Foster home a world of difference to a cat with a long list of medical challenges

Nine-year-old Katze (pronounced Kaht-za) wasn’t always the healthiest cat. But after receiving medical care at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and moving into a loving cat foster home, she’s feeling much better and is now one of the happiest cats.

Katze came to Best Friends after living in a home with too many cats. At the Sanctuary, she received some much-needed veterinary care, including treatment for an ear infection and slow-growing cancer. That helped her to start feeling better but, unfortunately, her medical issues didn’t stop there.

Physical therapy for a cat with hind-end paralysis

Katze was also experiencing some paralysis in her hind end, so she was unable to walk or to stand like other cats. At the Best Friends Animal Clinic she got a full medical work-up, but the cause of her condition remained a mystery. Her heart and lungs looked good, there wasn’t any evidence of a serious medical event (like a stroke), and tests for infections that might cause hind-end weakness (such as toxoplasmosis) came back negative.

To help her get her back limbs and tail moving again, Best Friends vets prescribed daily physical therapy. Cat World staff also thought that Katze might do well in a quiet cat foster home, where she could get her physical therapy, have lots of one-on-one time with her foster person and experience a much different type of home life than she’d known before coming to Best Friends.

Katze, a buff-colored tabby cat

“Fostering animals with special medical needs like Katze is important because a physical condition may start to affect them mentally and emotionally,” says Tina Sylvester, who was happy to foster Katze at her home. “All the extra individual attention they get in a foster home can boost their spirits and help them fight through the setbacks.

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Cat fits perfectly in foster home

Of course, there’s always the question of how well a foster pet will fit in with a new family, and it’s always a good idea to exercise caution when introducing a new cat or dog to the household. But for Katze and the animals in her new foster home the introduction couldn’t have gone any better.

Katze fit in immediately with Tina's furry family, which includes an active young dog named Toby. And even though her hind end was still very weak and wobbly, she explored the whole house to check out her new digs. In those first few hours at Tina’s house, Katze seemed more curious and active than Tina had seen her in weeks. Suddenly, there was more hope than ever before for a happy future for Katze.

Still, there was lots of work to do. Tina continued Katze’s daily physical therapy and added in some soothing neck massages, since it seemed like Katze sometimes had trouble lifting her head. As she began to feel better, Katze started showing her appreciation by following Tina around the house.

Tina and Katze the cat on a couch with her smiling and petting him

There’s no place like a pet foster home

After only about a month in Tina’s home, Katze is doing great. She is still a bit wobbly, and she can’t always control her tail (sometimes it twitches or wags back and forth on its own). But she’s made a lot of progress and is getting around better every day. She progressed from walking around the house a little bit at a time to walking around all the time and following Tina like a little shadow.

Katze also enjoys stretching out in the sunny spot by the sliding glass door, and when the weather is nice, she’ll even go outside for short walks with Tina. And while Katze gets along with all of Tina’s pets, she’s chosen Toby as her favorite and often walks over to where he is to give head-butts. 

Until Katze finds her forever home, there’ll always be a place with plenty of TLC for her at Cat World. But for now, she’s happy right where she is — because sometimes, while a pet is waiting for a home of their very own, there’s no place like a foster home.

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Buff colored tabby, Katze the cat

Photos by Molly Wald and Kurt Budde