I recently had the pleasure of “virtually” meeting a fellow blogger whose focus on helping less adoptable cats parallels the goals of Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog. Alana Grelyak calls herself, Editor in Chief of her very funny and often sweet blog, Cat In The Fridge, that depicts the daily life her special needs cat named Crepes. The blog also de-bunks the myths about adopting pets that are a little less than perfect on the outside, but are absolutely perfect inside.
Both Alana and Crepes are modest about All of their accomplishments. Crepes is one of the stars in the movie “Catalogue,” that you’ve probably seen on YouTube. Her talented mom wrote the hilarious script for the movie and composed the music. In addition, Alana is the main script writer for the CATastrophies web series about cats.
Alana and Crepes answered some of my burning questions about their life.
I know you fostered Crepes and his siblings, but could you share a little about their story and how Crepes lost his foot?
Alana: Sure! My husband had never had pets, and before we were married, I thought it would be a great experience for him to foster some kittens. I’d been volunteering for Tree House Humane in various capacities since my return to Chicago in 2005, and fostering was the one thing I hadn’t yet tried. Only a few days after signing up for the emergency foster program, we got a call saying three kittens were in need of a home and medical attention. We picked up Crepes and her two siblings that evening. They were all underweight – just over four pounds each and more than four months old – and we were told they had to gain weight and be socialized.
The socialization part turned out to be easy! They were all sweet and loved to snuggle. Gaining weight wasn’t too hard, either – they all loved to eat. The hardest part was kicking the herpes they came in with. Crepes’ sister developed a bad eye infection and Crepes could barely breathe through her nose. They said she’d likely never be free of the respiratory issues, but now, at age two, she breathes like a champ. As soon as we put her on a high-quality raw diet plus raw goat’s milk, her symptoms nearly went away. All that’s left is an occasionally weepy eye and intermittently runny nose. A good diet is so important!
As for her foot, we don’t know how she lost it. She came to us that way. We did hear that she had another sibling that was also missing a front leg, but she didn’t make it and we never met her. Crepes was likely born that way. Her feral colony was experiencing severe overcrowding and in-breeding and it was, in all probability, a congenital defect.
What made you decide to adopt Crepes?
Alana: We just loved her. We loved the others, too, of course, but it was apparent that Crepes was the smallest and most needy of the group. In the six weeks we cared for them, we grew very attached to her and knew that her chances of adoption with her chronic respiratory issues and her missing foot made her a less likely candidate for finding a home. We figured that, although I already had pets, we had the resources to give her a good home and there was no reason we could come up with not to keep her. I think that if everyone who has the resources and space to adopt would do so, the homeless animal problem would be a lot less grave. And we were right about her siblings being highly adoptable; one was adopted the next day, and the other a week later!
Your blog is dedicated to special needs pets. What lesson do you want people to learn about adopting a pet with a disability?
Alana: I want people to know that disabilities come in many forms, from FIV in cats, to missing limbs, blindness, deafness, even emotional issues, and that any animal afflicted with any of these problems still deserves a loving home. It’s my dream to see a world where life of all kinds is valued as precious. An imperfect body does not mean an imperfect heart or soul.
Related Story: Family Welcomes Cat With Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia