Alright, guys – you know what day it is! It’s #WobblyWednesday, which means it’s time for me to introduce you to yet another amazing furiend of mine. This cat is guaranteed to knock your socks off and put a smile on your face! She has a very unique special feature and is a fellow spokes-cat for special needs animals. Please allow me to introduce you to…
Age: 1 year and 9 months (birthday – Oct. 1, 2013)
Favorite food: Popcorn – Momma says I am lucky to live in Iowa! And now baby food – any kind!
Favorite activity/toy/game: Chasing any little creepy crawlies! Wrestling with my brother Creamy. Sitting near my human baby Leo.
Special Feature: I was born with deformed back legs. I have no toes or claws on my back legs- except for one big toenail that must be frequently trimmed. I am hard of hearing but that may be due to the fact I am a blue eyed cat. I have a short, solid body and was at my final height at about 6 months. I also have food allergies.
I was discovered in a barn covered in fleas and near death as a tiny baby. I was taken to a local shelter, ironically one that doesn’t even specialize in cats or dogs – just small caged pets. The shelter is very low budget but one of the nice workers took me to her mom’s house to basically see if I would live or not. That nice lady spent so much money on me and gave me top notch care.
My momma Natasha first saw me in the spring in 2013 at an Animal Expo where she was volunteering. The shelter was setting up and momma saw me and was immediately in love with me. I was so sweet and friendly – she didn’t even know I was special needs! My health had improved since I was found and this was the first event I was taken to for possible adoption. And my momma was the first human I saw! It was meant to be!
Wow, that really WAS meant to be! I love stories like that. So… your special feature is your back legs, right? You don’t have toes or claws on your back legs, only one big toenail. Can you tell us a little bit about how that affects your every day life?
I am limited in the speed at which I do things like walking. Momma says I hop like a bunny and waddle like a duck, and it’s true! I am now strong enough I can jump on the couch. I can go up and down the stairs and do several times a day but prefer to stay on the main level. Since I don’t hear very well I like to hang out in areas of the house where I am also in the center of the activity, like the landing of the stairs or in the hallway.
I like to be at the center of activity too. It’s the best place to be! Well, it sounds like you get around pretty well. Do your humans have to do anything to make life easier or more comfortable for you?
My home is 95% carpeted which was an important requirement from the shelter to adopt so I can get traction on the floor. Momma keeps lots of little water and food bowls for me to reach. She buys flat cat beds so I can just walk into them to sleep and keeps them in assorted spots. She also has several step stools so I can get up on the bed. Once I somehow traversed my way into the window sill! Momma still can’t figure that one out!
I have a food allergy so momma cleans my ears and keeps my eyes clean. And oddly even though I have no back toes I do have one big back claw that momma has to trim.
I think that big claw of yours is so interesting! Are there any other ways that you have learned to compensate for your special feature?
Since I stay low to the ground I am very, very alert. I always know where the humans are and my fellow cats. At night I am mostly likely sleeping at the bottom of the stairs because I know everyone is upstairs and I like to keep tabs on everyone! I have also learned to find my way on top of chairs and couches by jumping from one short thing to another.
That sounds like a fun game! Do you ever pretend the floor is made of lava? Because that would make it even more exciting. Okay, I’m digressing. I really need to stay on topic here…
A lot of times we kitties with special features don’t even know that we have them. Do you seem to know that you are “different,” or are you ever emotionally affected by your condition?
My cat siblings have no clue I am different. I constantly wrestle with my brother who is three times my size. He likes to chew and bite but I don’t mind because my special weapon is my teeth. My momma calls me the “Great White Cat” because I just go right in for the bite to defend myself! At first none of the cats liked me but momma knew I would have a special connection with Creamy, who was a foster of hers and is just a year older. We are indeed best buds!
Occasionally I will wake up momma in the middle of the night by my howling. It’s because I can’t hear little sounds and since everyone is asleep I don’t know where they are. Momma has to get out of bed and stand at the top of the stairs so I can see her. Then I am content.
It sounds like you are very bonded with your family. I think that is great. I think you’re great too – and adventurous, charming, and brave. Tell us more about your personality!
I am SO easy going and SO friendly. I am never in a bad mood! Ever! Nothing bothers me and that makes such an impression on people especially when people are excepting something different because I am special needs.
The bond I have with my human baby is what makes me the most special and is something my momma has never seen before. I LOVE him! Every since he was a baby I would sit near him. I never swat at him or bite. Now that he is older he loves me and uncontrollably giggles when he sees me. I sit there and tolerate him petting me. I even groom him! He has a great hairdo after that! Baby Leo’s nickname is “Pearl’s baby”. Momma says “Leo and Pearl” sounds like we are an elderly couple!
A question for Mom Natasha now: My mom says that I have been a huge blessing in her life, and I’m sure you feel the same way about Pearl. Can you share with us about the impact that Pearl has had on your life?
When I first met Pearl at the Expo I was 3 months pregnant. I had an instant connection with Pearl but part of me wondered if I could be a good special needs owner while becoming a mom for the first time. Not only was Pearl so sweet and easy going, she was exceptionally easy to care for. The fact that she has the truly unique bond with my baby from day 1 just melts my heart.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to anyone who is considering adopting a special needs pet?
Special need pets are awesome because they don’t know life any other way, and it’s inspiring and amazing to watch. My advice would be – know what you are getting into. Even though Pearl was healthy when I got her I know she has come very close to dying multiple times. I was willing to give her a great life even if it was short. Special needs kitties can also be very expensive so be willing to commit to that.
Anything else that you would like to add?
My momma isn’t a huge social media person but loves Instagram and meeting other special needs kitties. She created a hastag – #pawdrama where special need kitties can post their photos and stories. There are over 100 postings!!! Hopefully other kitties will share their stories. She loves learning not only about the kitties but also the special humans that own them!
If you’d like to see more of Pearl and her family, be sure to follow her on Instagram!