A Place in Your Heart: Adopting a Special Needs Cat


Special Needs Cats

According with the ASPCA, 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters every year and only 1.4million are adopted. Feral,  senior and special needs cats are those with lower adoption rates, while kittens usually are adopted very fast.

Special needs cats tend to be overlooked at the shelter mainly because they require a higher level of attention, care and resources from their owner.They tend to endure more time at the shelter, witch can be very stressful for the cat.

With today’s veterinary technology,  special needs cats are able to live longer, happier, healthier lives. They just need to find  a loving home and a dedicate owner.

FIV- Positive Cats

The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a infection carried by a retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease in cats. It’s transmitted to other cats, through scratches and bites, but not through contact or through the air. 

The FIV virus affects the cat’s ability to develop a normal immune response, leaving the cat vulnerable to others infections caused by normally harmless bacteria, virus, protozoa and fungi that are found in everyday environment.

In order to avoid a FIV-infected cat to contract secondary diseases, the owner should avoid feeding her raw foods such as meat, poultry or eggs. Is mandatory that the cat lives indoors in order to prevent the secondary infections.

Secondary infections can be life threatening if not treated for the FIV cat immune system is unable to respond.

A FIV positive cat can live for years without showing any symptoms of immunodeficiency, living a normal life. Most of FIV cats that has the disease are un-neutered males fighting for food, females or territory, who picked up and spread the virus. They are feral, stray or cats that live outdoors without control from their owners.

There is no risk for humans and other species and with love, proper care and regular vet visits FIV positive cats can enjoy a normal life with no apparent health problems resulting from the virus.

FIV positive cats still find it hard to find new homes, even though they are normal, loving cats that deserve a chance to live a happy life.


The Ten Commandments



image: The Ten Commandments, 1956 – Paramount Pictures


Well, I not sure if Moses knew anything about it… But there are Ten Commandments of the Responsible Pet Owner. Maybe they were not written in stone but it’s good to know about them.

Every year hundreds of pets are abandoned by their owners all over the world, they are left homeless roaming in the streets, neglected with no food or water in an empty house or  surrendered to an animal shelter.

In order to prevent all this, even before  buying or adopting a pet, every owner should consider:

1- Commitment

The lifespan of a dog or cat is aproxemately 10 to 20 years.The owner should consider that his/her  pet  will need proper nutrition and health care and it can be costly. It should also be a family/couple decision and  all family members should agree and help. 

2- Lifestyle vs. Pet Temperament

Do you have an active lifestyle? Do you like doing outdoors activities? Or do do prefer spend the weekend reading in a quiet environment? Choosing the right pet breed is very important to avoiding any unrealistic expectations or frustrations with your pet. 

3- Protection

Make sure your pet is protected against diseases taking her to the veterinarian for vaccines and annual check-ups. Don’t let your pet outside in the elements; give them proper shelter, food and water. Never let your pet locked inside the car in the Summer. 

4- Keeping Your Cat Indoors

A cat should always live indoors to prevent that she could be hit by a car, abused by kids, and/or attacked by animals – dogs, hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes, alligators or bears. Keeping your cat inside also avoids that the she won’t prey on the wildlife affecting the ecosystem.

5- Being a Good Citizen 

A responsible dog owner always maintains his/her dog on a leash (unless in a dog park  or in a dog-friendly beach), and always clean after her.

6- Love and Afection

Recognize your pet needs giving her love and affection. Consider hiring a pet sitter or enrolling your pet at a pet daycare if you don’t have enough time.

7- Training

Giving basic training to your dog will teach her proper behavior like walking on a leash, avoid jumping when you come home and  waiting for her food.

8- Identification

Some states require proper identification on the pet’s collar. Any kind of identification will help to find your pet in case she gets lost or run away (they can be startled be loud noise or  fireworks). Another very common form of identification is the microchip , tattoo and dog GPS tracker.

9- Spay and Neuter

A litter of puppies or kittens can be very charming, but everything changes when they start to get older and there is no much space in the house for all of them, not to mention the cost of vaccines and veterinary appointments. Spay and neuter is a responsible way to avoid overpopulation of stray cats and dogs as I mentioned before in another post.(Spay & Neuter. )

10- Adopt, Don’t Shop

If you decide to buy a puppy or a kitten don’t buy from a pet store, because most of the pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies. Puppy  mills are a very cruel way to breed dogs and cats, for they are kept in a very inhumane and filthy condition and people just care about making profit.You will need to find a responsible breeder and visit the premises to make sure all puppies and kittens are living in a loving and healthy environment.

The best alternative is to adopt.Adopting a pet who needs a home is one of the best things you’ll ever do. Animal shelters and rescue groups always try to find the right match for their animals and provide all medical attention their cats/dogs need, and there are some many pets in need for a loving home.


Nora is a beautiful cat for adoption at Gifford Cat Shelter.  Photo by Ruth Szwarcbart – May 2016. All rights reserved.

More information about Nora and other cats at http://www.giffordcatshelter.org



The Humane Society of United States – http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/tips/buying_puppy.html?

Arca Brasil – http://www.arcabrasil.org.br/10-mandamentos-posse-responsavel.php

American Veterinary Medical Association – https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/responsible-pet-ownership.aspx


Lucia, sweet Lucia !!


Lucia Lightroom-2

Meet Lucia  !!

Lucia is a sweet 7 year old girl who is waiting patiently for her forever home. She is diabetic, but can easily live a long and happy life as any other cat, as her diabetes is properly treated.

Diabetes is a common condition that affects humans, but can also affects domestic animals like cats and dogs. It can be caused by obesity, other diseases and medication. Genetics can also be a risk factor, and certain breeds of dogs  and cats are more susceptible (Dogs: Australian terriers, beagles and Samoyeds; Cats: Burmese) 

In some cases, a cat or a dog  could be required to receive daily doses of insulin and to be put on aspecial diet.

Lucia is currently on a low-calorie diet and receives insulin shots every morning.She is already used to it and won’t struggle to get treated.Other than that, she is very playful and loves chasing little toys around the shelter.