Special Needs Kitties & How To PROPERLY Care For Them
Just like humans, some kitties can have special needs - be it that they need daily medication, diapers, a wheel chair, etc. There are kitties who are blind, deaf, have missing limbs, etc. at birth, or by circumstance. Sometimes, accidents happen and it can forever change them. Truthfully, cats that have special needs often make even more wonderful companions. You learn what it's like to truly care for another being other than yourself and you devote your time to making sure they're living their best lives. However, even though they make great companions, caring for them can be challenging sometimes - your life will forever be changed.
One very important thing to consider when adopting a special needs kitty is: MAKE SURE YOU'RE PROPERLY EQUIPPED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT THEY NEED AND HAVE TIME FOR THEM. Life is hard enough for them without having to worry about their keepers being ill-equipped on how to care for them properly. So please, before you consider it, make sure you know what to expect.
So, you're informed on what your kitties might need to thrive and live their best lives...now what? Well, there are a few other things to make sure that they're very comfortable at home and their surroundings.
TRY TO KEEP THEM INDOORS. There are quite a few risks when you have outdoor kitties, even more so when they have disabilities - especially if they have health issues. Keeping them indoors makes sure that they're protected, warm, and safe. If they truly need to be outside, make sure you keep a very close eye on them. They're like children, curious about everything, and can get into mischief even when they don't know what they're doing.
KEEP THEIR LITTER BOX CLEAN. I mean, it should be a given that your kitties' litter box must be cleaned out daily, and litter changed often. Sometimes, special needs kitties might need more than just one box in a certain spot in your home. Those kitties who have mobility issues probably need special boxes, and you have to make sure that they're always clean. Last thing you need is an infection.
GET THEM USED TO A ROUTINE. It's important, especially if your kitty needs medication daily, that you get them used to a daily routine. Kitties, no matter if they have special needs or not, usually feel more at ease, less stressed, and safer when they have a daily routine - some things may change, but a constant in their daily lives is important for their health. This is also very important if they are visually impaired or deaf. Getting your special needs kitties used to a routine can also act as a bonding experience for the fur babies and their fur-ever people. It gets them excited for food time, play time, cuddle time, etc.
BABY-PROOFING ISN'T ONLY FOR BABIES. Though cats are usually very agile and aware of their spaces, accidents happen. If you have a visually impaired kitty, it is usually a good idea to cover sharp corners with some type of cushioning. Wayward wires can also be harmful if you have a special needs kitty that's mobility-impaired - also, we can probably trip on wires that aren't covered or managed properly.
EXERCISE IS KEY. All cats need stimulation. Special needs kitties might need a bit more stimulation than your regular healthy kitty. Exercise is important to keep your kitty moving. Sometimes, disabilities, especially accidents that cause your kitty to become a special needs kitty, can make your kitty a bit sad/depressed. It's important to keep them moving to keep them healthy. If you have a kitty who isn't as mobile, you might want to have carpets on areas they travel in to help them grip onto it. Play time keeps kitties stimulated mentally and physically, and you'd need to make sure that the way you play with your kitty suits their needs.
TRAINING. Training not only helps your kitties navigate the world better, but it can also help you care for them. There's quite a few things you can use to train your kitties, there's a method called "clicker training", it's helpful to those kitties who are visually impaired or even have mobility issues. With deaf kitties, you want to train them with visual methods or vibrations - like tapping your foot on the ground to make sure they feel it. You can also train your mobility-impaired kitties by placing treats on a bit higher elevations, like on the steps - if they can make it.
HEALTHY DIET. This is very important. Sometimes, your special needs kitty might have some immunity issues. It's very important to give them foods that are healthy for them. Free of fillers or any harmful ingredients. To see what types of foods you can give them, you can give one of our blog posts a read: FOOOOOD! Anything is good......RIGHT?!
PROPER EQUIPMENT. Obviously, you'd need to invest or come up with a way to accommodate your kitty with whatever they might need. For example, if you have a kitty who can't use their hind legs, you can purchase a pre-made wheelchair or you can fashion one yourself! There are even things you can purchase or make yourself for kitties who are visually impaired. For ideas for wheelchairs see: 10 DIY Cat Wheelchair Ideas For Disabled Cats.
LOVE. I feel like LOVE is one of the key things all kitties need. Special needs kitty need LOTS of it. I mean, you have to love your kitty if you're even thinking of fostering or adopting a special needs kitty. Without love, they won't flourish.
Like I mentioned before, educating yourself in how to properly care for your special needs kitty is important. If they need daily medications, make sure you know how to properly administer them so you don't hurt them or yourself.
Having a special needs kitty often means you have to make sure you have proper equipment for them to make navigating life easier for them.
Having proper equipment won't just make life easier for them, but also for you, their caretakers. It's very fulfilling to take care of special needs animals, but it can also be challenging. I hope that if you're considering taking on a special needs cat, that you do your research beforehand to give them their best lives.
Well, folks, I hope you learned something today!
As always, be kind to each other, be kind to animals, love your pets!