Caring for a paraplegic cat isn’t (in my now experienced opinion) a whole lot of extra work. But, it is more work than, say, your typical healthy cat. It definitely takes more thought and overall planning. Over the past five years, Zoey and I have learned together what she needs and what I need to do in order to keep her safe and healthy. Despite her rear leg paralysis, Zoey is remarkably healthy. (Typed as I knock on the wood of my desktop.) She has had several bladder infections which, last summer, an amazing veterinarian friend of mine diagnosed as flare-ups caused by Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease or FLUTD. Knowing what I am dealing with and the signs to watch for (in Zoey’s case: urinary incontinence) has helped me tremendously!
So, a day in Zoey’s life is pretty routine:
Around 5:30 AM – Dad feeds her breakfast of Hill’s C/D dry (about 1/8 cup) and canned food (1 tbsp.) Zoey eats in her crate.
By 7:00 AM – I express Zoey’s bladder and stimulate a bowel movement. (More – including photos – on these critical functions in a future post.) Then, she gets a fresh pair of “pants” and she’s off to run around the house. Zoey navigates the stairs, carpet, hardwood, tile, and cat trees in her pants.
At some point in the morning or late afternoon – Zoey usually heads back to her crate to finish her breakfast and nap for much of the day. Or, she plays the run-and-hide game and stays out during the day. As she’s gotten older and smarter (i.e. doesn’t chew on power cords anymore) I have allowed her to stay out sometimes unsupervised during the day. She drinks water from the dog bowls and suns herself by the doorwall.
Around 6:00 PM – Dinner time! And Zoey lets us know it’s time to eat by screaming her “ahhhhhh” commands. She typically eats all of her wet food and most of her dry, saving a few pieces for a midnight snack. (Same portions as breakfast.)
After dinner – I express Zoey’s bladder and stimulate another bowel movement. She typically does an annoyed “errrr” type growl during this process because, I kid you not, she is antsy to get down on the floor and get back to playing with her toys or window-hunting. She will also, sometimes, lean back in my arms and look up at me with this “I love you, momma” stare and I just melt. She’s so stinking cute. And, she is definitely MY baby.
Throughout the evening there are so many things to do…she tosses her toys around, meowing the whole time, snuggling on our laps, chasing the other cats, window-hunting. She is never bored. In fact, she inspires me to get more out of life each day.
10:00 PM – Bed time. Back to her crate for safe keeping. Sleep, eat, repeat.