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  • Writer's pictureHolly

Things happen for a reason


Some say that you can gauge the quality of your pet sitter by how many pets they have. The thinking is that the more compassionate, the more pets they've taken in. If there's any truth to that algorithm, I must be a phenomenal pet sitter. Without revealing the exact number of pets we live with, I'll put you in the ballpark by saying I cannot count them all on two hands.


Each found their way to us from different rescue circumstances. So this spring, when we found a barn stuffed full of dozens of kittens, we couldn't imagine not bringing one home with us. We narrowed it down to two and ultimately selected an adorable calico girl based on her sweet demeanor and hazel eyes.


Hazel folded into our family immediately, and we fell completely in love with her. Of course, born in a hog barn, she had all the unwanted friends you'd expect, like ear mites and belly buddies. But we got her through that, plus her vaccinations and spay surgery.


That's when we noticed something else. Her once bright hazel eyes looked a little cloudy. More worrisome, she wasn't as active. More and more, she was sitting alone, almost in a frozen stance. And she was losing weight.


Without revealing the exact number of pets we live with, I'll put you in the ballpark by saying I cannot count them all on two hands.

After a slew of tests, our vet narrowed it to juvenile cataracts and referred us to an animal ophthalmologist in Minneapolis. He confirmed it.


Somewhat common in dogs, cataracts in cats is rare and even more so in kittens. The ophthalmologist said he maybe sees one case a year. In a nutshell, cataracts is a cloudiness of the eye lens that causes blindness.

Since that diagnosis this summer, Hazel's vision has steadily worsened. She can see some shapes and some movements. But as animals do, she has adapted amazingly well. She has our house memorized and navigates it almost flawlessly, except for the occasional miscalculated jump. We've learned not to rearrange furniture and to always talk to her before touching her so to not startle her.


Even with her adapting, watching a kitten go blind is heartbreaking. She lost a lot of her happy kitten spirit and isn't nearly as confident or trusting as she was.


The encouraging news is that she's an excellent candidate for surgery. Her ophthalmologist can remove her diseased lenses and replace them with clear artificial ones. He estimates about a 90% success rate in cats.


When we commit to caring for these little innocents, we promise to do whatever we can to give them the best life possible.

We need to wait until she's a year old, so her body's stem cells stop growing the cataracts. That will be in March. It's an expensive surgery, but we can't imagine not giving her sight when we have the option.



I think back to that day when we picked her over the others. There's a reason the "kittens for sale" sign caught our attention, and we brought her home. When we commit to caring for these little innocents, we promise to do whatever we can to give them the best life possible. Therein is the reason I have more than a couple of handfuls of pets and why I'm in the profession I am.



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