me for a second and calm me down.  Mostly, though, I just get to run around and get strong and play how I play.  It’s a little different, but I still have a lot of fun and do just fine.
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Did your dad make any adjustments to your home to make sure you don’t hurt yourself?
-Not really.  A few little things, like making sure I don’t get by the stairs by shutting that door, and moving some of the harder things that I could bonk my head against if I’m trying to run, but otherwise I mostly just flop my sides against the walls and stuff.  They keep a good eye on me though and learned very quickly that even though I can’t jump, I can climb great!  Daddy was so funny, the first few times he saw me figure out how to get OFF of the bed or couch.  I learned to grab on with my hands and sort of flop my butt to the floor then let go.  I know they love me a lot and will always make sure I’m okay, even if I get huffy and grumpy when they try to help me.  I’m a very independent kitty.
Do you have any fur siblings you live with?
-I sure do!  Eden is a very pretty grey kitty, and Ken-Oki and Ryo-Oki are “tuxedo cats”.  Eden took a little while to warm up to me, but she’s a super hero to me.  She’s so graceful and fast and smart!  Now she loves me, and I love her a whole bunch.  The Okis are a lot older, they’re 14 now, almost 15.  Ken-Oki is the more friendly one, and we will hang out together a little bit sometimes.  Ryo is super pretty, but very shy.  She’s really nice, but we don’t interact a whole lot.

What would you or your dad like to tell people about ch?
Hi everyone, James here now.  If I could tell people about CH cats, I would tell everyone that CH is NOT contagious.  CH cats are generally not helpless at all, unless it is very severe.  I would also say that CH cats are just like any other cat, they are just wobbly.  They are lovable, sweet, and although physically not quite as capable they seem to be outlandishly clever.  There are a couple concessions one needs to make with CH cats, such as making sure that they can eat and drink okay, and occasionally giving them a bath, if they fall into the litter box incorrectly.  I’ve found that a Litter Maid litter box works great to fix that last issue though.  CH cats make GREAT lap cats, because they are comfortable laying down and leaning against things for support.  Most importantly though, they just want to be loved and have a forever home with people who care about them, just like every other kitty out there.

What is your favorite thing to do?
-Cuddle!  I love to cuddle!  I also like eating… a LOT!  I use a lot of energy just getting around.  With the way I move, I essentially travel twice as far, sometimes more, to get somewhere.  It’s also made me super strong though.  I even like to go on car rides!  Traveling is super duper fun!

Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself?
-About myself, no.  I just want to reinforce what daddy said about adopting CH kitties.  Don’t walk away from us just because we move a little funny.  We are an adventure unto ourselves, as we don’t know where we are going all the time, and when we play we don’t really have any idea where our toys are going to end up.  We’re just a little different physically, but we are still wonderful, smart, loving cats who want to share your life and your heart.  So please, when looking to adopt a kitty, don’t shun one just because it has a difference.  Just because a kitty might be missing an eye or a leg or is clumsy or deaf, doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have a heart and a lot of love to give you.

What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

Cerebellar Hypoplasia (cer·e·bel·lar hy·po·pla·sia) is a disorder found in cats and dogs which causes jerky movements, tremors, and generally uncoordinated motion, just like ataxic cerebral palsy in humans.  A cat with CH often falls down and has trouble walking or cannot seem to walk at all.  CH in cats is non-progressive, meaning it does not get worse with age.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia occurs when the cerebellum, the part of the brain which controls fine motor skills and coordination, is not completely mature at birth.  Symptoms of CH can usually be seen immediately at birth.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia is most commonly caused by the kitten’s mother contracting the Panleukopenia virus while pregnant. If the mother passes on the virus during the end of pregnancy, the kittens can be born with CH. Kittens with CH are not infected with or carriers of the Panleukopenia virus, it has only stunted their cerebellum’s growth while in the womb. Cerebellar Hypoplasia can also occur if a trauma, including malnutrition, occurs to the kittens while in the womb.

