The first time we saw Sasha on Instagram was when Melissa — the mom of Lux, a cat we’d featured — shared his story in an effort to find him a forever home. Like Lux, Melissa’s cat who passed away in March 2022, Sasha was also born with mucopolysaccharidosis, or MPS, and he was in need of someone who would be able to give him the special care he required to thrive. Not long after learning about the young tabby and white cat for the first time, we discovered Melissa had decided she was the person Sasha had been searching for.
In July 2022, Sasha traveled all the way from Italy to Melissa’s home in Canada, and we were delighted for both of them! We instantly knew we wanted to feature Sasha, so after giving him several months to adjust, we reached out to Melissa to learn more about this remarkable boy. Melissa graciously shared Sasha’s story with us, including how losing Lux inspired her to adopt another cat with MPS and what mucopolysaccharidosis is. She also told us about the realities of caring for a cat with such a rare disease, as well as the many activities that bring Sasha joy!
We really appreciate Melissa taking the time to share Sasha’s story with us, and we hope you enjoy learning about this unique cat as much as we did!
Meow As Fluff: How did you end up meeting Sasha?
Melissa: I met Sasha at the end of 2021 when his former owner, who lives in Italy, contacted me through Instagram, looking for help in rehoming him. Sasha was found as a stray kitten at a very young age, and his previous owner raised him until she could no longer take care of him.
He had a great life with her, and she took great care of him.
MAF: What made you decide to provide a home to a cat with MPS?
M: I decided to adopt Sasha because I had previous experience in providing care and lots of love for a cat named Lux, who also had MPS.
MAF: What exactly is MPS, and how does it affect Sasha specifically?
M: Mucopolysaccharidosis is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by an enzyme deficiency. There are three types of mucopolysaccharidosis in cats: MPS I, MPS VI, and VII, and some characteristics of the disease are facial and skeletal abnormalities, paralysis, dwarfism, enlarged liver, and corneal clouding, to name a few.
MAF: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about special needs cats and specifically cats with MPS?
M: Some of the biggest misconceptions I think people have about special needs cats is that they aren’t happy and do not deserve to live because they aren’t like “normal” cats.
[This happens] specifically with MPS because there is not enough research and knowledge on the disease as it is quite rare, so many do not want to care for a cat they are unsure about.
MAF: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a result of Sasha having MPS?
M: Some of the challenges I’ve faced is his mobility, for one. He can still scoot around and get where he needs to, but I have to help him in the litter box.
The uncertainty of his health has been a challenge as I have to make sure I keep up with regular vet visits and bloodwork to ensure he is healthy and happy.
MAF: What do you wish more people knew about special needs cats, particularly cats with MPS?
M: I wish people would see them like I do, that they are just like a cat without a disease. They still need to be loved and cared for and provided the basic necessities. Yes, there is a bit more care that can go into caring for a cat with special needs, but it’s worth it! The bond and the love that is shared are like no other.
MAF: What are some of Sasha’s favorite activities?
M: Some of Sasha’s favorite activities are playing with toys with feathers, eating, and exploring the outdoors.
MAF: What does he mean to you?
M: Sasha means so much to me, and I feel so blessed to have him in my life. I’d do it over and over again, knowing the love and care is being given to a cat in need.
To learn more about this adorable cat, you can follow Sasha on Instagram.