When Jacqueline Marroquin and her brother discovered three kittens outside of her home in Perris, California, in October 2018, they knew they had to help the young cats who had been abandoned by their mother. However, when she and her brother approached the litter, two of the kittens ran off, leaving the smallest of the three, a tabby and white girl. “She stayed in that same spot and was very curious,” remembers Jacqueline. “She eventually walked right to us.”
Jacqueline was able to get a closer look at the friendly kitten, and she noticed that not only was the tiny tabby extremely thin and malnourished, she only had one eye and excessive discharge had nearly sealed it shut. “She really couldn’t see much from her eye,” says Jacqueline. “However, she was so trusting. I think she wanted to be helped. She didn’t cry or try to run away.”
The kitten’s easygoing nature allowed Jacqueline to pick her up and carry her inside where she was able to clean her eye with a damp towel, something the cute tabby and white cat appeared to like. “She didn’t even give me a hard time,” remembers Jacqueline. “Plus, she really enjoyed the warmness of the towel.”
After washing the kitten — who Jacqueline named Fiona in honor of the princess from Shrek — she was able to rescue her brothers, dubbing them Gabby and Kahlo. While all three cats appeared to be underweight, Jacqueline was particularly concerned for Fiona, who was significantly smaller than her siblings, so she took her to the vet. A medical examination revealed Fiona was approximately two weeks old, and while she was very skinny and had an eye infection, she was an otherwise healthy cat. “They gave her eye drops and that’s about it,” says Jacqueline. “She just needed to gain some weight.”
While her brothers had no trouble consuming wet and dry food, Fiona struggled to eat on her own — possible because of her unique nasal structure — so Jacqueline had to feed her kitten formula from a bottle. However, she didn’t mind giving the tiny one-eyed feline the extra care she needed to thrive because Jacqueline and Fiona had already formed a special connection. “We just bonded so quickly,” says Jacqueline. “I knew that the chances of her getting adopted by someone else were going to be slim simply because of the way she looked or because people wouldn’t want to take on the responsibly of caring for her. She didn’t deserve that.”
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Determined to give Fiona the loving home she was entitled to, not only did Jacqueline decide to adopt the adorable special needs kitten, she adopted her brothers, Gabby and Kahlo, allowing the siblings who had abandoned by their birth mom to stay together. With Jacqueline’s help, all three of the scrawny kittens grew into robust young cats, and just a few months later, they’re thriving, including Fiona. “She is now as healthy as she can be and is growing up so fast,” says Jacqueline.
While she looks a bit different from the average cat, Fiona is incredibly active and spends a lot of her time playing with plastic bottle caps and hiding them around the house. She also enjoys having her neck scratched and she is obsessed with smelling everything she comes into contact with. “Because of her little nose deformity, she makes this cute noise every time she sniffs something,” says Jacqueline.
Fiona’s bond with her mom is as strong as ever, and wherever Jacqueline is, this sweet and affectionate one-eyed girl usually isn’t far behind. “She loves to play with the broom while mom sweeps the floors,” says Jacqueline. “She also loves to cuddle with humans and sleep on their laps. Oh, and she loves to follow me around the house. She’s my little shadow.”
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Despite being in bad shape when Jacqueline rescued her four months ago, Fiona is doing incredibly well and she has no trouble eating on her own. In fact, this beautiful girl is in such good health, she doesn’t need any special care and has no trouble getting around with just one eye. “To be honest, I don’t even think she knows she only has one eye or looks any different, so why should we treat her any different?” says Jacqueline. “Her disabilities don’t limit her capabilities.”
While Fiona really isn’t all that different from the average feline, not everyone Jacqueline has encountered is convinced that one-eyed cats like this sweet and fun-loving girl are capable of having happy and active lives. “People would look at Fiona and assume she was suffering simply because she looked different,” says Jacqueline. “One person even said that we should take her to get her euthanized because they felt so bad for her.”
Fortunately, Jacqueline has absolutely no intention of putting this strong and brave girl to sleep, and she hopes by sharing her story, other people will realize they shouldn’t underestimate the abilities of cats like Fiona. After all, they’re not suffering or in pain, and they’re just as cuddly and playful as any other kitty. “They should be given the chance to live and have a loving home and family that believes in them,” says Jacqueline.
Thankfully, Fiona — who was two weeks old when she was rescued — found a wonderful home and an incredible mom who thinks she’s perfect just the way she is. “If anything, the only thing her face deformity does is make her look a billion times cuter,” says Jacqueline. Like her namesake, Princess Fiona from Shrek, this adorable tabby and white girl doesn’t let her unique appearance stop her from being confident and powerful.
While Fiona — who is always at the door to greet her mom when she comes home — has flourished with Jacqueline, it’s impossible not to think about what might have become of her if she’d been rescued by someone less nurturing and accepting.
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“It would have been heartbreaking if she would have been found by the wrong people who didn’t believe in giving her the chance to live,” says Jacqueline. “The world would have missed out on a superstar. The world needs her cute little face around.”
Fortunately, Fiona was discovered by someone who is just as special as she is, and not only does this gorgeous girl get to spend the rest of her life with her brothers, she has a mom who adores her exactly as she is. “She has this huge personality and is the sweetest little girl ever,” says Jacqueline. “Fiona is part of the family now.”
To learn more about this beautiful kitten, you can follow Fiona on Instagram.