This past weekend, I met a very special cat. I had first heard of Moki when he was on Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats, and the story of this little cat with severe neurological problems touched my heart then. I never thought I’d get to meet Moki in person. And I certainly didn’t expect to meet him at a pet blogging conference.
Moki’s human, Crystal Fogg, first met Moki at a shelter where she was volunteering in 2007. The almost feral kitten was about 3 months old, and needed to be socialized. Crystal agreed to foster him, but since she already had seven cats at the time, she had no intention of keeping him.
A few weeks later, Moki developed a severe upper respiratory condition. Despite intensive care at an emergency veterinary hospital, Moki continued to get worse. He eventually recovered, but the illness had left him with severe neurological damage. The doctors told Crystal that Moki would never be able to sit up, walk, or eat on his own again.
Crystal wasn’t willing to give up on Moki, and decided to take him home. Within days, Crystal had Moki sitting up and eating on his own, and with lots of hard work, she managed to get him walking. He doesn’t walk like a normal cat; he wobbles and falls over every few steps, but it was still more progress than anyone had expected.
Five years later, Moki has been through numerous tests at various specialty practices, including the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Nobody can identify the exact nature of the problem. Vets have yet to determine whether the virus that caused the upper respiratory condition may have caused his neurological problems, or even which virus it was.
But Moki is still going strong. He receives intense physical therapy and acupuncture several times a week. Crystal gives him subcutaneous fluids and Tamiflu (an antiviral drug) every day. His medical costs are ongoing, and they’re high. Crystal is a student, and does not have the means to provide this level of care on an ongoing basis, but this hasn’t deterred her from finding ways to get Moki the care he needs. In addition to private fundraisers, she received help from Scout’s Animal Rehab Therapy Fund, an organization that underwrites the cost of physical therapy with special needs. She now works for Scout’s Fund as their Social Media Director.
Thanks to Crystal’s unwavering dedication and love, this little cat has a chance at life – and in the process, he’s transforming the lives of everyone he meets.
At first glance, it is jarring to watch Moki try to walk and wobble and fall over. I’ll be honest, when I first saw Moki after Crystal put him on the grassy area in the hotel’s courtyard, I couldn’t help but wonder whether this cat is suffering. Even after listening to Crystal talk about his story, and watching the light in her eyes as she did, I still asked myself whether this was a case of a cat guardian being unable to let go of a beloved cat. But once I connected with his huge spirit, there was no doubt in my mind that this little cat is not only happy, he’s a cat with a purpose.
With Crystal’s permission, I picked Moki up to hold him. I have no words for the rush of emotion I felt as I cuddled this little cat to me. The energy coming off Moki was absolutely amazing. It was impossible to not be touched by his spirit. There were several other people with me, and as we passed Moki around, I could tell that everyone else felt something similar. Faces softened. Smiles got brighter. The energy around our little group practically radiated with love.
With Crystal’s help, Moki has become a spokes cat for special needs animals, with a particular emphasis on using complimentary and alternative forms of veterinary medicine. You can learn more about Moki on his website or on his Facebook page.
All photos © Ingrid King
Mews and Nips will return next week.