When a kitten was just a few months old first came to the Ottawa Humane Society, his ears were infested with mites and packed with other debris and his small head tilted severely to the right as a result of his infection.
The shelter at the time was very uncertain about what his ailments and any real hope for his future. They named him Chance because it wanted him to give the best possible “chance” of adoption.
That was a year ago.
While some might have refused to take in the special needs kitten, Elizabeth Wheeler and her husband, Craig, jumped at the opportunity.
“We brought him home and he is just the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met in my entire life,” stated Elizabeth. “Every single day, since he was a little kitten, he nuzzles up right into my shoulder and he’ll actually suckle and knead my hair. He’s just so quirky in his mannerisms.”
Elizabeth, who works in the humane society’s foster department, explained that she went into the adoption expecting the costs of Chance’s upkeep to be high. Mites had literally eaten away at his ears, scarring his right eardrum, rupturing the other and likely causing his deafness. Elizabeth was warned that Chance would require ongoing medication and also frequent vet visits and surgery — soon.
The last part of all that turned out to be true. Chance was adopted on Nov. 26, 2015, and he did require immediate surgery less than a week later when a surgeon at an animal hospital in Alta Vista scooped out the infection in his ear. The entire process cost $4,000.
Miraculously, despite all the initial warnings given by the shelter, Chance has had a clean bill of health ever since that time. He’s still got a bit of a head tilt as a result of the infection, and his ears occasionally flare up, but no major health issues at all persist for the now year-and-a-half old cat.
“Since then, his quality of life is perfect. He hasn’t had any problems,” stated Elizabeth. “The head tilt is slowly resolving. When he jumps off things, he’ll have to jump off of them sideways. He’ll aim to go straight, but he’ll go sideways!”
While Chance’s deafness doesn’t allow him to wander outside without being carefully supervised, it has bestowed him with some unique quirks.
“He meows louder than he should because he can’t hear himself,” Elizabeth stated. “Deaf cats are just so adorable. He doesn’t mind the vacuum cleaner. He’ll actually try and play with it.”
To people thinking of possibly adopting a special needs animal, but worried about medical costs or the commitment it takes to care for the pet, Elizabeth noted that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
“You get so much more back than you give to these special animals,” she stated. “With Chance, I can’t imagine our lives without him. He has truly enriched it.”
A very special day for Chance was at the humane society’s Wiggle Waggle Walkathon this September. Chance, a cat in a stroller at a dog affair, turned out to be one of the stars of the event.
“It was probably one of the best days of our lives, to be honest! Just seeing how happy he was and seeing everyone fawn over him. It kind of restores your faith in humanity to see so many people so excited to see a cat.”
Petfinder is an Ottawa Humane Society section in The UpBeat which features stories of the many animals needing forever homes.
Thanks to Rohit Saxena for the wonderful photography.