No one would ever suggest welcoming a special needs cat into the family is easy, but for Meg Cameron, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
As a student in her final year of university, Meg decided to foster a cat and she was given Peaches, a one year old male who was surrendered by his owners because he had epilepsy. She was asked to monitor Peaches to see how often he had seizures and whether he needed to be put on medication.
The plan was for Meg to return Peaches after the observation period, but despite his medical issue – he suffered a handful of severe seizures during their time together – Peaches captured Meg’s heart and she decided to adopt him.
“I just couldn’t stand the thought of him living the rest of his life in a cage,” Meg said. “He’s just the sweetest cat in the world.”
She took him to the vet shortly after and was told the only treatment option was to put him on anticonvulsant medication, which had the potential to damage his kidneys. Because of that, and the severity of his condition, Meg was told he may only live for one or two years.
That was eight years ago.
Thankfully for Peaches, Meg took him to another vet, one that specialized in cats, and that vet made a significant discovery: on top of the significant seizures that Peaches was having every two to three weeks, he was having a partial seizure every time he twitched, which was frequently. The vet consulted with animal neurologists and Peaches was prescribed a new medication.
“And he’s a completely different cat now,” Meg said.
Peaches is seizure free… almost.
“He knows how to hide the pills in his cheek,” Meg said with a chuckle, “so if he spits it out and we don’t catch it, or if he’s under a lot of stress, he’ll have a seizure, but they’re very few and far between, and they’re nowhere near as severe as they used to be.”
So a cat that was once given no chance (at one point Meg was told by the first vet that it would be best for Peaches to be put down) has gone on to live a long and fulfilling life, bringing joy and comfort into Meg’s home – and also becoming a bit of an Internet star. Peaches has 2,300 followers on Instagram and was even featured on “Cats Of Instagram,” which has 5.3 million followers. And in many of Peaches photos is the new addition to the Cameron Clan: a kitten by the name of Frankie, who has feline leukemia.
“We’re destined to only have special needs cats now,” Meg said with a smile.
Peaches’ medication costs about $45 dollars a month, which Meg believes is a small price to pay: “If you’re in a position financially to do it and you can get past those initial barriers of having to educate yourself on the condition, it is such a fulfilling thing to do… For me, with Peaches, to see him happy, no matter how much money I had to spend on him, it’s worth it.”
— Edward Fraser
(Annex Cat Rescue has many special needs cats available for adoption. Meg, ACR’s photography coordinator, is happy to speak with anyone to give them more information on what it takes to care for a cat with epilepsy.)