As Calgary’s only no-kill cat-focused rescue and humane society, MEOW Foundation is very familiar with specially-abled pets. That’s why we’re so excited to celebrate National Specially-Abled Pets Day!
As a no-kill foundation, MEOW does not euthanize any cat that has potential for a good quality of life. This includes the many specially-abled cats who come through our doors each year.
What is “Specially-Abled?”
There are lots of things that can make a cat specially-abled and in need of some extra care, including medical conditions, a missing limb or tail or limited sight or hearing. While they may look or act a bit different, these cats make great companions and have the same desire for comfort, safety and love.
MEOW Foundation takes in many cats that other rescues will not, and we wait as long as it takes for a cat to find the right home. It can take quite a while for a cat to find their people, especially for our specially-abled feline friends, but that just adds to the excitement for staff and volunteers when their time finally comes.
Read on for stories of a few specially-abled MEOW cats who are loving life with their adoptive families!
Bill and Tipsi
Cerebellar Hypoplasia is a condition where the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination doesn’t develop properly. This means that cats with CH are unsteady on their feet and can struggle with things like stairs. Long-time volunteer, foster home and MEOW adopter Carol gives an amazing life to Bill and Tipsi, who both have CH.
“I got each of them at four months old, and watching them build their strength and coping skills has been an inspiration. They both enjoy robust health. Bill is 10 pounds of solid, cantankerous muscle, while Tipsi is tiny and is doted on by her “aunties,” MEOW alumni Ceri and Lizzie. Watching the wobblers cavorting around on the grass in our (securely cat fenced!) backyard, or seeing Tipsi stalking around, sparkly ball toy in her mouth, no one could doubt that they’re loving life. They don’t recognize any limitations and just get on with it!”
Carol began her journey with MEOW in large part because of our no-kill mandate. “I have so much respect for their philosophy and for the commitment they make to every cat that comes into their care, no matter how complex their needs. Thank goodness they were lucky enough to come under MEOW’s knowledgeable care and were given the chance to demonstrate their joie de vivre, steely determination to live life on their terms and to gift me with their love.”
Cats with CH can live long and normal lives with regular attentive care. Cats like Bill and Tipsi show that there’s nothing to be afraid of when considering adopting a CH cat. And they just might inspire their owners to look out for other cats like them! Carol says: “Networking with the CH cat community I have learned so much, and have become a passionate advocate for wobbly cats.”
Arnie and Rosa
Many adopters are hesitant to adopt a blind cat because they worry that the cat might get hurt in their home or struggle to get along with other family members. But cats have an amazing ability to settle into their environment; even things like stairs can become a no-brainer for a blind cat with a bit of time and patience! Many also enjoy having a sighted furry companion to assist them as they get used to their new home.
Arnie (MEOW name Sohnar) and Rosa (MEOW name Rhapsodie) were part of a litter of kittens born with eye issues. They were adopted by their foster home. “Both had surgeries while we fostered them in late 2018. Arnie was born completely blind, and Rosa has partial vision in her one eye, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they run, play, investigate and get into trouble.
“When we moved from a one-level apartment to a house, it barely took a day before they were bounding the steps! Our dog Tilly joined the gang last year and Arnie has no problem stealing her bed and reminding her who’s boss. Rosa seems to have a special radar that goes off when I’m on a work call; my students and colleagues have gotten to know her very well while I’ve been teaching remotely!”
Some of you might remember Blue Steel, who was discovered following a suspected abandonment. Luckily, a kind human saw him and contacted MEOW for assistance.
We knew right away that Blue Steel was struggling as he couldn’t bear any weight on his left leg, likely the result of being hit by a car. We swiftly took Blue Steel to the vet and it was decided that it would be best to amputate his leg. Blue Steel quickly got noticed, first online and then through appearing on the local news. We were blown away by the volume of applications for him, and in the end he was adopted by a loving family.
Being a tri-paw’d hasn’t affected Blue Steel one bit. His family says: “The famous and ridiculously good looking Blue Steel has settled into our family nicely. Only having three legs has not slowed him down one bit as he runs everywhere. We learned fast that he loves to drink from a running tap and he patiently waits for us to wake up every morning by the bathroom sink for his morning drink. He is also very talkative; no matter where we are in the house he will find us and announce his arrival.”
Adopting a Specially-Abled Cat
Before bringing a specially-abled cat home, we recommend you take some time to understand the condition and make a plan to help your new feline friend live the best life possible with you.
- Learn about the condition. Knowing what to expect and making a plan to manage your cat’s health will go a long way. If you’re adopting from MEOW, our Adoption Specialists can explain the basics of the condition and what you may encounter, but we also encourage doing your own research.
- Consider your home environment. Not every cat is a fit for every home. Activity level, noise, stairs, other pets and more can all impact whether a specially-abled cat will thrive as part of your family.
- Be financially prepared. Responsible pet ownership means being able to help your cat when they need you. Whether it’s a chronic condition that needs predictable medication or a condition that may flare up intermittently, be sure that you’re financially ready for the vet care that may be required.
Adopt from MEOW Foundation
No matter what kind of cat you’re looking for, our top priority is placing our cats in a home that’s a fit for them, taking into account their personalities and individual needs. Visit the Cat-alogue to see who is looking for their forever family.