You may have seen Facebook pages popping up all over for cats. While some are just enthusiasts for their cats and other cats alike, some cat pages are informational. Believe it or not, some pet guardians want to change the face of euthanasia in pets with disabilities. So, should cats with disabilities be put down?
This is a huge question being raised by uneducated pet lovers now, thanks to some brave pet guardians who have chosen to disagree with vets worldwide at some point because their beloved cat was injured either at home, or maybe hit by a car. A surgery or two, thousands of dollars later, and the pet is back home with some pins in its legs to gain back its mobility, or while in other cases, taken home with permanent paralysis or slight brain or nerve damage that is not painful, but causes a lack of speech, visual impairment, or inability to control some of their limbs. These ailments cannot be fixed, but cats with these issues are living great lives despite their disability, and are in no pain!
It has gotten to the point now, that people are finding animals disabled at birth. While in the care of a shelter, a pregnant mother cat has kittens and one has a club foot, wobbles when it walks, or is blind. Should these kittens be put down? While no one can know for sure why these things happen, there is a little bit known about some of these random cats and kittens with certain disabilities. Cats with deformities such as a club foot, or twisted legs, can come from bad genes. Most times inbreeding in feral cat colonies. It happens because people do not spay/neuter their pets and allow them to roam, or simply because people turn a blind eye to the homeless cats running the streets when there are people and programs that can help with one call in most areas. YOU are to blame if you are turning a blind eye.
Neurological issues can effect any young animal or child in utero. Things like the mother eating or drinking toxic substances, or if a virus/illness was present in the mother. While it may not have made the mother ill at all, it can harm the fetus development while in utero. In cats, issues like deformities and abnormal brain development happen. Mainly the most common is called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (Also known as CH) This is when the balance portion of the brain, the cerebellum, does not develop fully or properly and causes a cat to wobble when it walks, taking high steps with their back legs straight, and sometimes fall/trip a little bit because they lose their legs every once in a while. (I know a few humans who trip over themselves a lot more than these kitties do!) This comes from a mother cat carrying the distemper virus or ingesting toxic substances like anti freeze while pregnant. While it does not affect every kitten she gives birth too, it can affect one or all of them to varying degrees. These cats have incredible lives if given the chance to live. This condition gets better as they grow from kitten to adult stage, they are never in any pain, and it does not progress or kill them. I know because I watch videos of CH cats and speak with their owners everyday. They do not know they are different, nor do they care. They are just normal cats, doing normal cats things, and they are happy to pounce a mouse and get some snuggles from their pet guardians. One infamous internet cat, Moki the wobbly cat, was a normal cat until he caught a random virus which caused his hind legs to become paralyzed.
While there are many illnesses/injuries affecting cats and kittens, mostly caused by people being idiotic, irresponsible, cruel, and heartless. The big question keeps repeating itself with vets and pet admirers of these pages, should these cats be euthanized? I currently own 4 pets that society would have euthanized for no real good reason. Being a pet guardian of a disabled pet, suffered from trauma at birth and after birth while being feral, I can give you a million reasons NOT to euthanize these cats. I am an animal advocate who has saved lots of pets from the streets/bad situations, and I truly believe that if an animal is in pain of suffering and cannot be helped in ANY way, then yes it is better to put it down. We as humans do not get the choice if we are in constant pain to be euthanized, and I consider pets lucky to be put out of their misery when they have no life due to pain or illness. But it is up to their pet guardian to decide to do so. Until you have a disabled pet, you will never understand how they adapt and accept their disability with almost NO limitations. They are unlike us humans, who wallow in pity over our disabilities, loss of limbs or balance.
Who are you to judge these pet guardians for having a cat with a disability that they CHOOSE to pay the extra costs for with their hard earned money, buy disability specific equipment for, and do about 20 more things a day than you do for your pet like bathe them, diaper them, carry them around, take them on vacation, wrap their legs to prevent sores, rearrange their house so the cat has access to places they can enjoy life, make sure their job allows the pet to come to work or a schedule around the pet, take time off work for vet or rehabilitation appointments, carry them places, craft ramps and other wicked cool ideas to help their cats mobility to be a more normal cat, and SO much more!
We have Special Olympics to celebrate humans with disabilities and their challenge to overcome adversity. Why can cats not celebrate this by just being allowed to live?
Should they live, or die? You can help decide.
But first, educate before you post with hate. Then, come and ah-mews-me!
Oskar the blind cat - https://www.facebook.com/BlindOskar
Saved Merida - http://www.savedmerida.com
CH Kitty FAQ - http://chcat.org/faq/
Moki the Wobbly cat - http://thewobblycat.blogspot.ca/p/mokis-story.html
Dot the kitten with Spina Bifida - https://www.facebook.com/dot.the.kitten