Drawn to adopt a cat with special needs

Pancake the tortoiseshell cat lying in a bed
Pancake needs special care due to her incontinence, but Dakota doesn't mind. In fact, it's the reason she decided to adopt her.
By Nicole Hamilton

Dakota Jones promised herself that when it came time to adopt another cat, she’d choose one with special needs. Then she saw a photo of Pancake, a beautiful tortoiseshell cat with fur the color of autumn, and knew she had to meet her. The fact that Pancake had sustained an injury that left her incontinent, unable to empty her bladder on her own, only made Dakota want to adopt her more.

Dakota reached out to Best Friends staff about Pancake and learned she needs to have her bladder manually emptied, or expressed, three to four times a day. This fact alone put her life at risk when she was at a shelter. Luckily, that shelter works in partnership with Best Friends. That’s how Pancake came to Best Friends in Salt Lake City — an example of how Best Friends is supporting shelters across the country to reach no-kill by 2025.

Best Friends staff helped Dakota learn how to express Pancake’s bladder. It’s a process that takes just a short amount of time and isn’t messy. Still, Dakota decided to foster Pancake first, at least until she knew she could provide her with the care she’d need all her life. After about a month, she decided Pancake was home for good and adopted her.

[Fierce love for an incontinent cat]

At first, Pancake was slow to trust in her new home and would sometimes hiss at Dakota when she got too close. But Dakota respected the feline’s boundaries, giving her the space she needed to feel comfortable. All the while, she never lost hope that someday Pancake would trust her enough to let her touch her.

Dakota’s patience paid off. Nowadays, Pancake purrs like a motorboat (even when Dakota is expressing her bladder). She has a favorite spot on the bed and has made a special connection with her two feline housemates. “She’s just so sweet and very playful, but also very content to just lay in the same room with you and hang out,” says Dakota.

By all accounts, Pancake is living a sweet life.

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Pancake the cat

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