Cats with Cerebellar Hypoplasia are often euthanized, as people misunderstand the condition as being painful and/or contagious.  However, they have a normal life expectancy and are very affectionate, sweet, and loving.  They return the extra care they need with an intense love for and bond with their adoptive families.

The Truth About CH Cats

At this time, many veterinary and rescue professionals are still unaware of CH.  Many CH cats are needlessly euthanized before given a chance at a proper diagnosis and life, making it harder for awareness about the condition to grow.

Cats with CH:

  • Are not in any pain
  • Are not contagious
  • Have a normal life expectancy
  • Live happy, healthy lives
  • Learn to adapt their abilities and compensate over  time
  • Can be spayed/neutered safely
  • Need to be indoor-only & should never be declawed
  • May require no extra care, or a great deal of extra care, depending on their severity
  • Can be more prone to accident-related injuries, like chipped teeth or broken nails

 

Severity Levels of CH Cats

Mild

Cats with mild CH are very capable and require little to no extra care.

Symptoms:

  • Unusual gait (high step or waddle)
  • Occasional balance loss
  • May have subtle head tremors when excited or stressed

Abilities:

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Jump
  • Stairs

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • May prefer a modified litter box with high sides
  • Prefer carpet or rugs, but not a necessity

 

Moderate

Cats with moderate CH can get around on their own, but one end of their body may appear to be doing something else than the other end.

Symptoms:

  • Walk with legs splayed in a wide stance
  • Frequent balance loss, falls
  • Noticeable head tremors, especially when excited or stressed

Abilities:

  • Walk short distances
  • Expert climbers

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • Prefer a modified litter box with high sides to support themselves against; can be messier than non-CH cats
  • Have an easier time balancing on carpet or rugs
  • Raised food & water dishes
  • Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)

Severe

Cats with severe CH cannot walk on their own and require a great deal of special care.

Symptoms:

  • Cannot walk or stand
  • Flip and Flop to get around
  • Constant head tremors

Abilities:

  • Expert climbers

Special Care:

  • Cannot live outdoors
  • May need help using the litter box;  prefer a modified litter box with high sides or pee-pee pads
  • Prefer carpet to help grip and propel themselves forward
  • May need help getting set up at their food dish
  • Modified furniture to protect them from getting hurt when they fall (e.g. adding bumpers)
  • Are ideal candidates for wheelchairs, which can help improve mobility and coordination

7 Things You Should Know About Cerebellar Hypoplasia

1. CH arises because of exposure to a virus or prenatal trauma

If a pregnant cat is exposed to the virus — or the vaccine — for panleukopenia late in her pregnancy, the developing kittens’ brains can be affected. But not every kitten in a panleukopenia-exposed litter will develop CH. The condition can also be caused by prenatal trauma, including malnutrition.

2. Kittens are born with the condition

You may be able to see right away that a kitten has CH because she doesn’t seem to be able to get herself into the right position for anything. If you don’t notice it at birth, you’ll certainly notice something is amiss once the kittens start crawling and walking around.

3. There are different levels of severity

Cats with mild CH have few symptoms. They may have a slightly waddling gait, but they’re quite capable of getting around like other cats. Moderate CH is a bit more challenging for cats because they can’t seem to get their whole body to work together sometimes, and they tend to have a splayed walk. When stressed, they can develop head tremors or have more difficulty getting around. Cats with severe CH need a lot of special care: They typically can’t walk on their own, have almost constant head tremors, and flip and flop to get around.

4. CH is not a progressive condition

A cat’s cerebellar hypoplasia isn’t going to get worse over time. It’s not going to get better, either, but as a cat learns to adapt to the condition it can appear that she’s improving. Physical therapy and hydrotherapy can help a CH cat to adapt to her disability.

 

5. CH is not contagious

There’s no reason to fear bringing a CH cat into your home, because your other cats won’t catch the disease. CH is congenital — kittens are born with it — and don’t acquire it later in life.

