This post includes photos some people may find upsetting.
Tamara Newman Varela, a lawyer from Peñaflor, Chile, was in court when she heard a cat meowing loudly and persistently outside the courtroom. Concerned for the feline, she left the courtroom and discovered a mother cat who promptly introduced Tamara to her kitten.
“She showed me her baby kitten, whose eyes had literally burst from an infection,” says Tamara. “I remember that I started crying, and seeing that nobody was doing anything for them, I decided to take them to save them.”
On October 25, 2018, Tamara rescued the mother cat and her baby, naming the former Agata and the latter Chispita, which means little spark in Spanish. Both of the cats were very sick, so Tamara took them to the vet, and she discovered Chispita was approximately three weeks old and Agata was around five years old. “Agata was also pregnant,” says Tamara.
Even though Tamara wanted to help the feline mother and her baby, her husband didn’t want her to bring anymore pets home. After all, Tamara’s cat had recently passed away, and she was still devastated by the loss of her beloved pet. However, being a mother, Tamara empathized with Agata and her desperation to get help for herself and her child.
“I put myself in her place and felt her despair,” remembers Tamara. “I really knew that no one else was going to take care of them as well as I would, so I didn’t hesitate to take them to my house, even if my husband was upset.”
Agata was so malnourished, Chispita was unable to nurse from his mom, so Tamara had to bottle feed him during his first few weeks in her home. His eyes were also in such bad shape, Tamara had to give him multiple medications, including eye drops and oral antibiotics, every few hours. “That meant I couldn’t get out of my house — or sleep well — for more than a month, and it was hard,” says Tamara. “In addition, I had to make raffles and request help from people since my economic situation was difficult.”
Despite her tireless efforts, Tamara was unable to save Chispita’s vision, but she did manage to nurse him and his mother back to health. While she was extremely sad and disappointed that the little kitten would never be able see again, Tamara realized Chispita’s blindness didn’t prevent him from having a wonderful life. “I cried a lot, but I looked at him, and he was happy, playing, and eating,” explains Tamara.
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With Chispita in good health, just a few weeks after he and his mom were rescued by Tamara, Agata gave birth to five kittens in December 2018. Sadly, the young felines all became very sick, indicating Agata may have had an infection that she’d unwittingly transmitted to her offspring.
Despite Tamara’s efforts to save the five felines, three of them died when they were just a week old. “The other two kittens were saved by antibiotic treatment,” explains Tamara.
Thankfully, Tamara was able to find homes for the two young cats, but she and her husband and son decided to adopt Chispita and Agata. More than a year later, this adorable blind cat and his mom are both doing great, and while Chispita is unable to see, he has no trouble getting around his home.
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“He knows how to climb into bed, he knows how to use the litter box, he knows how to climb to the second floor, he knows how to climb trees, and he knows how to hunt flies and insects,” says Tamara, proving blind cats are usually a lot more capable and independent than people often assume.
In fact, aside from the occasional eye cleaning, this handsome blind cat doesn’t need any additional care, making Chispita less time-consuming and more affordable than a lot of people might expect. “However, people are not wrong about something, because effectively having a blind cat is having a very special being, but that ‘special’ is not what people imagine,” says Tamara. “Chispita has a unique energy. It is light, love, and the will to live.”
Consequently, while he is unable to see, Chispita is fearless, and he plays with his family’s dogs and cats like any other sighted feline. He also adores spending supervised time outside, and he inspires Tamara with his bravery and adventurous spirit. “Every time I look at him I admire him because he teaches me to be strong,” says Tamara, and Chispita has also taught her not to limit herself or underestimate her ability to accomplish her goals.
Since bringing Chispita home, Tamara has learned so much from this playful and affectionate boy and she hopes other people will consider opening their homes to cats with special needs. For Tamara, Chispita is one of her children, and it’s impossible for her to imagine her life, her home, or her family without this remarkable cat. “Chispita is my baby, my gift, my teacher, and my angel,” says Tamara. “Chispita is part of my heart, and I show it to him with every gesture that I can show him.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Chispita on Instagram.