When a woman arrived at Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital in 2013 with a carrier containing two cats, the staff at the veterinary office in Roswell, Georgia, were eager to help the feline pair.
“They were both crying the loudest meows as the owner placed them on the counter and explained tearfully that her son had developed allergies and she couldn’t keep the two raucous kitties,” remembers Amanda Nelson, a receptionist at Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital. “Staff members agreed to take the brothers in for a while and see if a home could be found.”
The cats — who were born in 2007 — were approximately six years old when they were surrendered to the animal hospital, and it didn’t take long for the staff to discover that Ben, a Siamese, was more outgoing and curious than his brother Sebastian, a Snowshoe.
“After setting up the cage when the boys arrived, our staff members sat and watched their new tenants,” says Amanda. “It was noticed that Ben’s brother, Sebastian, liked to curl up in his cardboard box ‘fort’ and peek out at the world while Ben sat on the top and sounded the kitty alarm every time someone looked at him.”
Not long after the pair arrived at Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital, they were adopted by a client, but it wasn’t the right situation for Ben and Sebastian, so they were returned within a matter of days. Realizing that Sebastian wasn’t happy at the clinic, Jenna — one of the vet techs — offered to foster him until he found his forever home, but she quickly fell in love with the striking Snowshoe cat and decided to adopt him.
“Meanwhile, Ben took to the hospital surroundings quite well – playing with surgery tie down strings and lying in the sun on the doctor’s desk,” explains Amanda. “In no time, he was running things. He decided when the staff members fed him; where to put his beds — yes, he has more than one! — and when he wanted extra cuddles.”
While other cats would have hated the hectic environment, Ben adored the fast-paced animal hospital, so in January 2014, the staff at Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital decided to provide the sassy Siamese with a permanent home, making him their clinic cat.
For more than two years, Ben ruled the animal hospital without incident, cementing his role within the veterinary office. “He made sure the owner of the hospital had no choice but to keep him around,” says Amanda.
However, on February 2, 2016, Ben was attacked by a dog who had been recently adopted by one of Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital’s elderly clients. “When she was checking out, the dog lunged against the leash and she lost control of him – he escaped and ran right for Ben,” remembers Amanda. “It was over in a few seconds but it felt like an eternity. The dog grabbed his head in such a perfect manner that it punctured his eye and fractured his jaw.”
Miraculously, Ben managed to escape from the dog’s grasp, running as fast as possible to an office where he found refuge underneath a recliner. “When I moved the chair out of the way and picked him up, he hissed at me – the first and only time he’s done that to me so far – and I deposited him into the doctor’s arms, who then immediately sedated him,” remembers Amanda.
The violent incident left everyone in the animal hospital shaken, but the staff at Mountain Park Plaza was incredibly thankful that Ben was able to receive immediate medical care after the attack. While Ben managed to survive the assault, one of his eyes had been damaged so severely that it couldn’t be saved. Fortunately, after this adorable Siamese cat recovered from the surgery, he promptly adjusted to his new life as a one-eyed feline.
“He likes sleeping on top of our medical records cabinet and we were planning on building him steps up to it after the injury,” says Amanda, “but he showed us very quickly that that wouldn’t be necessary.”
In fact, Ben — who was so bad at jumping before the incident that the staff used to joke about his lack of agility — seemed to become more coordinated after the operation, proving that one-eyed cats really aren’t any harder to take care of than their two-eyed counterparts.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that they require more work than an average cat – which is 100% untrue,” says Amanda. “Ben is just like any other kitty.”
While Ben may not be all that different from a typical feline in lots of ways — so much so that he’s actually pushed Amanda to start looking for a three-legged or one-eyed cat of her own — this extroverted boy is incredibly unique, much like the other special needs kitties who have come through Mountain Park Plaza Animal Hospital. “It’s almost like the world dealt these babies a rough hand and they make up for it by having these amazing personalities,” says Amanda.
Like a typical kitty, Ben enjoys playing with catnip toys, lounging in the sunshine, and of course, eating, but he also likes supervising the animal hospital’s staff, keeping a close eye on the vet technicians as they fill prescriptions and examine patients.
“He attends staff meetings; he lies on top of charts when others are attempting to fill them out,” says Amanda. “He found his place in the world.”
Ben, who was surrendered to Mountain Park Plaza five years ago, has managed to thrive in an environment where other cats would have shut down, and today he is an integral part of this veterinary clinic, beloved by staff and clients alike.
“He’s not just our CEO, he’s our family member,” says Amanda. “He comforts clients that are upset – scratches at doors to rooms where people are crying. He can tell when clients need extra care before any of us do. He’s a wonder and we’re so thankful he’s in our lives.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Ben on Instagram.