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cat laying down with both legs in casts
cat laying down with both legs in casts

At Felix we know this to be an unwavering truth: cats deserve love and care. And like us, cats can face chronic health challenges or disabilities. From mobility hurdles to sensory impairments, these remarkable cats teach us resilience, adaptability, and the boundless capacity for love. Let’s talk about disabled cats, uncovering the tools, adaptations, and expert advice that can empower you—and them—to lead fulfilling lives.

What do the experts say about cats who need extra care?

Some cats are born with disabilities, while others may become disabled due to accidents, diseases, or the effects of aging. Common types of disabilities include blindness, deafness, three-legged mobility, and cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, often called “wobbly cats.”

Unfortunately, there haven’t been many studies done on how many cats are born with disabilities, or who will become disabled later in life. There are statistics about cats being deaf, however, particularly white cats with blue eyes.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, “Researchers found that only 17 to 22 percent of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf. The percentage rises to 40 percent if the cat has one blue eye, while upwards of 65 to 85 percent of all-white cats with both eyes blue are deaf. Some of these cats are deaf in only one ear. Interestingly, if a white cat with one blue eye is deaf in only one ear, that ear will invariably be on the same side of the head as the blue eye.”

Innovations in disabled cat care

Tech and pet care have come a long way in recent years. These evolving technologies have paved the way for truly innovative treatments tailored to the unique needs of disabled cats. From prosthetics to acupuncture and hydrotherapy, cutting-edge therapies can offer new ways to help these kitties thrive.


Prosthetics have revolutionized mobility for cats with limb amputations or congenital deformities, allowing them to regain freedom of movement and lead active lives. These custom-made devices are designed to fit comfortably and securely, providing support and stability while enabling cats to run, jump, and play—and yes, have zoomies.


Acupuncture, an ancient healing practice, has found its place in modern veterinary medicine as a complementary therapy for various conditions, including pain management, mobility issues, and neurological disorders. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture promotes circulation, reduces inflammation, and alleviates discomfort, offering relief to disabled cats.


Hydrotherapy, another emerging therapy, harnesses the power of water to improve mobility and strengthen muscles in cats with mobility challenges. Under the guidance of trained professionals, cats engage in controlled exercises in a water-based environment, benefiting from buoyancy and resistance to enhance their range of motion and build strength.

As these innovative therapies continue to evolve, new possibilities for cats also grow. We can empower these extraordinary felines to live their lives to the fullest through compassionate care, advanced treatments, and a deep understanding of their unique needs.

Thinking of adopting a disabled cat?

If your home is a little too quiet and you’re thinking of adding to your brood, see if any cats with a disability are looking for their forever home. Of course, before you go running out to your local SPCA, you need to consider:

The kitty

What type of disability do they have? Before whisking them off to your home, research to see if their disability is something you’re able to care for properly. Try to find other parents whose cats share the same disability or talk to your vet.

Do they need daily injections, like insulin? Or maybe sub-q fluids? This type of care can be taught to you but consider if you’re up to the task. Don’t commit to a cat when you know you won’t be able to provide what they need to be healthy and happy.

Your lifestyle

Do you work from home, or in a pet-friendly office? What’s your social life like, and your family? Some disabilities may not be as time-consuming when it comes to everyday care, so it’s important to make an informed decision; what’s best for both you—and the kitty in question.

Your home

Depending on the disability, can you rearrange how your house is set up? On the other hand, if adopting a blind cat, are you OK with never rearranging your furniture or making huge changes? As they learn how to get around and know where furniture and things are, it can be stressful for blind kitties to relearn.

Your finances

Can you afford ongoing care, medication, or alternative therapies to keep kitty happy and comfortable for the rest of their lives?

Success stories

It’s important to note that many cats can adapt to physical or mental challenges and live perfectly healthy, fulfilled lives. Chloe is one example. While she still does physically have all four legs, she was paralyzed as a kitten and lost the use of her back legs. A 3D “wheelchair” was made just for her, and true to cat form—shehatedit. She can get around quite quickly with her two front legs and is a great example that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to what works for cats.

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may have seen videos of Ysera the cat. Despite being a healthy kitten, Ysera was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease which has resulted in her becoming disabled and barely able to move.

Despite these challenges, her parents have committed to making her life as comfortable as possible, documenting it on their TikTok channel. According to her dedicated dad, “she’s become a new TikTok live star and is loving all the attention from everyone in the community”, her most popular video netting over 14 million views and counting.

These cats strike a chord with so many of us, defying stereotypes to enjoy fulfilling lives. And yet, we have to acknowledge that their care and treatments may not be cheap.

Pet insurance could help offset some of these costs

It’s hard to think about, but years ago, cats with disabilities were at many times euthanized instead of rehabilitated. Fewer treatments and therapies were available for complex conditions in general, and pet insurance was much less common, meaning any care would likely have to be paid out of pocket. Even now, this could feel overwhelming for families faced with a tough and expensive diagnosis. Luckily, pet insurance may help offset some of the costs of treatment.

There is a chance your cat’s disability may be considered a pre-existing condition, which likely would not be covered by pet insurance plans. However, a good base Accident & Illness plan, with upgrades like Wellness or Exam coverage, could help keep your bank account safe from the cost of routine and preventative care.

Additionally, some pet insurance brands may help cover holistic and alternative therapies like hydrotherapy or acupuncture. These treatments may be useful if you have a cat with conditions that impact mobility, so it’s important to educate yourself on your specific policy and what options you may have access to.

Ultimately, pet insurance can help act as a safety net whether your cat is healthy, sick, or injured. If symptoms start showing that eventually lead to a diagnosis, protecting your cat with a policy could help save you money in the long run.

Pet parenthood is shifting

Cats have evolved far beyond their traditional roles as mere mouse catchers in the household. With an increasing number of Millennials and Gen Z-ers choosing to postpone starting a family, a significant shift towards pet parenthood has emerged. Today, these younger generations embrace their roles as dedicated guardians of their feline companions, rejecting the notion of “ownership” in favor of a more nurturing relationship. This modern perspective is accompanied by a deeper commitment to their cats’ well-being, embracing the responsibilities and costs associated with providing the utmost care.

Because of this evolution in pet parenthood, cats with certain conditions are less likely to be overlooked at the shelter. Many pet parents step up to bring home a kitty or commit to continued care for their cat should they become disabled, and we love to see it. Advocating for a more inclusive society starts at home, and providing care and dignity to a disabled pet is a great place to start.

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