According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), of the 6.5 million animals that enter into shelters nationwide every year, 3.2 million of them are cats. 1.5 million of those animals in shelters are euthanized annually. Only about 30% of cat owners acquired their pet from a shelter or humane society. That leaves millions of cats that are subject to living in shelters or possibly being euthanized.
Cats with chronic illnesses like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is very similar in the way its counterpart HIV effects humans, face prolonged stays in shelters without adoption. It is estimated that between 2- 4% of cats worldwide may be FIV positive. Also, physical deformities, such as missing limbs are also contributors to the increased difficulty of finding a special needs cat a home. Animal shelters are already overburdened and special needs cats face even more discrimination than the average cat, so if you are able to help a special needs cat. Below are some tips for caring for a few types of conditions that are common amongst special needs cats.
THREE-LEGGED CATS • Make a step to get onto the bed, sofa, or litter tray for your companion • Be mindful of a healthy diet, as being overweight will put unneeded strain on the rest of your pet’s legs. • If they are an outside cat, make sure they have access to safety nearby
• For a blind cat, their other senses are much more important, so be sure to take extra care to talk and interact with your pet
• Furniture and daily essentials such as food, water and litter trays should be kept in the same position, and made easily accessible.
• Choose toys that squeak and make noise
• Talk to your cat when approaching so you don’t startle them. If your cat has vision in one eye approach from their sighted side.
• Tapping on the floor, or walking heavily, will make the cat aware of your presence through the vibrations. Cats with partial hearing may respond to hand-claps.
• To rouse a sleeping deaf cat, gently touch the area around them, rather than touching the cat, to wake them without startling.
• Deaf cats should either live indoors, or alternatively, a fully enclosed garden, a secure run or a home well away from roads would be needed, as their lack of hearing could leave them vulnerable to danger.
Many special needs cats require just a few adjustments to your routine to make them comfortable and an enjoyable pet. It is a special purrson who will help these loving cats enjoy the rest of their lives.