PENNSYLVANIA – She was found disfigured with a face like a horror movie character. However, Braille the kitten continues to inspire legions of fans after her miraculous recovery where her eyes had to be sewn shut to save her life.
The eight-week-old wee one may not look as cute and fluffy as most kittens that are her age, but her present appearance looks far prettier than her previous gruesome appearance when she was found abandoned in Philadelphia.
Owners Erin Signor, who is 22, and Sara Konnecke, who is 25, say their foster pet is now being referred to as ‘beacon of hope’ for people and animals with disabilities.
Braille was discovered neglected ad left on the streets at five weeks old and rushed to the Animal Care and Control Team Philadelphia, where Sara herself works.
The poor baby could barely eat or breathe, weighed just 11oz, and also had a serious respiratory infection.
One of her eyes had been crusted shut, and the tissue in the other had gone into proptosis so was bulging out of the socket to try and expel itself from out of the body.
It looked so bad they believed that Braille would have to be put down.
Sara however, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, wasn’t about tolet the shelter euthanize the kitten, and agreed to foster her to save her life.
Couple Sara and Erin, who also live with cats Daisy and Lily, simply refused to give up hope despite the kitten needing hot compresses and medication every few hours.
They have now praised the kitten for her ‘fearsome warrior spirit’ after her successful bilateral enucleation surgery.
Mechanical engineer Erin stated: ‘The first night we took Braille home I actually cried for hours because of how lethargic and distressed she was.
‘We honestly had no idea if she would make it, and wondered if she should have been humanely euthanized to end her suffering.
‘But Sara assured me she had seen kittens pull through incidents like this and she was determined we could save her.
‘After Braille’s surgery we took her back home and she purred for the first time ever.
‘It was almost as if we had brought home a new kitten!’
The couple then set up a Facebook page for the cat, which has since garnered over 1,600 fans who follow the updates on her condition.
‘At first we were very reluctant to share photos of Braille due to the gruesome nature of the photos,’ stated Erin.
‘But we decided to share her story when Sara’s sister Erika, who previously was too upset to look at her eye, saw her post-surgery photos and couldn’t believe how different she looked.’
Vets did finally have to remove Braille’s eyes despite her light weight, when she sneezed and her right eye ruptured.
They decided to remove both eyes in order to reduce the risk of infection of discomfort.
‘To us, the pictures with her stitches are so much less gruesome that her ‘before’ photos and it just shows her fearsome warrior spirit,’ stated the owner.
‘Fortunately, we haven’t had a single negative comment about her appearance yet – we think because everyone knows she’s going to get those stitches out and be a beautiful little girl!
‘We really hope Braille’s story will give as many people as possible in all situations hope.
‘Hope to beat illnesses, live life to the fullest while facing blindness or other disabilities and even just to remember how precious life itself is.’
Erin went on to say: ‘She is so special to us due to her amazing drive and will to continue fighting, even while on death’s doorstep.
‘We know she’s not out of the woods yet but have full confidence she’ll grow up to be a strong, healthy, blind cat.
‘We also hope Braille will raise awareness of how normal having a cat with a disability is and persuade other people to consider fostering a cat or kitten with a severe upper respiratory infection.’
Braille’s condition has been improving a bit each and every day, she can groom herself very well and enjoys sniffing everything around her.
Owner Erin concluded: ‘Braille also has a tiny, quiet meow she saves for moments where she is extremely happy – these are becoming more frequent with each day of her recovery.’