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MAC & The DiPaolos

Lauren DiPaolo is an advocate for special needs cats. She became passionate about cats as a child, but unfortunately her family weren’t “cat people”. At the age 6, with some tears and persuading, she changed her parents views and together they began rescuing cats. 

At age 15 she crossed paths with two special needs cats that needed homes. She couldn’t believe how quickly people felt that they had no quality of life or should be euthanized just because of a missing leg, deafness or a heart murmur. So, she adopted both. From that day forward Lauren’s mission to prove that “different” is ok, became top priority.

Lauren has done various TV shows including Good Day New York, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, The Early Show, Fox & Friends, The Weather Channel, Movin’ Up and more. 

Lauren and her husband Joe DiPaolo (who was also “not a cat person” when they started dating, is now the ultimate Cat Dad) use their social media account @littleman_mika to help raise awareness and change the views on adopting a less adoptable.


Their current crew includes:

*Little Man with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (#littlerocks)

*Mika with Microphthalmia in both eyes (#theblindbeauty)

*Mac, who was featured on Jackson Galaxy’s Animal Planet segment “My Cat From Heaven”, has Cardiomyopathy, Mega Esophagus, eye herpes, a cleft palette, and half a notril (#macthegremlin)

*Leela with Microphthalmia in one eye (#badassleela)

*YoYo the blind baby with Microphthalmia (#yoyothemagnificent)

*Selita who is missing her two back legs and most of her tail (#selitatheseal) 

(photo: @littleman_mika)



Sophie is an aspiring meowdel and an outspoken ambassador for black cats at She is best known for her sassy sense of humor, her fashion sense and her enormous "pizza paddles" i.e. her huge polydactyl paws. She enjoys soaking up the rays on her catio, photo shoots, speaking out against negative stereotypes about black cats, and going for long walks in the woods of North Jersey with her human, Jennifer. (photo: @sophie_the_model)


Donny is part of a big, beautiful, diverse feline family in Long Island, NY. He is living proof that special needs cats can live full joyful lives, as he does with Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH) and blindness. He has two adopted siblings who also have CH and four blind siblings. You can watch their wonderful wobbly adventures on their catio via their Instagram account where they have 70,000+.



Two of his siblings are former fosters of Beth Stern, and Donny's human, Susan, is a huge advocate for adopting and loving special needs cats. Susan will be joining Donny for an informal discussion about caring for special needs cats. 
(photo: @blossom_and_her_family)



Gorgeous George's distinctive smile was the result of his being attack by another animal while he was a stray kitten, before he met his forever family. George now lives a life of love with his adopted brothers and sisters in Scranton, PA. George and his family advocate for kitties deemed "less adoptable" like George himself, as well as fostering via their Instagram account with over 50,000 followers.   

(photo: @mycat_george)


Dr. Liz Bales

Locally-based veterinarian of 18 years, Dr. Liz Bales, VMD,  has a special interest in the unique behavioral and wellness needs of cats, including environmental enrichment. Dr. Bales was featured as an expert in feline medicine on the 2017 series Natural Pets TV - The Cat Edition, and shared her expertise on the natural feeding behavior of cats in her 2017 Pet-X Talk. Bales has also contributed to Modern Cat Magazine, and Cat Talk magazine, in addition to writing her own blog, She is also the founder of Doc and Phoebe’s Cat Company, and the inventor of The Indoor Hunting Feeder for cats.


Bales will lead a Q&A session addressing common feline behavioral problems as well as speaking about the bowl-free feeding system she invented. 

(photo courtesy Dr. Liz Bales)





Cosgrove was rescued from Puerto Rico by the Save a Sato organization in May of  2015. He was living on the street for about 3 years before coming to the US where he was cared for by the Providence Animal Center in Media, PA. Their vets made the decision to remove his painfully infected eyes and he was lovingly fostered by foster mom extraordinaire, Serena Boleto (@veggiedayz) while he recovered from surgery and waited for his furever home.

Cosgrove lives in Rose Valley, PA and is known to his 25k IG followers as The Great and Powerful Cos. He's friendly, snuggly and smart - you might never know he can't see. In fact, you might believe he has some very special cat powers! You will not want to miss meeting this charming guy! 
(photo: Sarah Gaspero @tuleyaphotography)



Brandy Ferdig

The Paw Project's mission is to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to
rehabilitate cats that have been declawed.

Brandy Ferdig is a lifelong animal advocate, vowing at 4-years-old to never eat chicken once she made the connection between the bird on Old McDonald’s Farm and the slab of meat on her plate. Twenty years ago, after being encouraged by her veterinarian to declaw her cats, Brandy made an uneducated decision that she will forever regret. Her work with the Paw Project is her way of helping animal lovers like her avoid making a decision that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. She is currently starting her own animal rescue, Crooked Tails Senior Rescue, in order to give senior and hospice dogs and cats the golden years they deserve.



Cherie Abline & Herbie

Cherie Abline has worked in the veterinary field for 15 years, happily having worked as a veterinary technician in general practice, emergency, veterinary specialty hospitals, and currently as a Veterinary Client Communications Specialist and Patient Advocate which focuses on educating people on health care for cats at The Cat Doctor in Philly. She has a vast knowledge of feline health and behavior, with a special interest in senior cats and cats with special needs. Cherie currently has 7 cats, all rescues, with varying degrees of special needs including a paraplegic kitty and a blind kitty. 

Herbie is her "special little dude" that has feline cerebellar hypoplasia; also known as CH or "wobbly cat syndrome". Feline cerebellar hypoplasia is a non-progressive, non-contagious neurological condition that results in walking and balance problems. Herbie's original owner passed away and he was bequeathed to Cherie in his owner's will. Previously, he could barely walk a couple feet without falling over, now (with a lot of training, patience) he can navigate up and down their steep staircase on his own with ease AND he can walk much further without falling over. He has gained so much independence. 




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