Our Special Needs Cats Have Purr-sonality

by Kevin Burton

   June is National Adopt A Cat month in the United States.  It is also knows as Adopt A Shelter Cat Month.

   This is something our family did just before Christmas. Here are some things to think about if you are considering adopting a cat. This is from the National Day Calendar website.

   “National Adopt a Cat Month in June is a time to learn the cat-friendly ways to prepare your home for a new furbaby, how to know which cat is best for you and how to care for your feline friend,” the website reads.

   “Shelters are full of cats and kittens in needs of forever homes. These feline fur babies come with as many personalities as they do colors and coats. They curl into our hearts and will just as quickly remind us they decide who they love.  Whether they were born in the shelter, surrendered or abandoned, 3.4 million find their way to a shelter.”

   We have had six months now to get to know the two cats we adopted.  Six months to learn how to care for them.

   Turns out both cats have special needs. 

   The older cat Gabbie is 13 and is either almost or completely deaf.  So to get her attention we position ourselves in front of her so she can see us.  If she is sitting on my lap but not facing me, I will blow on her head to get her attention. 

   She doesn’t come running when I either shake the cat food bag or open that (preferred) can of Fancy Feast.  So I have to find her and give her a special dinner invitation.

   There is a kind of wave I do, only if she is about to get the good stuff, the Fancy Feast. She has learned what the wave means and never dawdles on her way to the bowl.

   Our younger cat Ronnie has an eating disorder. 

   A friend once told me about a time when he gave a cat extra portions because he was going on vacation.  He noticed however before he could get out the door, that the cat had eaten on the spot, about 80 percent of the food that was meant to last a week.

   The cat showed obvious signs of a stomach ache. I thought that was funny when I heard the story, but I’m not laughing now.

   Ronnie once sniffed a bag of cat food and bit the bag, trying to get at the food.  That was the last time we left, even for a moment, a full bag of food in a place she could reach.

   This is an ongoing issue because cats suffer many of the same health problems from being overweight that humans do.  

   When my wife Jeannette and I go on an extended vacation we will have to have a cat-sitter because given the chance, Ronnie will eat all her food and Gabbie’s food right away.   

   The shelter cat you choose will come with his or her own unique personality. Here’s some more advice from the website:

   “When considering the adoption of a furbaby, take your time. Each shelter animal will touch your heart, so be sure to find a life-long love.”

   “Consider your lifestyle. Will you have time for an active kitten or will an adult cat be more to your pace?”

   “Make multiple visits before making a choice. Sometimes, the purrfect cat will choose you.”

   Oops…we just made the one visit to the shelter, Save The Kitties in Derby. We didn’t have a big selection because we were seeking a cat that someone else had declawed.

   “Spend one-on-one time with the cat so you have some bonding meowments and her true personality comes through,” the website reads.

   “Do other members of your fur family need to be considered? If so, be sure to introduce them to be sure their personalities mesh.”

   “When you bring your new family member home, have a space ready for him to decompress and adjust to his new abode. Don’t be surprised if he hides at first. This is normal cat behavior.”

   Gabbie did hide from us at first, going back behind some boxes under the staircase. It took her about three hours to come out and check out her new surroundings.

   “Visit your local shelter. If you aren’t able to adopt, consider volunteering or making a donation,” the website reads. “Each shelter provides a list of needed items. If you’ve adopted a shelter cat, share a selfie with your furbaby on social media. Use #AdoptACatMonth to follow throughout the month.”

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