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Cold Stare, Warm Heart: Meet Wolfie the Paraplegic Persian

Discarded at a vet's office, he now helps raise awareness about the dangers of breeding.

Keith Bowers  |  Apr 28th 2016


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Wolfie the Persian cat was born with a severe deformity.

“He basically pulls his body around with his front legs,” says Linda Oroz, the South Florida woman whose family adopted him two years ago.

Wolfie’s back legs are in a hard, straight position all the time, she says, and X-rays revealed they’re not connected to his hips.

Oroz found Wolfie while visiting her vet’s office to pick up medication for her rescue Pomeranian.

“This little thing was crawling on the floor and it was Wolfie,” she says. “He had big sad green eyes and he had horribly matted fur. He was scooting around in the back on his little bum and it just broke my heart.”

The vet had talked a breeder into leaving Wolfie at the office so staffers could help find him a home. They knew he was being neglected with the breeder, who couldn’t sell him.

“He was about four pounds. He was in terrible condition,” Oroz says. “I’m so sensitive. I just started crying.”

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All images via Instagram

But the tears are gone, and Wolfie has a happy life alongside Teddy the Pomeranian (who also has an Instagram account) as well as another cat named Kitty.

“He has a very funny personality,” Oroz says. “He’s very laid back. I would say he’s almost like a dog in some ways. He’d never had much attention. He loves being carried and things like that. He’s very demanding. He meows and talks.”

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Here’s an attempt to match Wolfie’s stare.

Wolfie was two years old when he was adopted; now he’s four. His weight has increased to almost nine pounds.

“He’s really happy. He’s not aware of his disability,” Oroz says. “He just sits and meows when he wants to go somewhere. If he wants to get up on the kitchen counter he’ll scratch the bottom of the drawer and we’ll just have to go over there and pick him up because he’s the boss.”

Notice a resemblance?

The boss indeed! Notice a resemblance?

Oroz has adapted a litter-box system for Wolfie — “We have a box with a lower edge on the front, so he gets in fine” — but because he can’t groom himself and has mobility problems, “he does get a lot of butt-baths.”

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Wolfie and Kitty.

The lack of grooming ability is the reason Oroz keeps Wolfie’s fur so short.

“I’ve had comments on Instagram ‘Why do you keep cutting him, it’s not good for him,'” Oroz says. “But he just has to, you know? He gets knotted fur. Because of the way his legs are shaped, he can’t get in there and groom it.”

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Wolfie and Teddy.

As for relations between Wolfie and the other fur kids in the house, Oroz says they’re great — with the occasional skirmish.

“He is the sweetest thing in the world,” she says. “Our dog who is sick and half blind loves him. He is a bit feisty with our cat. … They play, and when he gets blocked because he can’t run away … he’ll meow and I have to come over like a mother and break it up. Other than that they get along great.”

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Her thoughts on the adoption?

“He’s changed our life — it’s more work, but he’s given us so much back,” Oroz says. “He’s such an amazing cat. You can see it through his videos and pictures. He’s just such a special personality. He’s just a joy to be around.”

As for putting Wolfie on Instagram, that has a lot to do with where he came from.

“People think ‘I want a Persian,’ and they go to a breeder, but there’s so many cats out there who deserve loving homes,” she says. “People say ‘He’s beautiful, I would love to adopt him,’ but they would probably never go to a shelter to look for one like him.”

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We hope Wolfie helps more people find the concept of “adopt, don’t shop.”

“That’s kind of why I started [the Instagram account],” Oroz says, “to show that you can have a normal life with a disabled pet too.”

Catster writer Heather Marcoux contributed to this story.