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Meet The Adorable Senior Cat With Hydrocephalus Who Has Surpassed Everyone’s Expectations With The Help Of Her Wonderful Mom!

When Anna Rhodes-Sayer saw an ad in her local paper about Bear, a tiny black kitten with mild hydrocephalus who was looking for a forever home, she found herself smitten with the tiny special needs cat.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“I saw this lovely photo and just loved her,” remembers Anna, so she called Cats Protection, only to learn Bear was no longer available for adoption. “They said they’d had a huge response and she’d been re-homed already. I was very disappointed — but happy Bear had a home — and forgot about it.”

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

Two weeks later in August 2009, Anna received an unexpected phone call from Cats Protection informing her Bear was once again searching for the perfect forever home. “I later found out they’d tried around 10 homes for her but none were suitable — some had children, some had dogs, and Bear was terrified,” explains Anna. It quickly became obvious to everyone at the rescue that Bear, who had been abandoned on the streets by birth mom as a tiny kitten, hated loud noises and excitement, so she needed a quiet, peaceful home.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

Confident she would be able to give the 4-month-old kitten the tranquil environment she required, Anna visited Bear at Cats Protection to see if she felt a connection with the young cat. “They opened the cage door and I sat on the floor and this beautiful, scared little cat wobbled up to me and I just knew she needed me,” says Anna. A few days later, Anna officially adopted the striking black cat, bringing her to her home in England on August 19, 2009.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“The charity warned me that as she was so young and because of her hydrocephalus, she didn’t know how to use a litter tray and other people had rejected her because she wee’d in the ‘wrong’ place,” explains Anna, “So I became substitute cat mummy, trying to replicate all the things a mother cat would teach her kitten.”

 

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A post shared by Bear (@bear_the_wobbly_cat) on


Ann soon discovered that due to Bear’s poor balance and coordination, both symptoms of hydrocephalus, she hated using litter boxes because they were too unstable and she tended to fall over while attempting to relieve herself in them. Consequently, the special needs cat urinated all over her new home until Anna realized Bear was happy to use puppy training pads placed in doorways.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

Anna also discovered Bear had never learned how to groom herself, most likely because she was separated from her biological mother as a tiny kitten. “She was very young and had no idea how to be a cat,” says Anna. “She only learnt how to wash by watching my older cat.”

 

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With the help of Anna and her older cat, Bear eventually learned a number of feline habits, but due to having hydrocephalus, a congenital condition characterized by the build-up of fluid in the brain, she was given a life expectancy of five years. However, this adorable girl recently celebrated her tenth birthday, so she has already lived twice as long as experts expected.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“Bear has adapted very well to cope with her hydrocephalus,” says Anna. “She walks and crosses her front legs over as she does to keep her balance and her back legs stay wider apart than usual to help.”

 

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This senior kitty often loses her balance and falls over if she turns her head to one side, causing the excess fluid in her brain to move around, but Bear’s hydrocephalus is fairly mild, allowing her to enjoy a good quality of life without surgical intervention.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“Hydrocephalus can be much more severe, causing cats to constantly fall over when they walk and have severe problems,” explains Anna. “Surgery is an option in these cases and people need to be aware the life span of these cats is shorter than usual.” Fortunately for Bear, her hydrocephalus doesn’t prevent her from being able to run and play, making her seem much younger than her chronological age.

 

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“Although she is 10, you’d think she’s four,” says Anna, who now lives in Munich, Germany, her beloved cat. “She loves to chase a mouse or a ribbon and helping make the bed by pouncing all over it!” While Bear sleeps on her mom’s bed, she doesn’t jump on to the furniture, and she absolutely hates being picked up. This beautiful special needs cat is also very frightened of the outdoors, most likely because it’s overstimulating, but Bear enjoys spending time on the terrace with Anna during the summer.

 

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A post shared by Bear (@bear_the_wobbly_cat) on


While Bear still struggles with grooming herself and relieving herself in the correct places, Anna doesn’t mind. “It’s not the best but you just have to say, ‘Okay, that’s Bear,’ and carry on,” says Anna. “She can’t help it and that’s important to remember if you ever feel frustrated.”

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

Even though this senior girl is generally in good health, she does have the occasional bouts of diarrhea and sickness that require her to go to the vet for fluids and injections, so Anna recommends anyone who is thinking about adopting a cat with special needs to check out their pet insurance options.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

While caring for a cat with special needs may require more time and money than the typical feline, Anna hopes people won’t be discouraged from adopting a kitty with hydrocephalus like Bear. After all, Bear charms everyone she meets with her big personality, and Anna is confident her fun-loving and friendly nature has nothing to do with her hydrocephalus, making it somewhat irrelevant.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“I wish people would see past the labels and see the animals and love them because they’re animals,” says Anna. “I wish that people would not be afraid of special needs animals. Yes, they may require a little more work and patience, but the rewards of having them are huge.”

 

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For Anna, who was in an abusive relationship when she met Bear, adopting a cat with special needs helped her regain her confidence and her sense of self. Consequently, Anna feels she owes Bear a debt of gratitude, and she never wants this special girl, who was abandoned by her birth mother as a tiny kitten, to feel alone or rejected.

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

“She will never know how she saved me, but having her kept me going and gave me focus and just knowing I could do that for her, made feel better,” says Anna.  “I wish I could thank her for saving me and for being such a wonderful character. We came into each other lives at the right time. Bear really is everything to me.”

black senior rescue cat with hydrocephalus
Image via @bear_the_wobbly_cat on Instagram

To learn more about this adorable cat, you can follow Bear on Instagram.

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