Plymouth woman helps disabled cats lead happy lives - petsitterbank

Plymouth woman helps disabled cats lead happy lives

Energetic and inquisitive, Snapple the cat dashes across the floor using a small wheeled cart – sometimes charging straight into walls and other obstacles, but then fearlessly backing up and pulling in a different direction.

The fact that Snapple, an 8-month-old tuxedo (black and white) cat, has a disability doesn’t stop him from having fun.

“He has a bubbly personality,” said Kris Kaiser of Plymouth, who provides foster care for Snapple.

Snapple has a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia – also known as “wobbly cat syndrome” – a congenital condition in kittens that affects the area of ​​the brain that controls motor movement, balance and coordination. It also makes their whiskers curly and their heads wobbly, but is neither gradual nor painful.

In December, Kaiser was chosen AdvoCat of the Year, an award from the Feline Generous program sponsored by Arm & Hammer. She was one of nearly 4,500 nominees – “animal shelter staff and volunteers across the country who go above and beyond to care for perfectly unclean cats,” the society said.

Snapple’s front legs aren’t strong enough for him to sit up, so he spends most of the time lying on his side. But in the cart Kaiser bought him, Snapple can rest his front legs on top while his back legs touch the ground, allowing him to run.

The first time he tried it, “he was attached and he was gone,” Kaiser said, as if the cat was thinking, “Finally, I can go somewhere else!”

Snapple’s wobbly head can also make it hard to eat, so Kaiser has provided a special elevated food bowl.

The person chosen as the AdvoCat, the best among the program’s Unsung Hero awards, provides specialized comfort to shelter cats, builds confidence through play, and shows affection through social interaction and “care of a medically complex feline.” above what is generally expected,” according to Arm & Hammer.

The award comes with a $15,000 donation to the animal shelter where Snapple is from, the Bitty Kitty Brigade in Maple Grove. A voluntary non-profit organization, Bitty Kitty serves orphaned and newborn kittens up to 5 weeks old who are not yet eating on their own.

Kaiser has another foster cat, as well as three cats as permanent adoptees. All suffer from wobbly cat syndrome which, in addition to hampering their mobility, causes their heads to bob around, especially when they are excited, see something interesting, or try to figure something out.

“There will be a bird or a squirrel outside and everyone will be at the window with their heads bobbing,” Kaiser said.

Snapple, who came to Kaiser as a “little baby bottle”, loves playing with toys, throwing them and grabbing them in his mouth. She conveniently works in marketing for Yeowww Catnip, a catnip toy maker in Roseville.

Snapple is adopted by Ed and Gina Yamamoto from Honolulu, who will be flying in here in February or March to pick him up. The couple decided to adopt cats after the deaths of their two previous cats in 2014 and 2017. Their first foster family, Moana, was a “foster fail” – a negative-sounding phrase meaning in fact that they loved him enough to adopt him themselves.

The couple decided to find a mate for Moana, so they started following the cats’ Instagram accounts. They saw Snapple either on Kaiser’s account, @tippietuxies, which features all of his cats, or on Snapple’s own account, @tuxonwheels.

“Ed sent me the link to a video (from Snapple) and the text underneath was, ‘I want to adopt him,'” Gina said.

She visited Snapple and spent time with him. “He fell asleep a bit on my lap…we had some quiet times.”

In the past, cats with wobbly cat syndrome would likely have been euthanized. But thanks in part to social media, “people are starting to understand that cats like these can have a great life,” Kaiser said.

Snapple was lucky to be placed in foster care by Kaiser, Gina said. “She does a very good job.”

But it goes both ways. Kaiser sometimes wonders if the condition could be another marker for wobbly cat syndrome.

“My cats, I swear, are the sweetest, most affectionate cats,” she said. “Every extra effort you have to make, you find love and affection again.”

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