Saturday, July 14, 2012

Moki the Wobbly Cat: Changing The Word Disabled

My photo of Moki at BlogPaws SLC 2012. Showing all the cat ladies his grass walking skills!

This blog is coming to you live, from one of the hottest days in June (June 29, '12), as well as the worst storm of the summer in Northern Virginia - which was later known as a derecho. Writing by my Hello Kitty lantern in the dark, I am telling you about a special little soul that I had the pleasure of meeting at BlogPaws in June.

Disability. It’s a word that many people, many Americans, many pets such as cats and dogs are associated with.  It is a word that comes with a stigma, words like handicapped and unable are often mentioned with disability.

Want to know some words not associated with disability? Moki the Wobbly Cat. Moki, a differently abled cat, is a little brown tabby who overcame all odds to live to his fifth birthday.

A little background about Moki...

My photo of Moki - BlogPaws SLC 2012
Moki’s owner, Crystal Fogg, took Moki in as a feral kitten. When he was all of three months old, he developed a virus that caused a neurological disorder. Moki has been to multiple vets, including the vets at UC Davis (and on an unrelated note – they have worked very hard on FIP research), and even they have not been able to diagnose what caused the neurological disorder. It is possible it was a virus caused from a strain of the Panleukopenia vaccine, but there is no evidence proving this speculation.

I had the pleasure of meeting Moki and his mom Crystal at BlogPaws on June 21-23, 2012. I was so excited that Moki was attending the conference. I had seen Moki on an episode of Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats, where I learned about Moki’s condition and the rehabilitation he does.  Moki does acupuncture – or acupoky as he calls it – as well as hydrotherapy (in water!!) and other climbing therapies to help his muscles in his legs. Crystal works at the non-profit foundation Scout’s Animal Rehab Therapy Fund, which helps underwrite therapy for service animals. Moki gets his therapy at Scouts House.
I even got to hold Moki!
Mom and Moki

If you had heard about Moki and his condition, you might call him disabled, but he is not disabled, but differently abled.  What does that mean? I have to explain it to you in my own personal story.

My late grandfather, Lester Shubin was a WWII veteran, and the developer of the Kevlar © Bulletproof Vest. He always struggled with disabilities, but none as great as becoming a double leg amputee. And of course, when you’re in a wheel chair, spending oodles of time in therapy and learning how to drive with hand controls – the word disabled rings in your ears. And I’ll admit, at first to me, my grandfather was seriously disabled.

But after meeting Moki this past summer, I realize my grandfather – like Moki – was not disabled, but differently abled. Just because he was confined to a wheel chair, didn’t mean he wasn’t going to learn how to drive a car again. So he had a red Cadillac SUV installed with hand controls that he drove, up until the day he died.

Moki’s message of being differently abled is the best message anyone could send to handicapable people and pets, all over the world.  Meeting Moki opened my eyes to the abilities of differently abled people and pets, and how they really are just like anyone else.

Check Moki out on Facebook & his website!


  1. BRAVO! Very well done Rachel. Will post to IHC! xo

  2. Thanks so much Rachel for sharing my story. It was such a pleasure meeting you and your Mom! I had a total blast sitting outside and can't wait until we can meet up again! <3 Moki and Mom Crystal

  3. I am SO jealous you got to hold Moki! Thanks for writing about him and his awesome mom, Crystal!

  4. Loved your blog thanks for posting. I just love that little furbaby Moki, he is awesome!