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Life on three legs

The most important policy of our animal shelter which we emphasized many times and on many occasions: all animals have a right to life, be it blind, old or just unpretty. As we do not put crippled animals to sleep, there is a good number of three-legged, blind or deaf dogs and cats under our care.

There is no week without confronting some negative views on these animals. "We want to have a healthy dog or cat!", people say, and we always give the same answer: these animals are healthy, it's just that they cannot see anything, or miss a leg. It's common knowledge that people with eye deficiencies counterbalance their disabilities with the sharpness of other senses. Why would it be different with an animal whose hearing, scent and sense of feelig is much better than ours? In our yard, two completely blind dogs are living happily, and our visitors usually notice their disability only when we draw their attention to it. These dogs know their environment, they know where are the stairs or where is mud, they can communicate with the others, and the rest of the dogs realize quickly that they must show a little bit more tolerance towards them.

Blindness in cats is even less perceptible. The temporary adopter of our cat Boróka (Juniper) has simply questioned the results of the medical examination which declared that Boróka must be completely blind.

"Boróka's comprehensive medical examination is done. The result is that she cannot see. She is completely blind on one eye, and sees only blurred patches and senses the light with the other eye.
The vitreous humour is abnormal due to developmental abnormalities or previous injuries of the retina. It cannot be healed.
Results of the laboratory examinations are due tomorrow. It is also possible that she has chronical viral infections.
This is very interesting.
Even though the examinations showed that she is blind, it is still not that obvious. The vets wanted to see how she walks on the floor, and she was able to find the right direction quite easily. Here, in the family environs, she behaves a little bit strange, but no one would ever guess she is blind. This is the first time I have a blind animal for such a long time. You won't believe me but her disability is simply not perceptible. She finds the cat toilet, and enters it without problems. She loves to play, comes close without fear, purrs. The punch line is, no matter how scary such a disability might seem at the first sight, it does not disturb the animal, she still can live a happy life. By the way, living with her day by day, I think her eyesight must be better than the results of the examinations indicate."

The disability of animals with three legs is much more obvious. People usually react with more aversion, and the chance to give such an animal to adoption is even smaller than in the case of a blind or deaf one. A three-legged cat or dog, however, is no less mobile or agile than those without disabilities. After the surgery (amputation) they adopt to the new situation, and the day after recovery they are able to walk on stairs. Our toughest case was, without doubt, Pletyka (Gossip), who was hit by a car, and whose front right leg had to be amputed. She needed a couple of weeks to learn how to use the cat toilet again without scattering the litter. She was adopted by a young woman after a short hesitation.

"And which of her legs is missing? - She does not miss any of them, but the right front leg had to be amputed...
That's the usual question after the frowning when I say I adopted a three-legged cat, and my usual answer. Because she really does not miss any of them! She can walk, run, jump around just like any other cat; she is helathy and I wouldn't even call her disabled. Those who do not believe should take a look at the videos uploaded to YouTube by a user called rzsuzska. :) But let's see how I have come to this conclusion – my attitude was not always like this and I had my doubts.

The story begins in the usual manner: I wanted my childhood dream to come true and wanted to adopt a dog or a cat, for which I only had an opportunity after I left my parents' house. Not that they don't love animals a lot, but my mother is allergic to animal fur. Now I have an own flat and I was ready to adopt a cat, as the only way for me to get an animal is through adoption. So I contacted one of my friends who is a volunteer at the Noah's Ark Animal Shelter and asked her to recommend me a cat that needs to be kept inside and for which it won't be a problem that I'm working and away during the day. She recommended Pletyka who seemed to be an ideal choice except for one thing: she had only three legs. No pressure was put on me, I could have said no, and it was not an easy decision... At the first moment I thought I will say no. But then I started to think about it – if my friend says that this condition does not disturb the cat, why should it disturb me? I was aware of the fact that animals can quite easily cope with such situations and adopt. I hesitated for one day, listened to the pros and cons the friends and family members raised, and, after a discussion with my Dad, I decided to take Pletyka. He said that if I want a cat, I should help her, because she needs a loving home, too.

At this point of the story many people say: oh what an act of charity. Well, it is not charity. My selfishness also played a part, because now I don't have guilty conscience about keeping an animal in a flat – they are not born to live in flats anyway. It's a different matter that during the past several thousand years they learned how to adopt to us and now they are comfortable by our side, but still, a flat is not the ideal place for an animal. But for Pletyka this is heaven itself. I couldn't even let her out in a garden as she cannot really defend herself against other animals. I have two tortoises and Pletyka shows a real interest in them, but luckily she cannot climb up to the terrarium and frighten them or jump into it and get injured by their horny ridges (this is what they have instead of teeth). Besides, she spares the flat, because she cannot reach many of the shelves and higher objects, even if she is very agile. So this is perfect for her and perfect for me!

I have to admit that the first meeting with her frightened me a little bit. At that time the stump of her amputed leg was still not covered with fur, but I forgot everything about it in the first five minutes when she crawled into my lap and started to purr. She is very friendly, needs a lot of petting, but she is quite playful at the same time – to sum up, she is the cat I've always dreamed of. I am still very grateful to the Noah's Ark Animal Shelter for recommending her to me. Now I know she was the best decision of my life!"


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