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Purrspectives: What I Wish Everyone Knew About Caring For Special Needs Animals

You may know from the adorable photos we post all the time that our foster care system primarily deals with kittens. Well, winter is a slow time for kittens. This past winter, our foster homes were pretty empty, so Brandi (president of A HOPE) decided to help clear out the local shelter in Fort Walton so they could make some upgrades and deep-clean their kennels.


We pulled a ton of cats from that shelter (I can't remember how many). They were mostly adults, some of whom had been living at the shelter their entire lives. During this time, pretty much everything was stressful. We had big intake day after big intake day. Many of these cats had medical issues, which meant lots of vet visits. Cats were constantly rotating through foster homes as other cats moved to PetSmart when space opened up or went on our bi-weekly transport to be fixed.



The van loaded up on intake day with needy animals from the shelter.


It was a crazy 3 months, but the team kept showing up, day after day. Everyone jumped in and never complained, but you could tell we were all tired.


On one of our last intakes from the Fort Walton shelter, we were trying to get all the paperwork straight so we could start checking in the cats and getting them out to foster homes. I picked up a carrier to check on a cat who seemed to be sleeping, and a few seconds later the kitten started thrashing around. At first, I thought he was playing, but I quickly realized he was having a seizure.


I yelled for Brandi and she rushed over (calm as can be, might I add). She grabbed the kitten out of the carrier, told me what she needed, and pulled the kitten out of his seizure.


I later got to foster this kitten, who we named Sushi. He was such an amazing little guy. I met his adopter, and man, is she amazing, too! I was so worried no one would want him or they would want him because he was cute but then return him. He was very special needs, but his new mom came over to my house, sat on my floor for over an hour, and fell in love. She is perfect for him, and I could not have imagined a better home for him in my wildest dreams.


Sushi, all grown up and happy as can be in his wonderful home.


Without A HOPE, I wonder what would have happened to Sushi. Would his seizures have gone unnoticed in a shelter setting? Would they have killed him one day if gone unchecked?


This is what we do every day. Time after time, we take the hardest, sickest cases and help them blossom into adoptable, beautiful, wonderful animals. I love watching that transformation happen. I love connecting with adopters and knowing they love these little ones just as much as I do before they even meet them.


When people ask if it’s hard to let kittens go after living with them and loving them for weeks, this is one of a hundred stories I think of. Sushi found the perfect home for him, and that’s something to celebrate! And not only that. His adoption made room for the next animal to go through the incredible transformation from sick and hopeless to happy, healthy, and loved.


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