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Meet The Stunning Cat Who Was Born Without Eyelids And Found A Wonderful Home After He Was Abandoned As A Tiny Kitten!

When a vet tech asked Gillian Warmkessel if she would consider adopting a little special needs kitten who, along with his brother, had been abandoned by his mother in March 2012 outside a hardware store in Whitemarsh Island, Georgia, the animal lover and mother of two was definitely interested. “The vet tech explained that this tiny kitten was born with eyelid agenesis,” remembers Gillian, “which is more common in feral cats than other cat populations.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Cats with eyelid agenesis, a congenital condition, are born without upper eyelids, and they usually require extra medical treatment, including surgery to cryogenically freeze the fur around their eyes to stop it from growing. “The eye meets the fur and skin without protection,” explains Gillian, “and the cornea is forever at risk due to blinking and fur irritation that can lead to ulcers.”

Gillian, who had both the time and money to care for a cat with eyelid agenesis, agreed to meet the little kitten, who was less than a week old at the time. “He got into the palm of my hand,” remembers Gillian. “It was love at first sight.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Immediately, Gillian named the little kitten Perry Pepper, an homage to a black cat she’d seen online, and it wasn’t long before she received another call from her vet, asking if she’d like to adopt Perry’s brother.

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Charlie/Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Apparently, the family who agreed to adopt the newborn tuxedo kitten — who had a milder form of eyelid agenesis — thought he was a girl, and when they discovered his true gender, they no longer wanted him. “I got the second call,” remembers Gillian, “and jumped at the chance to bring this bonded pair of special needs brothers home together.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

To Gillian, it all felt as though it was meant to be: “The first set of kittens my husband and I rescued — right after college graduation — were also brothers,” says Gillian, and one of them was solid black while the other was a tuxedo cat. The pair, Goliath and Zeek, had recently passed away after living well into their teens, so Perry and his brother, whom the couple named Charlie Chips, seemed fated to be a part of Gillian’s family.

The Warmkessels had taken care of Goliath, who had to have one of his eyes removed to stop his cancer from metastasizing, so they had some experience with special needs cats. Still, they’d never had a pet with eyelid agenesis before, so they weren’t entirely sure what to expect. However, the kittens didn’t go to their home right away; instead, Perry and Charlie remained at the vet for several months until they were old enough to be tested for FIV, and Gillian and her family regularly visited the brothers during this time.

Thankfully, when they finally went to live with the Warmkessels, Gillian discovered that eyelid agenesis had no impact on their eyesight — “Both Perry and Charlie have no vision problems whatsoever,” says Gillian — but Perry, who has a more severe form of the condition, needs a bit of extra attention. Not longer after Gillian and her family adopted the brothers, both cats had cryosurgery to freeze the hair around their eyes — turning it white — and Perry needed multiple procedures, while Charlie needed just one.

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

While the cryosurgery was successful for both cats, Perry still needs some additional help to keep his eyes healthy.  “Because Perry is missing his upper lid and cannot fully close his eyes or have the same eye protection as other cats, I must ensure his eyes stay clean,” explains Gillian. “I actually wipe his eyes daily, and many days I need to lubricate his eyes with ointment.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

However, Gillian, who says Perry is a mama’s boy, is more than happy to help the assist black cat who was abandoned by his biological mother as a newborn kitten. “Even though I’m the one who fusses with him the most,” says Gillian, “he also seems to show me the most affection.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Indeed, Gillian has formed strong bonds with both of her special needs cats, but she admits she has a unique relationship with Perry. “We have six cats and two dogs and I love them all,” says Gillian, adding, “I hate to admit it, but Perry is my favorite.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Perry is incredibly special, not just because he was born without his upper eyelids, but also because he is extremely talkative, he enjoys surveying his kingdom from the top of the fridge, he will dig at the blankets to get underneath the covers, and he loves special treats like aged Gruyere cheese.

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Gillian and her husband agree that this handsome special needs cat and his brother are the most loving animals they’ve ever met, and they’re convinced it’s because Perry and Charlie are grateful to have a home after being abandoned when they were so young. “They love to cuddle and are as friendly as dogs to our guests,” says Gillian. “We believe that rescued animals know, and they never forget.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via Gillian Warmkessel

While Perry and Charlie look a bit different from other cats, Gillian insists that what separates them from other felines is how exceptionally loving and sweet they are, traits that make these adorable brothers — and cats like them — uniquely wonderful pets. “All special cats are especially lovable,” says Gillian, and she thinks animals like Perry and Charlie have some very important lessons to share. “They give us much more than we give them,” says Gillian. “They have a lot to teach humans about accepting differences.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Thankfully, Perry and Charlie have found the perfect home with the Warmkessels where not only are their differences accepted, they’re celebrated, and nearly six years after they were discovered outside a hardware store, they’re happier than ever. While Gillian adores both of her boys, she admits that she has a stronger bond with Perry, partly because he requires more attention than his brother. “I think because he needs me more than my other pets, I feel responsible for taking care of him,” says Gillian.

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

Fortunately, it’s not a responsibility Gillian minds shouldering, and she’s thankful she’s the person who got that call back in 2012, asking her to open her home to a tiny one-week-old kitten who had been abandoned by his biological mother. “He’s my special baby boy,” says Gillian. “I love him with all my heart.”

cat with feline eyelid agenesis
Image via @rikki_lucy_and_friends on Instagram

To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Perry on Instagram.

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