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Chlamydia Rates Are at an All-Time High, but You Really Shouldn’t Worry

The Basics Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that's sexually transmitted (similar to gonorrhea or syphilis). It's also one of the most common STIs—and it's showing no signs of slowing down. Reported cases in the U.S. just reached an all-time high: 1.5 million in 2015. "Chlamydia is the one I see most," says Gil Weiss, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern Medical. "It definitely reflects the national statistic." How You Get It You can get chlamydia from having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who's infected. What's It Like? The good news: Chlamydia often doesn’t have any painful symptoms. The bad news: For most people, there are no symptoms at all, and you can still pass it on even if you’re asymptomatic. The good news: Chlamydia often doesn’t have any painful symptoms. "Asymptomatic women with an unsuspected case of chlamydia [can be] traumatized—especially when they come in for routine STI screening and I need to call them with the bad news," says Sherry Ross, M.D., an OB/GYN and women's health expert. Weiss also said that at least half the chlamydia cases he sees come as a complete surprise to the patient, because they didn't have any symptoms. That said, some people do experience abdominal pain, painful urination, and a discharge from the penis or vagina (ew, we know). How Serious Is It? Like many other STIs, chlamydia is easy to treat. However it can lead to more serious issues (inflammation of the urethra in men, pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility in women) if you don’t get it taken care of. Weiss also says that antibiotic-resistant strains of chlamydia are not as common as those of gonorrhea, which is comforting. What Can I Do? Practice safe sex and get tested. "Condoms are not consistently used with newly sexually active couples," Ross says. "So it doesn’t come as a complete surprise to me when chlamydia or gonorrhea are found on routine cultures and Pap smears." If you find out you have it, take your antibiotics as prescribed and you’ll be good in as little as a week. You will need to wait at least another seven days until you can have sex again—and make sure your partner gets treated too. Remember that just because you get it once doesn't mean you're immune. More good news: Scientists are working on a potential vaccine, but they’re at least four or five years away from testing it on humans. The number of people infected with three major STDs, including chlamydia, is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD.

Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out If You Get Herpes

The Basics Herpes is a super-common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus, of which there are two kinds: type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Though genital herpes is frequently caused by HSV-2 and oral herpes (think cold sores) is caused by HSV-1, researchers have noticed that HSV-1 can also lead to genital herpes. 0 Regardless, most people don’t know if they have either type, because symptoms are often mild or nonexistent. As a result, almost 90 percent of people who have herpes don’t know it. The CDC estimates that 776,000 people get new herpes infections every year. How You Get It “Herpes is very, very common,” says Raquel Dardik, M.D., an OB/GYN at NYU Langone Medical Center. You usually get HSV-1 from nonsexual contact when you're a kid, whereas HSV-2 typically gets transmitted during sexual contact with someone who has genital herpes. With HSV-2, it's also way easier for men to transfer the virus to women, as opposed to the other way around. Though getting diagnosed can cause anger or shame—or even make you question whether your partner has been cheating—remember most people who have herpes don’t know they do. “If someone has a herpes genital outbreak, you treat the disease, but the virus stays in the nerves in that area," Dardik says. "And you can shed the herpes without having an outbreak.” This is called asymptomatic shedding. In other words, your partner may have passed it to you, not knowing he or she had it in the first place. One more thing: "If you have cold sores [type 1] and get exposed to type 2, your reaction will be quite moderate," says Gil Weiss, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "If you already have one type of herpes, you may be immune to the other." What’s It Like? Nothing! Unless you’re having a herpes outbreak, you won’t see anything different in the mirror. If you do have an outbreak, it usually means a painful sore will appear on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. After about four days, the sore may break open and can take up to four weeks to heal. "If you go online [and Google herpes], you'll see very dramatic pictures," Weiss says. "But most people have very mild symptoms or don't know they have it." How Serious Is It? If by serious, you mean incurable, then yes, herpes is serious. But if serious means significantly impacting your day to day, then nope, herpes isn’t that serious. “My patients are often most upset about herpes,” Dardik says. “There seems to some real emotional stigma there. Even if your partner tests positive for the virus, it might be awkward up front but might not have any permanent impact on the relationship,” Dardik says. Even if your partner tests positive for the virus, it might not have any permanent impact on the relationship. Genital herpes does make it easier to contract and spread the HIV virus. And it can have more serious complications for pregnant women. So if you’re pregnant and have a history of genital herpes, you should talk to your doc. What Can I Do? Though herpes is pretty common, it’s not part of a routine STI panel. Doctors don’t like to test without symptoms because of the potential for false positives. If you do have symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting a herpes blood test (a type-specific HSV serologic test). Most doctors will prescribe acyclovir or valacyclovir (a.k.a Valtrex), daily antiviral medications that can reduce outbreaks and even help suppress genital herpes so it’s not passed as easily. Using condoms can also help reduce your chances of spreading or getting the herpes virus. But they're not 100 percent effective, since you can still transmit the virus even if you're not experiencing symptoms. And if you're having an outbreak, it's best to abstain from sex entirely. Researchers have been looking for a potential cure or vaccine for years. Most recently a company called Rational Vaccines completed a promising first phase of human clinical trials testing a vaccine called Theravax. But they’re not the only ones looking for a cure. In June 2016, another vaccine, simply dubbed GEN 003, completed its phase II trials with similar so-far-so-good results. A cure or vaccine would be huge for the one in six people who have genital herpes. Until then, we suggest sticking to open, honest convos with your partners. The number of people infected with three major STDs is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD. Works Cited Trends in herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 seroprevalence in the United States. Xu F, Sternberg MR, Kottiri BJ. JAMA, 2006, Aug.;296(8):1538-3598.

