When Nicole Fischer, a fosterer for Biscuits and Breadsticks, learned the organization had been contacted by a partner shelter in Hawaii, Kauai Humane Society, about a tabby kitten with Manx syndrome who needed rescue placement, she was eager to help the young cat.
“I have my own special needs kitty named Scooty,” explains Nicole. “She is paralyzed in her back legs and completely incontinent.”
Before meeting Scooty, Nicole didn’t have any experience caring for a cat with special needs, but she was determined to do everything she could to give her the best possible life. “I learned a lot from her and after adopting her I saw how many cats with special needs needed help,” says Nicole. “From there, I wanted to help differently-abled cats thrive.”
While Nicole had never cared for a cat with Manx syndrome, a group of conditions that causes some — but not all — tailless cats to have spinal issues, Scooty had taught her how to look after a kitty with incontinence, a common symptom of Manx syndrome. “Manx syndrome can bring on an array of conditions,” explains Nicole, including partial paralysis of the hind limbs, urinary incontinence, a hopping gait, and constipation.
Consequently, when the kitten — who was dubbed Pops by the director of Biscuits and Breadsticks because of his unique walk — was healthy enough to make the trip from Hawaii, Nicole was the one who picked him up from the airport on December 24, 2021, and brought him to her home in West Berlin, New Jersey.
Pops, who is also known as Na Pali, was just three months old, but he had a big personality, and it took him a little while to adjust to the new environment. “Pops was a spicy boy and got overstimulated quite easily as any kitty would after a huge change like he had,” remembers Nicole. “He was in a new home, very far away from the people he knew and trusted.”
At first, Pops wasn’t sure what to make of his new foster mom, which presented Nicole with a unique challenge, as she had to express his bladder and bowels and diaper him multiple times a day. “He didn’t quite like the lady who was trying to get his pee and poo out of him,” explains Nicole. “It was very messy in the beginning to say the least.”
Thankfully, as Pops started to trust Nicole, the process got a lot easier and a lot less messy, and now expressing and diapering this special boy is a breeze. Unfortunately, Nicole has found some people believe incontinent cats can’t have happy lives, something Scooty and Pops have shown her is completely untrue. “Just because a cat gets expressed and sports a cute diaper doesn’t make them any less deserving of an amazing life,” says Nicole.
After all, aside from wearing a diaper and having his bladder and bowels expressed, Pops really isn’t all that different from any other 10-month-old cat. Like the average feline, Pops enjoys playing with puzzle toys, sunbathing, and hunting around the house for his favorite toys, which he likes to carry around with him. “He zooms around the house like he’s an Olympic track star!” says Nicole.
Because Pops is so energetic, Nicole thinks it would be best for him to find a forever home where he’ll have another playful cat to keep him company, but she believes he would also do well in a home without other pets. Also, his adopter needs to be patient and willing to adhere to a schedule, but Nicole promises any sacrifice will be worth it. “Taking on a cat with special needs is so rewarding,” says Nicole. “His adopter is in for a lot of laughs with him.”
When Pops gets adopted, Nicole will miss him and his antics terribly. However, there’s no doubt she’ll find comfort just thinking about the incredible transformation he made while under her care. “He’s been here for about seven months and going from completely not trusting me to allowing me to hold him like a baby and kiss his face brings tears to my eyes,” says Nicole. “He is a very special boy and deserves an amazing forever home.”
If you want to learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Pops on Instagram.
If you’re interested in adopting Pops, aka Na Pali, you can complete an application.