Fay, a teacher and a volunteer with RAF.KW — an animal rescue organization in Kuwait — had just left work when she received a call from her boss in November 2018 about a paralyzed kitten who was desperately in need of help. “I rushed to the scene, which was two houses down from work, and there was [a cat] just dragging along, kicking her legs on the hot pavement,” remembers Fay.
As she approached the young feline, Fay found her boss talking to two women, and she soon realized they were the owners of the injured calico kitten. “They told us that [she] was their cat and that she was an outside cat who came to their front door for food each day,” says Fay.
When she and her boss asked the women if they knew what had happened to the paralyzed kitten, Fay learned that while the cat’s owners didn’t know exactly how the calico had received her injuries, she had been unable to walk for about month and had not received any medical treatment for her sudden paralysis.
“We asked why they hadn’t taken her to the vet and they simply replied with that they didn’t have the time to do so,” remembers Fay. Shocked by the women’s indifference to their kitten’s suffering, Fay scooped up the special needs cat and took her straight to a veterinary clinic for a thorough examination. It wasn’t long before Fay discovered the young cat was approximately eight months old, and she had suffered a broken spine, possibly due to being hit by car.
“There was nothing they could do to help her walk again,” says Fay. “Because of the neglect of her former family, her spine healed itself the wrong way, causing her paralysis.” The vet also determined the young feline was deaf, which may have been a factor in the injuries she received because being unable to hear may have made it harder for the calico kitten to avoid getting hit by a car while roaming the streets.
Saddened by everything the little special needs cat had already been through in her young life, Fay decided to foster the calico kitty until RAF.KW was able to find her a forever home. In order to commemorate the resilient feline’s new beginning, Fay named her Paisley. “It just fit her so well,” explains Fay.
Due to the injuries she suffered while living on the streets of Kuwait, not only was Paisley paralyzed, she was incontinent, so Fay had to learn how to express her bladder three times a day. “It took a while to figure out what position suited the both of us,” says Fay, mainly because Paisley didn’t like being lifted off the ground. “It also took us a while to get into routine with it but we got there eventually.”
While it’s important to have a routine when caring for an incontinent cat, Fay has found looking after Paisley to be a lot easier than people often assume. “I think people are worried about the time they have to put into it — and their working hours — and they worry about if they’re expressing them the right way,” says Fay. However, Fay simply expresses Paisley’s bladder before she leaves for work at 6am, again at 3pm when she returns home, and a third time in the evening before bed, proving it’s not that difficult for the average person to care for an incontinent cat.
In fact, Fay found caring for Paisley to be so easy that after a woman who was going to adopt this special girl and Poe — another paralyzed feline Fay was fostering — had to back out after one of her cats became extremely ill, Fay decided to adopt both Paisley and Poe! “She wasn’t meant to stay with me as we had been trying to find her forever home,” says Fay, “but deep down I was kind of glad as letting them go was breaking my heart.”
More than a year after Paisley was rescued from the streets, this gorgeous girl is thriving in her forever home with Fay, her adoptive brother Poe, and her family’s foster kittens. While she’s a quiet young cat who loves sleeping on her bed in front of the heater, Paisley also has an energetic side, proving paralyzed kitties can be just as active as their more able-bodied counterparts. “She loves playing with our foster kittens,” says Fays, “and she tries to chase bouncy balls around.”
Fay hopes sharing Paisley’s story will encourage more people to consider opening their homes to special needs cats, especially kitties with paralysis and incontinence. “They might be different but they are not less,” says Fay. “They can do everything a four-legged cat does, just in a different way.”
When Fay came to her rescue in November 2018, Paisley was struggling to survive, having suffered severe injuries that went ignored by her former caretakers. Thanks to RAF.KW and her amazing mom, this special girl now has the home and family she always deserved, but Fay considers herself the fortunate one. “Paisley has taught me so much,” says Fay. “She needed me and I was there for her, but she has taught me a lot about paralysis. She is an absolute joy in my life.”
To learn more about this stunning cat, you can follow Paisley on Instagram.