Gonorrhea Is (Probably) Not the End of the World, but Here’s Why You Should Get Tested

The Basics There are several theories on why gonorrhea is called "the clap." Some say docs referred to gonorrhea as "the collapse" during WWII and that "the clap" is a shortened version (or mispronunciation of) that. Others claim it's from a barbaric treatment that involved literally clapping the penis to get rid of the pus. Ouch. Whatever its nickname's origin, gonorrhea is pretty common—and it's only becoming more so. The CDC estimates that about 820,000 people get it—but less than half of those cases are actually reported. How You Get It Gonorrhea is sexually transmitted, meaning you can get it during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. (That’s because the bacteria lives in those areas.) You can't get it from casual contact (hugging or holding hands) with someone who has it. About 820,000 people get gonorrhea—but less than half of those cases are actually reported. What’s It Like? In the beginning, most people—especially women—don’t have any symptoms. If you do, they can appear one day to two weeks after the infection starts. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, pain during sex or urination, and, yes, pus or discharge from the genitals. How Serious Is It? Here’s the thing: Gonorrhea is usually treatable with antibiotics. But if you don’t know you have it, don’t get tested, or for some reason decide to ignore your symptoms, it can lead to more serious complications, such as infertility in men and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can also lead to infertility issues. What Can I Do? Use a condom and get tested frequently. "For bacterial or viral infections, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, we treat them with antivirals or antibiotics," says Raquel Dardik, M.D., an OB/GYN at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Most STIs are sensitive to antibiotics or antivirals—you don't even need to do follow-up tests to make sure [the patient] was 'adequately' treated." It's true: As long as you catch it early, you'll take antibiotics—usually two (like ciprofloxacin and azithromycin) and get on with your (safer sex) life. That said, you may have heard about "super gonorrhea," drug-resistant forms that can't be treated with current antibiotics. The CDC is working to slow the spread of this bacteria, and the WHO issued a release in late August 2016 urging new gonorrhea treatment guidelines that use stronger antibiotics. The number of people infected with three major STDs, including gonorrhea, is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD.