6. CH cats can live with non-CH cats

It may take a little while for a non-CH cat to get used to a CH cat’s body language, since CH cats don’t move like ordinary cats, but CH kitties can be integrated into a household just like any other cats.

7. CH cats have a normal life expectancy

Cerebellar hypoplasia is not a life-shortening condition. Although their lack of coordination can increase their risk of injuries, it does not predispose them to any other illnesses.

There’s no reason to be scared of cats with cerebellar hypoplasia. They don’t suffer, they’re not in pain, and they love and purr just as much as ordinary cats.


If you are interested in adopting a ch cat, please visit – http://chcat.org/

This article is a part of the extra love needed theme, for more interviews with pets that need extra love and care, please click on the below badge.

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Meet Patchy the Epileptic Dog

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Patchy’s mom for letting me interview her and him about his story. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit Patchy’s Facebook page to follow his story .

First, where did your name come from Patchy? 
The lady who had me when I was born named me Patchy because of the tan patch around my eye.  When mommy came to pick me up I would look at her when she would say Patchy, so mommy did not want to change my name.
 
How old are you? 
6 years old
 
Do you have any fursiblings that you live with? 
yes Bella she is 5 and I have two non fur babies they are bearded dragons named Maui and Lani.
 
Do they treat you any different because of your condition?  
If anything I am spoiled a lot more 🙂  I am so very loved.
 
How did you come to live with your mommy? 
Mommy picked me up from a lady, her doggy had puppies and I was one of them. 
 
For those that don’t know, what is a shih-poo?
 Shih-poo is a Shih-tzu and Poodle mix
 
When did you have your first seizure?
When I was 2, I was in the hallway and fell over and started to shake.
 
Can your mom explain what happens during a seizure?
Patchy will start to act very scared, hide or act very nervous and normally that is when I know a seizure may be coming on.  Sometimes there is no warning and he just falls over to his side or often he tries to run to me when a seizure is coming.  I have to hold him very tight, make sure his neck is stable because his body thrashes all over.  Patchy limbs become very stiff, he will drool a lot and his eyes will be very dilated.  The seizure will last around 1min to 2mins.  Once the seizure is over he can not walk so I carry him to his puppy pads where he always throws up and loses his bowls.  
Cluster seizures are when he has multiple seizures in a short period of time.  The most he has ever had in a short period were 4.
 
Can she also explain a bit with Idiopathic Epilepsy is?  
Idiopathic Epilepsy is a neurological condition in dogs that normally cause seizures between the age of 6months to 6years. 
 
Are you currently on medication?  
Yes phenobarbital twice a day 
 
Do you have a special diet because of your condition?  
Yes, I have to stay away from artificial preservatives, food fillers, just all of the bad un-natural stuff.
What are your favorite things to do?  
Play with my sis Bella, throw my toys around, snuggle with mommy, bite daddys slippers, car rides and look out the window 🙂
 
 

 

Extra Love Needed: Meet Beanie

May I ask how old you are?

About 5-6 years old. The shelter didn’t have an exact age.

Beanie in his new home

Where did your name come from?

It came from the woman I lived with before my new home. She had to go to a nursing home and her other cats (my mom and dad don’t know how many) were all adopted but me. No one wanted me because I was blind. That made me very sad. Then the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in North Carolina put up a notice about me on Facebook and my new mom saw it and called them immediately. She filled out the application, but was number two on the list. The number one lady lived in Connecticut and she decided it would be a long scary ride for me to take so she let me go to my mom since we were both in Maryland. My new mom said she didn’t want to change my name because she knew that it would be the only thing I’d recognize when she took me to my new home.

Were you born blind or did you become blind over time?

I was born blind.

Were you excited to get your very own forever home?

