Cat Sanctuary


JackieO is a little girl full of purrrsonality. She came to us last year as an owner-surrender – the owner having been told by the vet that her incontinence problems had no solution, and euthanasia was the only way.  Luckily, the owner disagreed, and JackieO came into our care.

Apparently, she had originally come from Calgary – we don’t know the circumstances – but at some early age she sustained what’s called a tail pull injury, which causes neurological damage. It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone pulled her tail – it’s an injury that can happen under various conditions, such as a traffic accident – but it essentially involves the dislocation of vertebrae and the adjacent nerves that control anal and bladder function.

Euthanasia has its place for a cat who is suffering and has no quality of life. But JackieO doesn’t know anything is wrong; life for her is good, with people to interact with her, toys for play, other cats for company – she’s just discovered the great outdoors, with worms and bugs for excitement…

She’s still kitten-like – we think she’s about two years old, like her buddy Charlotte, who lived in the cage next to her. Now that both are out and about, they’ve gone in different directions, and JackieO entertains herself very happily.  Not only is she a pretty girl who attracts attention, but she is also a polydactyl – and those “thumbs” help when she’s grabbing onto a toy.

We have our share of incontinent cats – most of whom have Manx syndrome. JackieO’s injury has a similar result – mostly she’s just not aware of when she needs to “go”; she can occasionally use a litter box, but we don’t count on it. She gets checked by the med staff at least twice a day, and bathed when it’s necessary. She still has her tail, though it has no sensation in it; in some ways it adds to the incontinence problem, because it hides what’s going on at her back end.  It’s likely that the vets will do an amputation at some point, which will help with keeping her as clean as possible.

Tail or no tail, JackieO enjoys life; she runs and plays with a total lack of awareness of her handicap. A little extra laundry?  All in a day’s work at the Cat Sanctuary!=

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Brigid Coult and Karen Nicholson