When Leslie Silvestri-Snyder first saw Shakira at Humane Society Naples, she knew choosing to foster her was an easy decision to make. Leslie says about first meeting Sharkia, “She had been in a small enclosure for several weeks and she was kind of a mess. What I noticed is how loving she is and how she would purr when I would wrap her up in a towel to snuggle.” While the decision to care for a cat like Shakira was easily made, the actual care has its differences from typical cat care.
Shakira was diagnosed with Manx Syndrome upon arrival to HSN. “It’s a condition where the end of the spinal cord doesn’t form appropriately, resulting in neurological deficits to the hind end. There is a lack of innervation (nerve supply) to various body parts,” says Dr. John Morton, HSN Medical Director. “It seems that the most common are the bladder, colon/rectum, and perineal region, but can also affect the hind legs. There is no cure or medical intervention that will resolve any of these problems. This is a disease of supportive care and management – diapers, cleaning the hind end, preventing and treating secondary UTIs.”
“Timing and routine are everything,” says foster mom Leslie who has been fostering Shakira for the past few months. A typical day with Shakira looks like:
- Wake up, feed and change diaper
- Play time and run errands (since Shakira doesn’t use a litter box she makes for a great errand companion)
- Change diaper around noon
- Naked naptime (a.k.a. diaperless)
- New diaper after nap then play time
- Change diaper
- Bedtime with snuggles
Shakira loves her foster family, including her canine siblings, and shows her appreciation for all of their care with plenty of snuggles. She is patient with her diaper changes and loves to hang out on the couch while watching television.
Now that Shakira is old enough, Humane Society Naples and foster mom Leslie are hoping to find a permanent home for her. “My hope is that Shakira lives a long and healthy life in a loving forever family,” says Leslie. Both HSN and Leslie are committed to helping Shakira and her future family transition from shelter-life to home-life.
When it comes to special needs animals like Shakira, executive director Sarah Baeckler said, “HSN is proud to be able to say “yes” when many other shelters have to say “no” to animals with special needs. We rely on our community to join us in saying “yes” by opening your hearts and homes to animals with special needs. You’ll never be sorry.”
If you are interested in meeting Shakira or learning more about her, please email email@example.com or call (239) 643-1555. You can also follow Shakira’s journey on her Instagram page: https://instagram.com/shakirathediaperkitten
There is no more personal and impactful way to help animals than by becoming a foster, and Humane Society Naples has a variety of foster opportunities to help save more lives. From giving a momma and her litter a place to crash while they grow, to opening your home to an under-socialized animal, to giving an animal a peaceful place to recover from major surgery – there are many ways to foster and every one means the world to a shelter animal in need. If you are interested in learning more about fostering with HSN, visit hsnaples.org/foster.