When I first got to my new home, I was very afraid and I hid under a bed for about two weeks. I’d slink out to eat and use the litter box and quickly run back under the bed. But as I got braver and started coming out more and more I found out that my new family was nice and only wanted to love me and take good care of me. What kitty wouldn’t love that?! And I felt good knowing there was another cat to keep my company when the humans weren’t home.

Meeting Buster his new brofur

Was it scary riding in the car?

It was! I was very quiet and didn’t move even though my new mom spoke to me all the way home. I didn’t recognize any of the sounds and none of the voices. My mom and dad had to come to what they call the Eastern Shore in Maryland to get me from the shelter and take me back across a big bridge to where they live.

How long did it take for you and Buster to get used to each other?

Not too long. My new mom and dad put up a baby gate so that Buster could see me and I could smell him, but I surprised them by jumping over the gate the first day! MOL! I might be blind, but that doesn’t stop me from being a cat! Ever since then, Buster and I have been friends.

Did your mom have to make any adjustments to make sure you could get around easy?

Not really. With my long whiskers and super-power hearing, nothing much gets by me! She was afraid I wouldn’t find my food or the litter box so she kept everything in one room with me. After a few days they started moving everything back to where Buster always had the little box and food and I had no trouble finding either one! Buster and I have a very tall cat tower with three perches and I jump up into the bottom one and Buster uses the middle one. My mom and dad were surprised to come in the door one day and see me lying up in Buster’s! To this day, they don’t know how I got up there! MOL!

Picking out a toy to play with

What are you favorite things to do?

I have a favorite mouse that used to be tethered to a pole, but I wanted it so bad I pulled it off! Now I walk around with it in my mouth and meow very loudly so everyone knows I caught it again! I also love to take it to my mom’s pillow every night as a gift and she’s most appreciative and tells me what a good hunter I am!

My favorite place to be is wherever my mom is. I sleep with her at night and when she’s home, I lay down next to her.

I also love to stalk and chase Buster through the condo! Sometimes he gets upset and bats at me, but that never stops me. It might not be fun for him, but it’s fun for me! (My mom said it’s kitty karma because Buster used to chase Chi-Chi!)

Enjoying some time in the cat tree

Questions for your mom – Is this your first blind cat?

Yes. I read the book, Homer the Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper, and it made me want to have a blind cat myself. I was super excited to go get Beanie once we were approved and I’ve never regretted a second of having him share our lives. I would recommend having a blind cat to anyone.

Are there things that Beanie can’t do?

One thing I don’t allow Beanie to do is to go out on the patio. I will occasionally let Buster out there, but I’m afraid to let Beanie out because we live on the second floor. He might be fine, but I’m afraid he might try jumping up over the railing so I don’t let him go out there. Other than that, I’ve haven’t found much of anything else. No one told him he’s blind and he doesn’t feel limited. One day I was listening to an email a friend sent me that contained the songs of different birds. As I was playing the various songs, Beanie was sitting in front of our patio door and looking up out the window with his head tipped listening for the birds. Even though he’s never seen one, his instincts still kick in! We also feed hummingbirds on our patio and Beanie listens to the hum of their wings when they’re at the feeder.

Also, I travel to New York quite often to visit my family. I used to bring Buster (and Chi-Chi, our other cat who has since gone to the Rainbow Bridge) with me when I went. I won’t bring Beanie because I know he’d be lost and scared there and wouldn’t know where anything is. I know it would also be a frightening ride for him since it’s six hours of driving each way. So we now hire a cat sitter to come in to check on the cats each day when we’re gone.

How long did it take for Beanie to get used to his surroundings?

It was only a couple of weeks. He warmed up to everything quicker than we expected and we were amazed at how well he adapted.

What would you like to say to people who are hesitant on adopting a blind cat?

Don’t hesitate at all! Beanie is such a joy and he’s a truly affectionate cat. I can’t imagine my life now without him and I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to adopt another one.

Relaxing Sundays are the best!

How had Beanie changed your perception of blind cats?

