Last year, Blue Cross Foster Carer Sue Gurney shared her experience of caring for a cat with special needs. Today, she tells their story of love and hope…
At three weeks old, we were unsure if Tahlia would survive, so I'm so happy that this week she is celebrating her third birthday.
Here is little Tahlia at three weeks old (above), just before she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Who would ever have thought that she would grow into the beautiful cat that she is today.
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the skull. It is not a common condition, but sadly means Tahlia is likely to have a shorter lifespan, and her brain damage does cause her to be wobbly on her feet.
An uncertain future for Tahlia
Tahlia came to me as a foster placement when she was just 10 days old, and she was tiny (88 grams at birth).
She was half the size and weight of her sisters and her features were very different, but I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her, she looked so frail and vulnerable.
A worrying time
In August last year I had a very worrying time with Tahlia. She started turning her head to the side, and when I spoke to her she turned it more.
She also became more wobbly, and started to walk round in a circle before she moved. I had been told to look out for the circling and I was worried.
My two local vet practices didn’t specialise in Tahlia’s condition, so I began searching for a practice with a vet who knew all about it.
Through my local pet shop I was put in touch with a practice with two vets who know a lot about hydrocephalus and I was so relieved.
The vet I saw was so lovely with her, so gentle and kind, and I feel Tahlia sensed this as she even let her take a urine sample with a syringe without panicking.
After some treatment, things began to settle down with Tahlia and she did not deteriorate as I had feared. She remains a bit more wobbly, still turns her head a little and still circles at times, but since September she has been fine. It is very reassuring to know there is such a lovely vets near me who can help us when she has problems.
As you can see below, Tahlia loves her cuddles, and I spend time with her each morning, in bed.
She very rarely comes downstairs now, which I really miss, but she prefers the sanctity of my bedroom which we call her “safe place”. She has everything she needs there and she feels secure.
Tahlia still has not litter trained, and probably never will, but the puppy pads work brilliantly. She plays with her toys as I can hear her in the night. She only eats dry food and occasionally chopped ham, and she remains very fearful of everyone except me.
But we are doing just fine together. I love her to bits and when I’m upset and need a cuddle she is there for me. I feel we belong together, and she is such a little treasure.