The STI That Almost Disappeared but Is Back in Full Force

The Basics You might be thinking: No one actually gets syphilis anymore, right? Wrong. While syphilis all but disappeared in the early 2000s, it's been on the rise ever since. In fact, the number of syphilis cases in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2005 to 2013—and was even higher in 2015 (the highest since it's been since the 90s). The good thing is syphilis can be cured if it's caught early enough. But if you don't get treated, it can cause serious health problems and even death. How You Get It You get syphilis by coming into contact with a syphilis sore or rash during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Though syphilis is much more common in men, in particular gay and bisexual men, women aren't immune. And because syphilis can be spread from a mother to her unborn baby, it's especially important for women to protect themselves and get tested. What’s It Like? Syphilis has so many different symptoms that it earned the nickname the "great imitator." This, of course, makes it difficult to pin down. Syphilis has so many different symptoms that it earned the nickname the 'great imitator.' The primary stage usually involves a small, painless sore (called a chancre) on your vagina, anus, penis, or scrotum. Most people just get one, making it easy to miss. The sore is extremely contagious but will go away on its own after about three to six weeks. Because syphilis sores disappear, people don't always get tested. The secondary stage is a little more obvious. Instead of a single sore, you'll get multiples—or a rough, red or brownish rash—on one or more parts of the body. Just like the primary stage, the rash will go away without treatment. "With this stage of syphilis, the symptoms become more generalized," says Yesmean Wahdan, M.D., the associate medical director of Bayer Women's Healthcare. "Patients will have fever, swollen glands, malaise, sore throat, and visual impairment." Once that clears up, there's the latent stage—called so because there are no symptoms, sometimes for years. But without treatment, it may return. Late-stage syphilis, which can happen 10 to 20 years after that initial sore, is more persistent and even less pleasant—but only about 15 percent of people with syphilis actually get to this point. This is the scary part, when the disease starts to affect your internal organs—the brain, nerves, heart, and joints—and can eventually cause paralysis, gradual blindness, dementia, and death. How Serious Is It? Unfortunately, this is a serious one, especially because it's easy to miss or ignore. What Can I Do? Talk to your partner and practice safe sex. "Prevention is the best defense against STIs like syphilis," says Sherry Ross, M.D., a gynecologist based in Santa Monica. "Male and female condoms can help reduce your risk." But because sores can pop up in places not covered by a condom, protection isn't 100 percent guaranteed. Luckily, syphilis is easily treated with penicillin. Again, it's important to catch it early, since antibiotics can't reverse any of the damage already done by the disease. If you're getting treated, don't start having sex again until your sores have healed. It's also important to note that getting syphilis once doesn't make you immune; you can get it again. The number of people infected with three major STDs, including syphilis, is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD.

What to Know About HIV and AIDS in 2016

The Basics Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an incurable virus that weakens the immune system by attacking the body's T-cells (a type of white blood cell that helps ward off diseases, bacteria, and viruses). If not aggressively treated, HIV can cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). How You Get It HIV is not spread as easily as some other STDs. It's transmitted through bodily fluids: semen, pre-ejaculate, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, blood, and breast milk. However these fluids must come in direct contact with a person's mucous membrane (a layer of skin that lines body openings like the nose or mouth). This is why people often get HIV through unprotected anal, vaginal, or (rarely) oral sex. Unprotected anal sex is particularly risky, especially if you're receiving. It's also possible to spread the virus if one of the fluids comes in contact with damaged tissue (like through a cut or an open sore) or the bloodstream. You might recall that in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, there was a lot of concern about blood transfusions. But in 1985, they started testing all blood donations for HIV, so any blood you receive at a hospital is safe. What’s It Like? The first two to four weeks after being infected, you'll probably feel fluish. Symptoms can range from fever, chills, and fatigue to muscle aches or a sore throat. These will eventually disappear, and you'll enter the clinical latency period—also called chronic HIV infection—during which you may not have any symptoms at all. This stage can last anywhere from 10 years to several decades, depending on whether you're on meds. The third and final phase is AIDS, which causes more flu-like symptoms—chills, fever, weakness—and weight loss. People with AIDS are also more susceptible to other illnesses because their immune systems are so damaged. Without treatment, they can expect to live about three years. How Serious Is It? OK, now that all that scary stuff is out of the way, we can talk about HIV and AIDS in 2016. While HIV is still a very real threat, things have also changed a lot since the 80s and 90s. "People who have HIV can go on to have normal, healthy sexual relationships," says Yesmean Wahdan, M.D., associate medical director at Bayer Women's Healthcare. "It's just a matter of staying on top of your treatment regimen and having the conversation with your partner about your condition." People who have HIV can go on to have normal, healthy sexual relationships. If HIV is caught early and the infected person is started on antiretroviral therapy (ART), their viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) can become undetectable, making it hard to pass on to another person when practicing safe sex. What Can I Do? Practice safe sex, abstain from intravenous drug use, and use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) if you're at risk of getting HIV. "The best defense is a good offense," says Sherry Ross, M.D., a women's health expert based in Santa Monica. "Researchers think PrEP could be a public health strategy to control widespread epidemics of common STIs." PrEP is a combination of two medicines—tenofovir and emtricitabine—that helps block the infection. Taken correctly, it can lower your risk of getting HIV by 90 percent. However, it is not a vaccine, and while it's not 100 percent foolproof, it is light-years ahead of where we were only a few decades ago. The number of people infected with three major STDs is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD.