I always thought it would be very limiting to have a blind cat in the home, but I now know that they’re just as easy to take care of as a sighted cat and the joy he brings is unlimited! I now encourage people to adopt blind cats.

Is there anything you or Beanie would like to add?

Beanie would like everyone to know that he and other blind cats will bring you love and happiness like you’ve never known before. And I can’t stress enough how much my life has been enriched since we brought Beanie into our lives and home. If anyone decides to adopt a blind cat, you will never regret it! I will definitely do it again.

Buster & Beanie

 

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Beanie & his mom for letting me interview them both. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit Beanie on his Facebook page – Beanie (The Blind Cat)

 

This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed Theme. Please click on the below page for more articles on pets that need extra love and care.

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Extra Love Needed: Meet Pip

How old are you?

I turned 2 in March

Where did your name come from?

Mom thought I looked like a Pip.

I read you made quite a journey to your forever home, can you tell me about it?

A woman in Nebraska found me amongst a litter of stray kittens. All of my brothers and sisters had average legs; I’m the only special one. But the lady who found us felt she couldn’t care for my special needs, so she reached out to social media. Word spread, and Tenth Life heard about me. Within a day, volunteers had agreed to transport me ALL the way to St. Louis!

Were you scared?

Nah, I’m an outgoing guy who loves an adventure. Plus, I was only 4 weeks old and didn’t know the dangers (and excitement!) that the world held.

How many different vets did you see about your legs?

I started off seeing my favorite vet, Dr. K. She took X-rays of my legs and sent them to specialists all around St. Louis. When they couldn’t decide what to do with me, she enlisted the help of an orthopedic specialist at the University of Missouri. Clearly, I’m special – it took a lot of super-smart people to figure out how awesome I am 😉 They all agreed that I was getting around fine just the way I was born. So I’m on a “wait-and-see approach,” as mom says. So far, so good!

How many fursiblings do you live with?

I have five permanent fur-siblings, and an ever-changing number of foster siblings. Mom always has someone new she’s trying to help!

Does anyone treat you different?

If you think being adored by thousands is being treated different, then yes!

Is there anything you can’t do?

Absolutely not!!! I run, jump, play, and even attack my siblings. Although I do prefer carpeting.

What would you like to say to cats that are like you awaiting their forever homes?

Hang in there, my friends! Though it may take longer than you want, the perfect family for you is out there! They just have to realize how awesome you are. And if a different-looking fellow like me can find a loving home, you can too!

These questions are for your mom: Have you ever had a cat like Pip before?

Pip was Tenth Life’s first kitty with a congenital condition like this. However, after we helped Pip, we had several other kitties with the same or a similar condition to him. Though kitties like Pip may have physical difficulties down the road, they fare well if simple accommodations are made in the home. Soft surfaces are easier for them to handle, and a close eye must be kept on their joints, since those bear the brunt of the cat’s weight. Pip has a very strong callous on his left front elbow (he holds the other front leg up against his body when he walks).

What are some adjustments you had to make for Pip?

We added rugs to our mostly-hardwood-floored home. Other than that, not much. We already provide low-sided litter boxes for our other kitties with special needs, so he assimilated very easily!

Why did you choose not to take the specialists recommendations for Pip?

We actually did take the recommendations of the specialists. The only alternative to letting him live as-is was athrodesing his joints, which presented another whole category of problems; he wouldn’t be able to bend his legs at all and would make him more susceptible to breakage every time he jumped down from somewhere. Our regular vet and the orthopedic specialist agreed that Pip was better off without medical intervention. They did advise that we reevaluate his comfort regularly and make adjustments accordingly. But so far, he shows ZERO signs of discomfort 🙂

What would you like to say to people who are worried that cats that need extra love & attention won’t have a high quality of life?

It may be more work to care for cats with special needs, but the rewards more than make up for the extra efforts. In my 3 decades of experience with cats (over 10 years professionally), I’ve found that the cats who need our love the most seem to appreciate it the most. There’s something very special about one’s bond with a cat who has been through a lot of medical treatment, abuse, or mistreatment. It’s something I can recommend to those who truly love companion animals.

