This post includes photos some people may find upsetting.
Deanna was scrolling through Instagram in September 2019, when a post about a young special needs cat caught her eye. The kitten, who was named Toph at the time, was just a few weeks old, and both of her eyes were badly damaged due to an infection that went untreated while she and her mother and siblings were living under the porch of a vacant home in Oregon. “Nobody was really aware the kittens were there,” explains Deanna. “Not until a concerned neighbor checked in on them was it discovered that they were very sick.”
Thankfully, the feline family was rescued by Amanda and Katy, the women behind Sister Kitten Rescue, and the sickly kittens were rushed to a nearby vet. After examining Toph, the veterinarian determined she was blind and recommended euthanizing her, but Amanda refused. Instead, she worked tirelessly to nurse the little kitten back to health, and while Toph grew and gained weight, Amanda was ultimately unable to restore her vision. “She had some of the worst, most infected and distended eye globes I have ever seen,” says Deanna.
When Deanna discovered Toph and her foster mom lived just a few hours away from the home she shares with her husband Tom in eastern Oregon, she knew she had to learn more about the adorable blind cat. Plus, Amanda and Katy’s Instagram user name, sisterkittenrescue, was similar to the user name for the Instagram account she created for her cat Tippy, who also has special needs.
“I knew there was a reason behind all of this, and that I needed to know more,” says Deanna, so she reached out to Sister Kitten Rescue to get more information about Toph. “As I learned about Toph, I asked if we could help, and even adopt her.”
While Amanda and Katy were delighted at the prospect of having Deanna and Tom foster and potentially adopt Toph, she wasn’t well enough to travel to a new home, so the couple had to wait three weeks before they were able to meet the beautiful young cat in person.
On October 19, 2019, Amanda and Toph traveled to Deanna and Tom’s home, and it quickly became apparent to everyone involved that the diminutive kitten had found her forever family, which also includes Gretta, an adorable rescue cat who was born with a twisted jaw and one eye. “We just played, and even shared a soft push up treat with Tippy and Gretta,” remembers Deanna. “She was tiny, and sweet and she knew she was home.”
After officially adopting the beautiful blind kitten, Deanna and Tom gave her a new name to go with her new beginning: Millie. “Millie is named in honor of Willie, a sweet 5-week old blind kitten, and the first special needs foster Tom and I had back in 2017,” explains Deanna. “Sadly, Willie died of a virus just days after we took him in.”
With the help of her two sisters, as well as Deanna and Tom’s other pets, Millie settled into her new home, using her other senses to find her way around. Five months later, this stunning kitten is thriving, and she adores playing with Gretta and Tippy, who both seem to innately understand Millie has special needs just like they do.
She also enjoys playing with crinkle toys and eating, especially lickable treats. “More than anything, Millie loves to snuggle with cat dad, who is seriously one of her favorite people!” says Deanna. While people sometimes think blind cats are incapable of having happy and healthy lives, Millie is definitely proving them wrong!
Not only can she run and play like a typical kitten, Millie can easily jump on and off furniture, and while she bumps into walls from time to time, she doesn’t allow these minor setbacks to put a damper on her fun-loving and adventurous spirit. “Millie is the picture of perseverance, endurance, and trust,” says Deanna. “Millie is loved, she plays with her kitty siblings, interacts well, responds to her name, and shows great joy in living a happy, very spoiled life.”
With her parents’ help, this wonderful little cat is doing extremely well, but Millie needs to have surgery to remove the remnants of her eyes. While Deanna and Tom don’t want to subject Millie to the risks of surgery, they also don’t want her to live with the nearly constant discomfort related to her shrunken eye globes. “Sadly, it has become clear that her eyes are irritated, and despite daily eye washes, and ointment, she continues to deal with redness and irritation,” explains Deanna. “This decision has been one of the hardest — far more difficult than any other aspect of her care.”
Following the surgery, Millie should be able to live the rest of her life free from the pain caused by the severe infection she contracted as a homeless kitten. By sharing this remarkable cat’s story, Deanna hopes not only to raise money for her surgery through GoFundMe, but also to inspire other people to open their homes to pets who are often considered unadoptable. “They can live happy, playful, and engaged lives,” says Deanna. “Offer them a safe, consistent home, and you will have a wonderful new friend.”
Deanna also hopes people will realize blind cats like Millie don’t need to be euthanized simply because they can’t see, or because people feel sorry for them and find them difficult to look at. “Nothing about her is sad,” says Deanna. “As a matter of fact, I don’t think Millie knows what sad is. She means love, she means acceptance of being unique, and she means happiness.”
To learn more about this gorgeous kitten, you can follow Millie on Instagram.
If you’d like to help cover the cost of Millie’s upcoming surgery, you can donate to her GoFundMe.