1 in 4 People Have HPV, but What Is It Really?

The Basics The fact is nearly all people who are sexually active will come in contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV) at one point in their lives. After all, it's the most common STI on earth. There are roughly 100 strains of HPV out there, but only about 40 of them infect the genital area—and even fewer are considered serious. 0 How You Get It You can contract HPV through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and it can even be passed by a person who's asymptomatic (which is pretty common—more on that below). HPV, along with herpes, is one of the few STIs that can bypass the latex barrier of a condom and infect a person through skin-to-skin contact. "If your partner is a known carrier of HPV and wears a condom, you can still catch this contagious virus," says Sherry Ross, M.D., a gynecologist based in Santa Monica. What's It Like? Here’s the tough part about HPV: There are usually no symptoms. At least two types of HPV (types 6 and 11) can cause genital warts (in fact, 90 percent of all genital warts are caused by those strains). But for most of the nearly 80 million people living with the infection, there are no signs. For most of the nearly 80 million people living with the infection, there are no signs. How Serious Is It? Most of the time HPV clears up on its own and doesn't cause any health issues. But if you've seen a Gardasil commercial, you're probably aware of its connection to cancer. Each year HPV causes about 30,700 cases of cancer, more commonly in woman than in men. Cervical cancer is the one that gets the most attention, but other rarer cancers—penile, anal, vaginal—also have strong associations with HPV. For instance, about 5,010 people are diagnosed with anal cancer each year, and about 91 percent of those cases are caused by HPV. One more thing: The types of HPV that cause genital warts are not cancerous. So though you might not like the way they look, technically, they're less serious. What Can I Do? Here's the great news: HPV has a vaccine. Gardasil, which protects against the strains that most commonly cause cancer or genital warts, has been available since 2006. There's also Cervarix and Gardasil-9—both of which protect against even more strains of HPV. “HPV was not even on the radar for sexually active women and men 30 years ago," Ross says. "Now the HPV vaccine is part of the health care narrative for young girls and boys.” It's recommended that children ages 11 to 12 get two doses of the vaccine, whereas people who get it later (ages 15 to 26) need the whole three-dose series. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get a Pap test and/or HPV test every three to five years, depending on what your doc recommends. The number of people infected with three major STDs is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD. Works Cited Classification of papillomaviruses. de Villiers EM, Fauquet C, Broker TR. Virology, 2004, Jul.;324(1):0042-6822.

