Few words frighten potential adopters as much as “special needs.” Even pets deemed aggressive tap in to an adopter’s sense of redemption, whereas “special needs” tends to equal “lots and lots of extra work” in people’s minds. The truth is that, yes, special needs pets require some unique adjustments, but these adjustments can be integrated into daily life and soon become the new normal. One of the great benefits of adopting a special needs pet from a shelter or rescue is that the staff and volunteers have worked with the animals and have a very good idea about their dispositions and what they will need to be successful in a forever home.
Humane Society of Rome currently has several special needs pet available for adoption. Usually, their descriptions are included in the slide show, but today they are part of the article, to give them fair coverage. All of these cats are well socialized, and only one does not like other cats. All use the litter box appropriately. Please read on to learn about these cats (and one very special dog) and then take a look at them in the slide show.
- Willow is a 10 month old, spayed female, gray cat. She is outgoing and social, and she loves to get attention. Willow was born with a deformed paw and leg…she doesn’t put much weight on her left front paw and she walks with a limp, but she can still run, jump and play. The vet says she’s not in pain, but she will need to stay slim to not put too much strain on her legs. She got along well with the cats that resided in her foster home, including her own kittens (yes, it is all too possible for a 10-month old cat to have a litter of kittens). She had some trouble getting traction on smooth floors, and would skid all over the place when she got going, but she took it in stride. Even though she is still practically a baby herself, she was well behaved in her foster home. Bottom line: Make sure Willow does not get fat, and she will have a long, pain-free life ahead of her.
- Dippy is a 2 year old, neutered male, gray tiger Bengal mix cat. He is laid back & friendly and mellow around other cats and dogs. Dippy is also a pet therapy cat and visits residents of nursing homes and residences for people with developmental disabilities. He has cystitis, so he must eat a special food (Royal Canin SO) and take a daily Cosequin supplement to keep him healthy. Dippy has used his litter box consistently since he came to the shelter. When he arrived his poor bladder was hard and he was having a tough time passing urine. The veterinarian put him on Clavamox and started him on Cosequin & the Royal Canin food. He has not had any issues since July 2010 when he came in, but cystitis is a condition that definitely needs to be watched. Dippy needs scoopable litter so that his parents can make sure that he is still passing urine. The good news is that he is a champ about taking a pilled…every morning he comes to the front of his cage & opens his mouth for it! Bottom line: Dippy is a good-natured guy with an unfortunate problem. Stay attuned to his…ahem…output and keep him on a good diet and you can avoid many problems.
- Denton is a 6-7 year old, neutered male, orange tiger kitty. He is loving, snuggly and affectionate. Denton has a big snaggle tooth sprouting from his bottom lip – it makes him look like a crazy sabre tooth tiger! He can still eat, and it does not seem to cause him any discomfort. Denton was in a foster home with other cats and did well with them. Bottom line: Seriously? A snaggle tooth? He may not look like every other cat on the block, but how awesome would it be to have the sabre tooth tiger in the neighborhood?
- Eva is a 3-4 year old, spayed female, white kitty. She is playful, flirtatious and talkative. Eva has some scarring on one of her eyes…she has partial vision in that eye, but she can see just fine out of the other eye. Eva would be perfect as the only pet in the home, as she reserves all of her love for people rather than other pets. Bottom line: Eva might not be able to qualify for a driver’s license, but Toonces really should not have had one, either. Who can blame her for wanting all of the attention in a home? She’s a pretty girl and is used to being the center of attention. As we learned from Homer, even completely blind cats can do very well, thank you very much.
- And our very special guest here in the world of cats is Ford. Ford is a 1 1/2 year old, neutered male, brindle and white boxer/pit mix. He is friendly and affectionate, and he is good with cats and small dogs. Ford is completely blind, so he needs an owner with a lot of time and patience to help him learn the layout of a new home and help him develop confidence. (He has bumped into a lot of things in his short life, so he is very timid about going for walks or exploring his surroundings.) Ford will need a person who is experienced with dogs. He was relegated to a tiny pen in a trailer park for his whole life, with no attempt to housebreak him or teach him confidence. The person who turned him in let him get into the habit of grabbing her pant leg and following her around. Blind dogs can be taught how to get by and have manners, but they need people to teach them how. Bottom line: Ford got a raw deal. He never had a chance with his previous owner and now needs an experienced dog person to teach him how to be a well-adjusted, well-behaved pet.