During the first snowfall of last winter, Habitat volunteers rescued five kittens from a barn overpopulated with cats and kittens. My first crew of foster kittens had left a week before and I was very excited to have some cute new faces arriving at my foster home again. Who knew how cute they would be and how much they would melt my heart. Casper and Cotton, two tiny white balls of fur with bright blue eyes and pink ears were the youngest of the five kittens. At 6 weeks old, their bellies were still swollen, they smelled of hay and their fur was dirty. What a goofy looking pair.
Casper and Cotton made themselves right at home. They were very playful and not scared to try anything new. But within a few days, I noticed that they weren’t reacting to noises or to me when I came into the room. They remained sound asleep while the other kittens would wake right up. To see if my hunch was correct, I tested their hearing by shaking bell toys around their ears- they didn’t flinch. Medical research states that there s a 60-80% chance that cats with white fur and blue eyes will be deaf. The vet eventually confirmed my suspicions, but Casper & Cotton certainly didn’t know they were any different!
The next few months proved to be quite a health journey for Casper and Cotton and an ordeal of dedication and patience for me. One of the kittens contracted pneumonia and both had minor colds off and on for 2 months. They were treated with various antibiotics, medications, therapies and countless visits to the vet. No matter how sick they felt or appeared, their purrs could still be heard throughout the house. It was a difficult time, full of worry for the kitten s health and I wondered if the day would ever come when they would be well enough to be adopted. Finally, after 3 months, that day came. By now, the kittens were running around the house and discovering new things each day. They really enjoyed watching TV and video games on the computer. This appeared to stimulate the hearing sense they were missing. Casper & Cotton were growing into beautiful white angels and I had to let them go.
The kittens were bonded and dependent on each other because of their deafness, so it was decided to adopt them as a pair. Their photos and descriptions were placed on www.PetFinder.com adoption web site. Within one day, emails came streaming into info@HabitatforCats.org. People from New Jersey, all parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, wanted to meet them. The kittens photos on the internet were viewed more than 200 times per week. Casper and Cotton also graced the front page of the Taunton Daily Gazette in an article featuring Special Needs Felines for adoption through Habitat for Cats. The requests to adopt them were more than we could handle. Casper & Cotton s story had touched the heart of so many people, how could we choose one family?
After many interviews and phone calls, a family from Hanover, MA was invited to meet the kittens and I felt very excited that they were the right ones for my babies . When they met the kittens, it was a perfect match – the kittens loved them and they loved the kittens.
This was indeed a great day for Casper and Cotton, but a very hard one for me. Although I knew the kittens were going to a great home, my heart ached. I would miss their sweet faces, loud purrs and the many laughs I had watching them grow and play over the 3 ½ months they graced me with their lives. Deep down I realize it was my role to care for them so they could have a forever home and that is what I achieved. They will always leave a soft spot in my heart.
Casper and Cotton have adjusted wonderfully to their new home. On the ride home, they enjoyed watching Cat in the Hat on the car DVD player. Once at home, they pranced right up the stairs and made it their own. Their new big kitty sister is adjusting to the cute little muffins and they are enjoying watching cartoons with the family s two young children. Their new mommy said that they couldn’t have asked for anything more.