Sally the Mermaid Cat Shows How Incredible the Bond With a Special Needs Pet Can Be
Janez Jeretič and his cat Sally are using their Instagram account @SallyMermaidCat to inspire pet parents (and potential owners) one adorable post at a time. On the account, followers enjoy frequent updates of Sally all dressed up as her mermaid alter-ego, a look that's inspired by the cozy mermaid tail her dad made for her.
"I decided to put her in a mermaid tail because to me she was always like a little mermaid," Jeretič tells Daily Paws. "She couldn't move her back legs but she looks so graceful and beautiful."
Sally is paraplegic and cannot move from the neck down, and Jeretič hopes to use their social media following to inspire others to give special needs pets a chance. He says that the mermaid tail began as a way for him to show the world a side of Sally that's happy and curious—so much more than the tragic backstory about her injury.
"I wanted to show that having a special needs pet can be a very magical and positive thing," Jeretič says.
Jeretič brought Sally home about eight years ago, after finding her while he was walking around in a park. When he initially found Sally, he thought she had passed away, but realized she was still alive when she began to move her front paws. A distraught Jeretič rushed the kitty to the vet, where an x-ray discovered Sally had been struck by a bullet and was now paralyzed from the neck down.
Jeretič says that while it was clear from the beginning that Sally belonged with him, but the first month at home together was the roughest for him and the newly paralyzed cat. The day he found the sweet long-haired calico was the day she had been injured, which meant he was with her as she took the time to get used to a new way of moving her body. But the experience taught them both patience as she learned to maneuver and he learned to care for an animal with special needs.
"It's really enlightening to take care of something else in your life other than you," says Jeretič.
It's clear the bond these two share is a special one. As for other potential pet parents who are considering whether they might be the right fit for an animal with disabilities, Jeretič has some advice for their first few days together. "For somebody who just adopted a special needs pet, I would tell them just take your time. Get to see what works for you and your pet. It's OK if you don't know everything in the beginning, it's always going to be a process."