In my last blog, I talked about Milo’s recent visit to the vet, and the stunning revelation that he was born with no eyelids. I’ve had time to reflect more on this situation, and I have some additional thoughts to share.
I didn’t exactly acquire Milo by accident, but he wasn’t planned for either. I hadn’t set out to get a kitten. I wanted an adult male to keep my girl, Jinx, company. But when I happened upon an ad for this darling little fellow, in need of rehoming, I couldn’t resist. I saw right away that he had strange eyes, but I didn’t learn until many months later, that Milo was actually born without eyelids, a birth defect. However, I doubt that this was the first time Milo’s condition was diagnosed.
When I “adopted” him from his original human parents, Milo came with EVERYTHING… food, litterbox, toys, etc. And the couple would not take any money! They also gave me a record of his shots, and a list of dates when he’d be due for other inoculations. These records were from a very reputable local veterinary office. There is no way that any doctor– even one fresh out of medical school– could have overlooked Milo’s condition. I believe that the vet who examined him when he was a little bitty kitten, must have informed Mr. and Mrs M. of his “difference” and recommended surgery. I imagine they couldn’t handle the demands of a Special Needs animal, and were desperate to unload him. (Without elaborating, I don’t think that cost was an issue.) I guess that’s why they were so generous with all the “extras” he came with. A few weeks after I took Milo in, I texted Mrs M. a pic of Milo and let her know that he was doing fantastic. She never replied. Feeling guilty, much?
A cat, my friends, is not a blender. You don’t take him back to the store because there’s something wrong with him. Cats don’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty. A cat is not a used car that turns out to be a “lemon.” He is an animal that may have been born with innate problems that were a quirk of nature. A cat is not an inanimate object. He has a heart, a soul, and feelings.
I guess Milo and I were lucky to find each other. The M’s could have dumped him on the side of the road, to fend for himself. They could have brought him to a shelter, where he’d likely be euthanized, or else gone unadopted for years because of his “difference.” He could have been adopted by a family who let him roam outdoors, which would be a recipe for blindness, since his vulnerable eyes would be exposed to the elements. He lucked out getting me for a Mom, and I am lucky to have found such a sweet, loving boy. I’m grateful to be in a position to be able to spread the word about the plight of Special Needs animals.
Right now, I am treating Milo’s eyes twice a day with a lubricant ointment that contains mineral oil and white petrolatum (keeps irritants out). Applying it takes just a couple of minutes each day. Other than that, there is nothing different about Milo. He eats, sleeps, purrs, and plays like any other cat.
The next time you are thinking of adopting a new pet, don’t look for one that is physically perfect; search for the one that is perfect for you.