What tips/advice do you have for first time parents of pets that need extra love & care?

Find an amazing vet you trust. Many vets don’t understand cats; do your research. I’ve encountered too many veterinarians who have only a perfunctory knowledge of cat care. Coming to appointments prepared, yet not combative or defensive, can be your greatest asset. Additionally, please BUDGET for pets with special needs. Medical bills add up incredibly quickly, and nothing is more upsetting than being unable to give your pet the care he/she needs when the time comes.

Is there anything you would like to add about Tenth Life Cats?

Tenth Life is my heart and soul; my passion. I want the world to know that cats with special needs are so incredibly deserving of wonderful lives, but they need our help. Additionally, ourcounty needs help when it comes to appreciating cats and their amazing qualities. Tenth Life exists to elevate cats’ status in the public eye and to do everything possible to make life better for felines with and without special needs.

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Pip & his mom for letting me ask questions about Pip. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit his facebook page – Pip the Wonder Kitty.

This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed Theme, click on the badge below for more interviews with pets that need extra love & care.

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Extra Love Needed: Meet Autumn

Miss Autumn

Where did her name come from?

Autumn was named for the month we found her in, it was late October.

How did she spend her 10th birthday?
She spent her 10th birthday swimming, and the kids in the neighborhood sang to her.

How did she find her forever home?
Autumn showed up one cold October night when my fiancee was leaving to work the night shift. She came running over to him with a leash and collar on her. He drove around and tried to find the owner and then she spent a week in the shelter while they tried to find the owner. We were then allowed to adopt her.

Does she have any fursiblings you live with?
She had a best friend named Kobe who passed away December of 2011. She has 3 cat siblings, Garfield, Gizmo and Kiki.

When was she first diagnosed with DM?
She started showing signs of DM in November of 2011, actual diagnosis was march of 2012.
There is no cure for DM. Some of the things people do to slow progression is exercising, swimming, cart. There are different vitamins and supplements people use, fish oil, vitamin e, vitamin c, aminocaproic acid to name a few.

What other information would you like to share about DM?
People should look out for changes in their pets gait, dragging or scraping of nails when they walk. It used to be primarily a disease that affected german shepherds but now the list of breeds affected is quite long.

What are some of Autumn’s favorite things to do? 
Autumn’s favorite thing to do is to swim. She also likes to go for walks and bark at people and eat meatballs and arbys sandwiches.
We would like people to know that despite the devastating diagnosis of DM, you can still live a happy life with caring dedicated family. We started her page to raise awareness for DM, and to inspire others to never give up hope.

Her Story:
Autumn came into our lives when she was about 4 months old. She has been an absolute delight, very sweet and full of life. In November of 2011 she started dragging her back leg, and we found out she had this horrible disease we had never heard of called Degenerative Myelopathy. We were so devastated and very frustrated that the vets didn’t seem to know much about it, and that there
is no cure. Once we accepted that it is what it is, we decided to try and turn it into
i something positive, and we started this page to educate others about Degenerative Myelopathy, and living with a special needs pet. We want to show people that there is still life after a DM diagnosos, and to not give up. This is a horrible disease, but we are not giving up , We consider every day with Autumn a blessing, she inspires us each and every day, she loves life, doesn’t feel sorry for herself, and she makes our day, every day. When we first found out she had this, we were told she would only have 6 months to a year, That was 2 and a half years ago, and she has proven them wrong………one of our favorite quotes to live by is “Where there is great love, there are always miracles”. Since her diagnosis, she has inspired people from all over the world, We hope she will inspire you, and make her way into your hearts ♥

About Degenerative Myelopathy – DM

Overview
Degenerative myelopathy initially affects the back legs and causes muscle weakness and loss, and lack of coordination. These cause a staggering effect that may appear to be arthritis. The dog may drag one or both rear paws when it walks. This dragging can cause the nails of one foot to be worn down. The condition may lead to extensive paralysis of the back legs. As the disease progresses, the animal may display symptoms such as incontinence and has considerable difficulties with both balance and walking. If allowed to progress, the animal will show front limb involvement and extensive muscle atrophy. Eventually cranial nerve or respiratory muscle involvement necessitates euthanasia.
Severity – 5
Degenerative Myelopathy has an extreme degree of severity.

