After losing her beloved senior cat to a stroke, Kathreen Magnusson was desperate to fill the void the Persian feline’s passing had left in her life. Thankfully, in August 2018, she learned about Boogie, a paralyzed and incontinent Persian kitten who was searching for a loving forever home.
Just a few days after seeing Boogie’s picture, Kathreen traveled from her home in Arizona to meet Boogie in person, and she immediately fell in love with the five-month-old feline. “Boogie was just this tiny little kitten — barely two pounds and with huge eyes — and my heart just melted and I picked her up and cuddled her,” remembers Kathreen. “She was such a sweet little fluff ball and just purred and purred.”
While Kathreen didn’t have any experience caring for a pet with incontinence or paralysis, her first cat had three legs and lived to be nearly 19 years old, so she was cautiously optimistic she and her family would be able to give Boogie the extra time and attention she needed to thrive. Consequently, after meeting the young special needs cat in August 2018, Kathreen brought Boogie home with her the very same day. “I have always had a soft spot in my heart for seniors and special animals,” says Kathreen. “I just gravitate towards the special animals because I feel like they are often the most lovable, but often overlooked.”
Soon after bringing Boogie home, Kathreen took the five-month-old feline to a neurologist for a thorough examination. Diagnostic imaging revealed her vertebrae were misaligned in the area near her shoulder blade, causing Boogie’s incontinence and paralysis. “This is often something you will see in both dogs and cats with ‘smoosh‘ faces,” explains Kathreen. “Basically, everything is compressed to give the animal the smoosh face look, so there can be potential side effects that often affect mobility.”
Unfortunately, the veterinarian who examined Boogie determined surgery wasn’t a good option, as it might cause her to have additional issues. After learning Boogie would most likely be paralyzed for the rest of her life, Kathreen got a cart for the young feline, hoping it would help Boogie become more mobile. “She did not like it,” says Kathreen, “so we opted to let Boogie be Boogie.”
Nearly three years later, Boogie is thriving in her forever home, and while she refuses to use a cart or a wheelchair, this special girl is incredibly mobile. She loves chasing bugs — especially crickets — and playing with the laser pointer, and she adores treats so much, she and her mom have a special ritual. “Every night she shuffles into the living room and sits across the room staring at me,” says Kathreen. “If I don’t get up, she comes over to the couch and stares at me and as soon as I start to get up she’s off racing me to the kitchen. She likes to do this a few times each evening; it’s a little game we play.”
Boogie also enjoys bird watching, sunbathing, napping, and being the center of attention, proving she’s really not that different from a typical cat. However, there is one way she differs from the average feline, because she loves being brushed and blow dried after her mom gives her a bath, something Kathreen has to do because of Boogie’s incontinence. “She has beautiful long hair that I have to keep trimmed shorter which helps her stay clean,” says Kathreen. “She’s very good with baths and hair trims.”
She’s also very good about having her bladder expressed and her bowels stimulated multiple times a day, although keeping Boogie on a good bathroom schedule is definitely a challenge. Also, because Boogie can’t control her bowels, Kathreen has to be very careful about what she feeds this gorgeous girl, as changes to her diet can cause her to have diarrhea.
However, Boogie doesn’t need as much extra care as people often assume, nor is she suffering, another common assumption. “I see comments sometimes that say ‘how sad’ or ‘poor cat,’ and I have even had a few people tell me to put her to sleep,” says Kathreen. “I don’t really understand anyone saying that. After all, there are paraplegic humans living wonderful lives.”
Plus, unlike people, paralyzed cats don’t necessarily know — or care — that they’re different from their more able-bodied counterparts. Instead, they focus on figuring out ways to adapt and overcome, which Kathreen finds incredibly inspiring. “They thrive and show us that even at the worst point in your life, there is always hope and something to live for,” explains Kathreen. “And to be honest, they are happy — all I have to do is look at her and realize that even a disability doesn’t have to ruin your smile.”
Without a doubt, Boogie is an incredibly happy cat, and she has changed Kathreen’s life for the better. After all, sharing this remarkable girl on social media has allowed Kathreen to develop friendships with people from all over the world, something she never imagined when she brought Boogie home in 2018. “We aspire to inspire others to welcome special needs animals,” says Kathreen, who — just three years ago — knew nothing about caring for a paralyzed or incontinent cat.
Today, Kathreen not only feels completely capable of giving Boogie the additional care she requires, she believes this extra time and attention has allowed the two of them to form an exceptionally special bond. “I sing her little songs when I’m cleaning her up, putting her to bed, and just cuddling her,” says Kathreen. “I feel immense love for her and can’t imagine a life without her. I feel blessed to care for this precious soul.”
To learn more about this beautiful cat, you can follow Boogie on Instagram and Facebook.