Three tiny hungry kittens were caught this summer in an alley in Colville in a live trap that two CVAS volunteers had set. One of the volunteers who helped trap the kittens agreed to foster the kittens. Two were typical little kittens. The other one was special. She appeared to be all white, but on further inspection, she was white with a faintly peach-colored tail and ears. What was REALLY special was her pitiful little face. While she had one beautiful blue eye, where the other eye should have been was only an empty socket. Pink folds of tissue filled the area where an eye should have been. It did not appear to have been lost to trauma or infection, it just wasn’t there! She also appeared to be deaf. This special kitten came to be known as Lily.
After a couple of weeks of good food and love, the foster mom turned Lily over to another foster mom…me. Because we already have blind cats and deaf dogs, I thought we might be the perfect home for a kitten with special needs. However, her sparkling personality and ‘go getter’ attitude soon helped us see that she could live a fairly normal life and should be adoptable. We also discovered that while Lily was very hard of hearing, she was NOT totally deaf.
She was a lover, her purr could be heard in the next room. She was a wild child, cavorting across the kitchen floor in a sideways stance with arched back and fur standing on end as she attacked catnip mice and other fuzzy toys. She made the life of our other foster cat miserable as she chased his twitching tail and pounced on him while he tried to eat his dinner. She bounced across the floor on her hind legs as she tried frantically to catch our dog’s wagging tail as it patiently tried to escape her sharp little teeth and claws. Lily was quite a kitten. She had no idea she was supposed to be disabled.
So we told ourselves that she would be available for adoption after she was spayed at the next Stevens County Cat Care clinic in September. I also asked our lead vet, Dr. Tami, if she would examine the empty eye socket and, if needed, surgically repair the empty eye socket so that debris or other matter would not get into it and cause further problems.
The September 14th Stevens County Cat Care clinic was set up at the American Legion Hall in Kettle Falls with 5 veterinarians, one vet tech and 30 volunteers working hard all day to spay/neuter 156 cats. Lily had forgotten there was a world outside of our kitchen and the activity at the clinic frightened her. She hid at the back of her crate and didn’t make a sound. When it was her turn, she was anesthetized and both her tummy and half her face were shaved and scrubbed for surgery.
Dr. Tami discovered, and removed, a very tiny useless eye behind the folds of pink flesh at the back of the eye socket. She also spayed Lily, assuring that the cycle has been broken. When this lucky girl grows up, she will never have kittens born in an alley the way she was, to have to be rescued by Sanctuary volunteers.
Lily is also lucky for a number of other reasons. Because both her foster moms help regularly at the spay/neuter clinics, she was spayed for free. Because Dr. Tami is a compassionate woman, she did not charge for the surgery to repair the eye socket. And because there were so many volunteers helping at the clinic that day, it was purr-fectly natural that one of them fell in love with Lily and asked to adopt her when she recovers from her surgeries!
Lily’s story was written and shared to show that, not only can many animals with disabilities still lead pretty normal lives, but that a lot of compassionate people work together to make miracles happen. Sometimes it may seem that the Sanctuary needs a lot of money to keep the miracles happening, but sometimes miracles can be coordinated into happening for free. Thank you Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary and Stevens County Cat Care volunteers and thank you Dr. Tami.
And BTW, the day after her surgery, Lily is already back to chasing dog’s wagging tails and attacking catnip mice. In a few days when the stitches are removed from the ‘eyeless eye’ Lily will be ready to go to her new home where she has been promised that for her own safety, she will be an indoor kitty and that she will get to sleep on her new mommy’s bed every night. Yep, one lucky kitty.