How to Reduce Your Chances of Getting an STI and Still Have a Sex Life

Sex shouldn’t be scary. In fact, when done correctly, it should feel the exact opposite of scary. Still, the threat of getting an STI is enough to make anyone a little gun-shy. (And hey, if you're choosing to not have sex, that's fine too! After all, it's the only foolproof way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.) But let's get real: You shouldn't let the possibility of getting an STI scare you off from having sex. While some are harder to catch than others, staying safe is mostly a matter of common sense and, well, condoms. Whether you're in a monogamous relationship or dating around, there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself healthy. Talk to Your Partner There’s no government-mandated instruction manual on how to talk about STIs with your partner. It's probably going be awkward. But you know what’s more awkward than asking about gonorrhea? Getting gonorrhea. “Millennials are more accustomed to using condoms and having the ‘STI conversation’ before jumping into bed,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., a gynecologist and women's health expert based in Santa Monica. Stay Safe As we mentioned before, the only way to guarantee you won’t get an STI is to not have sex. But there are options. "Every day, I counsel women of all ages on the importance of safe-sex practices," Ross says. "The conversation always includes how condoms can help prevent the most common STIs—though it is not a guarantee.” It's true: Condoms are not an ironclad way to stay safe, especially if you’re using the lambskin kind, which only protect against pregnancy. But chances of staying protected with latex and polyurethane condoms are high (just not perfect). Proper condom use is great at stopping chlamydia, gonorrhea, trich, and HIV. HPV and herpes, however, are transferred through skin-to-skin contact, so they can both be passed even with if you're using condoms correctly. “Most men do not have symptoms, and there is not a test to know if men carry HPV,” says Yvonne Bohn, M.D., a gynecologist with over 17 years of experience. “That’s something that separates HPV from harder-to-get STIs like HIV. HPV can be spread easily even with a condom, making protected vaginal, anal, or oral sex just as risky.” What about other forms of protection? Well, despite what some people think, douching does not protect against STIs. Same goes for urinating after sex, showering, or taking Plan B. A female condom is around 95 percent effective when used correctly (pretty close to the 98 percent success rate of male condoms), so there's no reason to skip safety even if penises aren't involved. Get Tested We get how embarrassing it can be to request a test from your doc, but believe us, doctors have seen everything. Some are even working to change the process so that the patient must explicitly say no to getting tested rather than the other way around. Sayonara, uncomfortable questions! "Some health care providers and some in the CDC are pushing for a more universal approach to chlamydia," says Cherrell Triplett, M.D., an OB/GYN and women's health expert. "So when a patient comes in for her annual exam, you just do a screening if they're in that target population [i.e., under 25 years old]." But until that becomes the standard, it's on you to ask your health care provider. The CDC and Planned Parenthood recommend getting testing at least once per year, but like most things in the realm of sexuality, it's up to you. "I leave it to my patient," says Gil Weiss, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern Medical. "But whenever you're finishing a relationship and starting a new relationship, it's not a bad idea to get tested." Same goes for if you suspect you were being cheated on; just be honest with yourself and get tested. Some STIs are easy to test for: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis only require a swab of the genital area or a urine sample. HIV, herpes, and syphilis can be found with a blood test. And a few STIs with visible symptoms—like a herpes outbreak—can occasionally be diagnosed on the spot. Where to Get Tested Planned Parenthood is probably the best-known spot, and it’s easy to find a nearby location via its website. A complete guide to free or nearly free testing sites can also be found on the CDC’s website. Likewise, testing info is usually available on your city’s health department website. NYC, L.A., Chicago, Miami, and Houston, for instance, all offer STD screening services at multiple locations. Will my parents find out? Will people label me if they know? Confidentiality goes hand in hand with STI testing. "If a patient is under their parent’s insurance, sometimes they ask, 'Will my parents find out?' or, 'Will people label me if they know?'" Triplett says. The reality is: Most of the time no one will know except you, your doc, and (hopefully) your partner, even if you're covered by Obamacare or on your parents' insurance. That said, laws do vary from state to state. Only one state (Iowa) requires physicians to notify parents if a minor has a positive HIV result. In several states, physicians may inform parents, but they're not required to. And as soon as you're over 18, you're on your own. If You Have an STI First, don't freak out. Not every STI diagnosis is the end of the world. STIs do make it easier to contract HIV—and can lead to more serious health complications if left untreated—but many (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, for example) are treatable with antibiotics. HPV is slightly more complicated. Some strains will clear up on their own; others (more rarely) can cause cervical or anal cancer. But the fact is around 80 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, so it's nearly unavoidable. Fortunately there are now multiple vaccines that protect against the strains that commonly cause cancer and genital warts. HIV, on the other hand, is actually very hard to contract. People used to believe that HIV could be easily contracted through kissing, sharing gum, and getting tattooed, but today we know none of that is true. If you do become infected with the virus—or you're with someone who has it—it's possible to still have a sex life using a combination of condoms and PrEP—a preventive medicine for people at high risk of contracting HIV. Almost 40 states allow something called expedited partner therapy, which is a way to treat an STI-positive person and their partner, without having to examine the partner. It's currently only allowed for gonorrhea and chlamydia, but it helps. "If a person is positive, then I can say, put your boyfriend or partner on the line, and I can call in some antibiotics, most of the time, right away," Weiss says. No extra doc appointment, no added embarrassment. The number of people infected with three major STDs is at an all-time high (yikes!). We're tackling common misconceptions about STIs and STDs to help #ShattertheSTIgma. Because getting tested should be NBD.

