When Elen Chtchyan’s boyfriend discovered a tiny tabby kitten while working at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Halloween 2018, he immediately asked her if she would be interested in adopting the young cat.
Elen eagerly agreed, so her boyfriend rescued the kitten from the airfield while she prepared for the arrival of her new pet. “I bought him formula, dry food, and wet food; I bought him everything I could: litter, a brush, kitten shampoo — you name it,” remembers Elen.
After learning the kitten wasn’t in the best of health, Elen also made an appointment for a medical examination, meeting the little cat for the first time on November 1, 2018, when her boyfriend brought him to the vet’s office. “We took him in and he was just the smallest little thing ever, so precious and sweet,” says Elen. “We were so worried and hoped everything would check out okay.”
A thorough exam revealed the kitten was approximately two weeks old, he was dehydrated and malnourished, and he had fleas and a head tilt caused by a neurological issue. He also had scratches on his eyes related to eyelid agenesis, a congenital condition that causes cats to be born without eyelids. “Cats with eyelid agenesis are exposed to a lot of harmful things — such as dust — that can come in contact with the eye,” explains Elen. “This can lead to blindness if not treated.”
The vet prescribed antibiotics for the scratches on the kitten’s eyes, as well as drops to keep them lubricated. Over the course of the next two months, Elen nursed the kitten — who she named Boo because he was rescued on Halloween — back to health, treating him for parasites, a respiratory infection, stomach problems, and neurological issues.
“My financial situation was not in the place to care for a special needs cat,” says Elen, but she was determined to make sure Boo got the treatment he needed. “I had moments where I wanted to give up, but each time I wanted to, my heart would hurt because I could not leave him.”
Fortunately, all of Elen’s hard work paid off, and several months after Boo was rescued, he’s a happy and healthy cat who likes playing catch and watching cars and birds from the window. “He is a little Spider-Man,” says Elen. “He loves to climb anything that he can get his claws on…like the curtains.”
While Boo is doing great, he hates having medicated ointment and lubricating drops put in his eyes every day, so Elen is currently saving money to pay for reconstructive surgery, a more permanent solution for cats with eyelid agenesis.
“He’s able to close his eyes, but there is a part that is exposed at all times that will result in the dryness in his eyes and possible blindness if not taken care of,” explains Elen, which is why she believes reconstructive surgery would be a better treatment option for Boo than cryosurgery, the process of using liquid nitrogen to stop the hair around his eyes from growing.
Even though Boo is doing well, Elen regrets that she was not able to adopt his brother, a black kitten she named Tuna. She wasn’t in a position to care for another cat with special needs, and Elen couldn’t find a shelter that was willing to take him. “Every shelter wanted to euthanize him,” says Elen. “I cried every night knowing that no one was able to help this cat.”
This experience with Tuna only made Elen more determined to take care of Boo, motivating her to do everything in her power to make sure he never ends up at a shelter. Not surprisingly, these two have formed a very close bond, and while Boo may not like having daily eye ointment and drops, he never takes it out on Elen or her family. “Even if we make him mad for a split second, he cannot stay angry with us,” explains Elen. “He knows we are there for him and protecting him as his guardians.”
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While she wishes she could have rescued Boo’s brother, Elen is so grateful she gets to share her life with at least one special needs cat, and she hopes other people will consider adopting animals who are often overlooked. “A special cat is one of the most beautiful creatures that can come into your life,” says Elen. “They each have a personality and you can see the pain and beauty in their eyes.”
When Elen met Boo for the first time, he was just two weeks old and struggling to survive, and he most likely would have gone blind — and may have even died — without immediate medical care. Several months later, this remarkable cat is thriving, and it’s all thanks to the love and dedication Elen and her family have shown to Boo.
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“You can tell how safe he feels around us,” says Elen. “I protect him and we are ready to do anything we can for him. I can’t imagine life without my angel Boo.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Boo on Instagram.
If you would like to make a contribution towards Boo’s reconstructive surgery, you can donate to his GoFundMe.