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Norwich Bulletin - 7/8/2007


I decided to interview my foster home who takes in our "special needs" kitties. Her first words to me were "All cats are special to me. There is just something that touches me in a way no other animal does." Owning many cats over the last sixty plus years, and fostering even more, Hercy Lord has found her special needs cats to be the best cats she has ever lived with. Helping Paws wants to tell you some of their stories and their endings.

Little Wilbur and his sister Charlene came as tiny kittens, barely weaned, Someone had cut off Wilbur’s hind foot when he was only a few weeks old. But Wilbur never knew he was different and ran around and played with sister just fine. It took him about two months to trust his foster home enough to purr, but he was placed in a forever home with Charlene and lived a long, happy life.

A wonderful, young, and completely blind cat found everything in her living space within thirty minutes! Food, litter box, her bed and even jumped onto her perch! Her name is Amazing Grace and she was adopted by a family with two little girls, another older cat and a mellow old dog.

A sweet, all white deaf kitten found her way to Hercy’s foster home. Spirit hears her own song in life and is a companion to a teenage girl. Since she is an indoor only cat, there is no difference in a hearing or non hearing cat as a pet.

Then there are, of course, the ones that never left. Four years ago, little Teddy came to his foster home as a two week old kitten found in a stone wall. He was bottle fed and of course, that bonds you to a kitten even more than just taking care of one. Well, at six weeks old, Teddy contracts a deadly virus and spent three weeks at our vet. The virus damaged his cerebella permanently and he has Cerebella Hyperplasia. There is no cure - but Teddy runs, jumps as he can and has no idea he is "special needs."

Tiny Tim is only nine months old and is sweet, smart and loving. He has two strikes against him in the normal adoption world. First, he is a black cat, and second, he has a spinal deformity that causes extremely weak back legs. However, he uses his litter box, he plays and likes other cats, and he still runs, even though he falls over a lot. Tiny Time’s condition is most likely progressive and he will not be put up for adoption. Anyway, he is happy and loving and well-loved. What more could anyone ask for>

Then there are the senior cats that karma dictated should come and live with Hercy. Two years ago an old stray with permanent runny eyes, a severe heart murmur, no teeth and a thyroid condition was taken in and today if you visited, you would see a lap cat who plays and purrs, has gained weight and has a stabilized thyroid condition.

Saving the best for last, is the story of Zachary. My daughter found him in a small shelter when he was sixteen years old and called me to see if Hercy would be willing to foster him since our younger males would be too dominant for this old man. Of course she said yes, but no-one had any idea what a wonderful cat he would turn out to be!

He came with the worst case of ear mites any of us had ever seen; in fact, they caused a thickening of his ear canal. His coat was dull and lifeless. Well, Zachary is nineteen years old now, he is the cutest little brown tabby and white cat who head butts people, plays and sleeps securely on the bed every night. He quickly became one of the favorites and he is truly a gift of love.

There are no sure things in life. You could adopt a kitten and it could die at two years old of a heart defect. You could adopt a cat in the winter of its life and it could live a month, or five years. The bottom line is, while we cannot guarantee how long a senior cat or a cat with special needs will live, we also cannot guarantee how long that kitten will live either.

After decades of rescue and fostering, this foster home has decided to only take in one or two special cats at a time and find them the perfect home! Right now we have a wonderful three legged long haired black Maine Coon female spay who has the personality of an angel and is looking for the right person. Could that person be you?

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