It is a sad fact that many cats in shelters have been overlooked simply because they are different. These cats may suffer from physical conditions like blindness, deafness, or loss of a limb. They may have medical issues like heart conditions, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline leukemia virus (FeLV). When shelters become overcrowded or there aren’t enough resources for the cats in their care, it is often cats with special needs that are the first to be euthanized as there will be more room and resources for the ‘more adoptable’ cats.
Deciding to adopt a cat with special needs must be deliberated on carefully because it is not without challenges. In addition to their physical disabilities, these cats often have behavior issues, too. But adopting a special needs cat is a fulfilling experience and it has its just rewards. What’s more honorable than giving a special cat another shot at life?
If you do decide to open your home to a cat with special needs, you need to prepare everything before the arrival of the newest addition to your household. Adequate preparation is needed to create a safe and friendly environment for your adopted cat’s special needs. There are also important questions that you should ask yourself to make sure that you, your family, and your home are all ready to take care of a cat with special needs.
Are you ready to take care of a cat with special needs?
Can you commit a significant portion of your time every single day to take care of a special needs cat? Before you adopt the cat, you should know what type of commitment the cat will require so you can determine if you can meet it 100%.
Can you create a safe home for a cat with special needs? Depending on the cat’s special needs, there may be a need to make significant changes in your home environment to suit his needs.
Changing your Lifestyle
Does your lifestyle have a room for a special needs cat? If you have small kids around, a special needs cat may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. If you are out of the house during the daytime or you travel a lot, your lifestyle may not be compatible with having a cat with special needs.
Do you have a reliable form of transportation? Your special needs cat may need frequent visits to the veterinarian or there is a possibility that they will need frequent emergency care. Having a reliable form of transportation will enable you to bring a sick cat to the vet clinic even at dawn on a holiday.
Do your finances allow a budget for a special needs cat? A cat with special needs may require on-going medical attention, maintenance medications, frequent emergency treatments, or medical equipment. Before deciding to adopt a cat with special needs, you should be sure that you are financially capable of providing everything that your special pet needs to live a happy and comfortable life.
Preparing your home for a special needs cat
Cats, even those with special needs, can be exceptionally good at adapting to new situations. Adequate preparation can help make your home a haven for your special needs cat. This is also important to make the transition as easy and as stress-free as possible.
Prepare a room where your cat will stay during the transition period. It should be his sanctuary while he adjusts to his new environment. The room must be secure and cat proofed. All cat essentials, like food and water bowls, bed or bedding, cat toys, and litter box, should be placed inside.
“Where should I put the litter box?”
The litter box must be placed far from where the cat will eat, drink, sleep, and play. There should also be a place where your kitty can hide or retreat to whenever he feels nervous and afraid. It is quite common for cats to feel this way during their first few days in their new home.
Do spend time with your new cat. Frequent interactions can help gain his trust as well as strengthen your bonds.