Report: Family cat killed with bow and arrow

A pet cat was killed by an arrow in Florida this week, and it's not the first time that it's happened to this family.

"That was my baby," said Sarah Trump.

The Nassau County woman wants to find the person who killed her cat.

>> Read more trending stories  

"Just the fact that nothing is going to get done. It's just infuriating. Because it's not just an animal," Trump said.

Trump said it was the third family cat that was killed. 

Officials with Animal Control and the Nassau County Sheriff's Office said there isn't anything they can do. 

Trump found her cat, Silas, Tuesday near her driveway with an arrow sticking out of him. She believes the same person shot and killed two other family cats over the last three years. 

Owner claims dogsitter sold dogs on Craigslist

A North Carolina woman said her dogs were sold on Craigslist by a man she trusted to care for the animals while she was in the hospital.

Ekemini Udoh told WSOC she hopes someone recognizes the dogs and returns them to her.

“I am really heartbroken. I have been crying nonstop,” Udoh said. "They are my family. They are my kids.”

>> Read more trending stories

Udoh saved her dogs Rosie and Bella from going to a shelter in July.

The UNC Charlotte student from Nigeria had to go into the hospital in September and doesn’t have family close by, so she reached out to the Humane Society and Animal Control to watch her dogs, because boarding was too expensive. 

When those agencies couldn't help, she posted an ad on Craigslist offering $200. 

A man named Jarred responded. After checking him online, she said she felt comfortable trusting her dogs to him.

Once in the hospital, though, she started to worry after Jarred asked for more money. 

"As soon as I was discharged, I texted him that I had his money and that I'd like to get the dogs, and he told me he'd bring the dogs to me Thursday, Oct. 10," Udoh said.

But that never happened. Eventually, Jarred stopped responding to her calls.

“I thought it was all my fault. I trusted my dogs to a complete stranger,” she said.

She made another post on Craigslist explaining what happened. 

People reached out to her saying the same person tried to sell her dogs to them. 

The ad that Udoh said is offering her dogs is still up on the site. Udoh doesn't know where Bella and Rosie are now, but wants them home with her.

"I also need them to know that, and this might sound crazy, that I haven't abandoned them and I don't intend to, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get them back,” she said.

Udoh did file a police report. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officials would only tell WSOC that it's an active investigation.

No one has been charged.WSOC called the number Udoh had for Jarred and left a message. He has not returned the call.  

Munchkin cat Giselle capturing hearts at shelter

There's a munchkin cat up for adoption at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that is capturing many hearts, but she is possibly the hardest cat the shelter's ever had to place in a home. 

Giselle is 2 years old and barely weighs 2.5 pounds. She came into the adoption center because her owner was overwhelmed. She is completely blind, suffers from joint and nerve pain and is recovering from a lung infection. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  

In case you were having a hard time understand just how itty bitty I am, here's a picture of me with Butters, who lives in the vet clinic. He's average size... oh, and I'm standing up! #mspca #mspcaboston #adopt #stumpycat #munchkincat #foster #snelovespets A photo posted by Stumpy Cat (@realstumpycat) on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:19am PDT

Despite this, MSPCA says she is full of life and loves companionship. 

A lot of you have been asking if I can walk- and it's one of the cutest things I do! So here's a short clip! A lot people are also asking if they can donate- THANK YOU! donations toward my vet care and the vet care of other animals @mspcaBoston can be made to Spike's Fund at #thanks!! #mspca #mspcaboston #waddle #adopt #munchkincat #stumpycat A video posted by Stumpy Cat (@realstumpycat) on Oct 22, 2016 at 5:07am PDT

She'll soon be up for adoption, though she does have special needs. The ideal adopter can keep her away from stairs. Adopters can email for more information. 

You can follow Giselle's journey on Instagram at realstumpycat.

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