Symptoms
Progression of the disease is generally slow but highly variable. The animal could be crippled within a few months, or may survive up to three years.
Weakness in the hind end
Toe nail wear in the hind feet
Slow reflexes in the hind feet and legs
Trouble getting up
Loss of coordination in the hind legs
Loss of muscle mass in the hind end

Genetic Testing
Genetic Technologies provides a test for Degenerative Myelopathy ORDER A TEST

Breeds Affected
Bernese Mountain Dog
Wheaten Terrier (soft coated)
Boxer
Golden Retriever
Kerry Blue Terrier
Poodle
Welsh Corgi Pembroke
Shetland Sheep Dog
German Shepherd
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Welsh Corgi Cardigan
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Fox Terrier Wire Haired
Great Pyrenees

 Author’s Note: Many thanks to Autumn’s wonderful mom for letting me ask questions and sharing her story. You can visit her on her page – Autumn’s Journey Pictures were used with permission. 

 

This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed theme. Please click on the below badge for more interviews with pets that need extra love & care.

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Extra Love Needed: Misfit the Blind Dog

 

How old are you?

I am almost 2 years old. My birthday is August 23rd. 🙂

Where did your name come from? 

My name came from the idea of me and my page removing the bad connotation that comes along with being a Misfit. A lot of people will look over the “misfits” (animals with special needs, disabilities, diseases, etc.) in a shelter and makes it harder for them to find a forever home. But my moms and I believe that all animals deserve a chance and we are “special, not needy.”

Were you born blind or did your lose your sight? 

I was born blind along with 2 others in my litter, but they didn’t make it.

How did you come to find your forever home? 

One of my moms, Morgan, her sister gave me to her after seeing the other blind pups didn’t make it. The dog mom killed the other blind litter mates and she didn’t want the same thing to happen to me. Morgan ended up dating, and marrying, my other mom, Dana, and now we live as a big happy family.

 

Do you have any fursiblings you live with? 

I do have a kitty brother named Willis. He doesn’t treat me differently, but I don’t really understand what he is so I always try to chase him. Because of that, we are usually in different spots of the house! No injuries have occurred or anything, we just keep to ourselves!

Is there anything you can’t do?

There isn’t much I can’t do and if I’m hesitant, my moms usually help me through it. I had problems with the stairs for a while but with perseverance (and gold fish) I can now run up and down them faster than my moms. We got a new A frame in our dog park and I wasn’t so sure of it at first, but my moms used a tennis ball to help me over it and i did it!!

How do you plan on celebrating your birthday?

We’re gonna go to the dog park and then my moms having at party for me at my house!! We’re gonna have a cookout and my very own birthday cake.

 

What are you favorite things to do?

My favorite things to do are going on a walk, going to the dog park, going for car rides and going swimming! Oh and getting treats of course.

What is your favorite type of weather? 

My favorite weather to walk in is overcast, with low humidity. If it’s too sunny I get too hot too fast and the humidity makes me pant a lot.

Misfit’s mom: Is there anything else you would like to add about Misfit? 

