By Helen Hartel
Four-month-old Dolly first arrived at the Agoura Hills Animal Shelter at about four to six weeks of age along with her siblings. She was quickly chosen for adoption, scheduled for spaying but then her life took a turn for the worst. Due to an anesthetic reaction, she suffered a cardiac arrest. She became blind, suffered some hearing loss and was returned.
Suspecting neurological complications, a private vet took care of Dolly and, with lots of TLC, she was able to be discharged to a foster “mom.” At her temporary home, she thrived and ate voraciously. She is slowly overcoming her disabilities. Some vision and hearing are returning, and she is able to maneuver to a litter box and a lap.
Dolly is very affectionate and this behavior will probably continue because of her dependence on humans. Cats frequently relate to humans as though we are parents (providing food and comfort) and they are the juveniles. A disabled cat is even more likely to view the owner as the provider and may exaggerate its own role as kitten. The owner of a special needs cat usually makes additional efforts to accommodate a feline disability and the cat modifies its own behavior to suit this relationship. We may not even realize this is happening, but it is a continual process.
A disabled cat still requires some semblance of independence to allow it to fulfill that inner ‘catness’ that we love in our feline friends. Most seem unaware of their disabilities and they do not expect life to make allowances but a helping hand and some adjustments to their lifestyle, and perhaps your own lifestyle, will ensure a disabled cat has a healthy, happy and safe life.
Here are a few simple things that can be done to provide Dolly with a safe living environment.
- Never allow her to go outside.
- Don’t pick her up and move her from room to room. Allow her to follow you until she is accustomed to her environment.
- Don’t move furniture around.
- Provide ramps or stairs to furniture you will want her to be on.
- Teach her how to get down from a higher place such as a bed or chair.
- Always keep her food, water and litter in the same locations.
Dolly has crossed the rainbow bridge and came back again. Will you be her pot of gold?
To adopt Dolly, request A4706227. The Agoura Shelter is at 29525 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Occasionally pets have already been adopted. To check availability, call 818-991-0071 or visit http://animalcare.lacounty.gov.