​Although Misfit can’t see he does get around just fine. We could change the layout of a room and he would have it memorized in 20 minutes. It’s almost like he doesn’t forget anything you show him. At the dog park, he uses the sound of the other dog’s tags jingling together and their pa​nting in order to run with them and find them. He was born blind due to a disease that caused his eyes not to form the whole way. He doesn’t have a pupil. He knows a lot of words including dog park, walk, willis, memom, car ride, etc. He will play with any toy at all, whether it squeaks or not, whether or not it has stuffing in it, soft or hard. Misfit was very easy to potty train, he knows the word potty and will go on command. He’s very talkative, always responds to our voices with a whine or bark or sigh. And brings us his toys so he can chew on them in our lap. He’s fond of sitting on people, whether it be on their lap, foot, or back. He has been the best thing to happen to both of us, he’s our son and we love him with all our heart. We also run fundraisers on his facebook page (fb/misfittheblinddog) and so far we have raised approx. $1800 for our dog park (Worthington Off Leash Dog Park) and about $1300 for a dog with a broken jaw that needed and still needs surgery (fb/babymorganthebrokenjawpuppy)


Author’s Note: Many thanks to Misfit & his mom for answering the interview questions. Pictures were used with permission.

 

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Extra Love Needed: Teddy

Where did Teddy’s name come from?

The gentleman feeding the colony first called him Teddy. He resembles a sweetteddy bear so the name stuck. It seems to suit him.
Did it take him long to adjust from being in a colony to being with a foster family?

Teddy wasn’t really part of the colony, but he was sometimes on the fringes. The colony caretaker said he was only seen intermittently at the feeding station and was easily chased off by other cats.

From the moment Teddy was trapped it was obvious he was not feral. I believe he was looking for human help when he went into that trap. I totally support TNR efforts and the whole feral colony concept. Those wonderful caretakers also help us identify  those cats, like Teddy, who clearly need to be with humans.

Teddy’s transition to foster care was very easy. He was affectionate and accepting of care from the time he arrived. One of the first videos I posted shows how grateful he was to be safe again.
With all the list of ailments he had, did it take longer for him to become healthy due to being FIV+? Is he on any medication or a special diet right now?

We have no idea how long Teddy’s been FIV+ but he shows no signs of disease at this time. The vets were aggressive with antibiotics for his acute infections and those all resolved as expected.

I was almost more worried about what appeared to be a recent, first time herpes virus outbreak around Teddy‘s eyes and ears. He receives lysine powder supplements in his wet food each day to support his immune system and it has helped suppress the herpes.

We did recently diagnose a chronic heart condition which will likely worsen over time. Teddy is stable and doesn’t require any medications or special diet. I buy national brand wet and dry food. He’ll have regular vet checkups to monitor his condition.


How many other cats are in the house and what do they think of him?

Well, I won’t give you an actual number, I almost qualify as a crazy cat lady, LOL. Let’s just say there are several and they each have a story of their own. It really is a free roaming little colony within the safe boundaries of the house and screened areas. We do have an occasional hissy fit but overall we live a peaceful existence.

Teddy was sequestered in his own room the first two weeks here. Following that, over the course of a month, he gradually integrated with the household. He did stand his ground a couple of times in the beginning but now everyone’s relaxed and tolerant. Teddy is very comfortable now and has found his place, he‘s been with me almost 12 weeks now.
What advice would you give to those hesitant to foster/adopt an elder cat?

The seniors always tug at my heart. So many have tragic stories and they so deserve a safe place to live out their lives. With good care and comfort they may have many quality years ahead.

Yes, senior cats will have a limited lifespan. It can be difficult to watch as a beloved pet declines in old age but it’s also a joy to provide them with the loving care they need through their final months and days.

I have loved quite a few beloved cats through their very last moments. For me, it is an honor and a privilege to be present for them. I am always deeply moved by the experience.

 

Is there anything else you would like to add about Teddy or his care?

I’m very much enjoying the new friends we’ve been making on Teddy’s Facebook page. He’s become quite popular and we’re both pleased and thankful for all his fans.


 

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Teddy’s mom for letting me bug her with questions and letting me borrow pictures for the article. Please follow him on his page – Transforming Teddy. 

 

This article is a part of the Extra Love Needed theme. Please click on the below badge for more interviews with pets that need extra love & care.

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