The Van Wilpe family decided to take in a stray cat, now named Bocelli, whom they had seen wandering around their neighborhood for several months. It was when they attempted to trap the cat they discovered he was blind. This made the process of catching him a little more difficult because they had to first win his trust to get close to him and one can only imagine the fear within this poor animal.

Once he was caught, the Van Wilpe family brought him to the local vet in Tallahassee, Florida where they were informed about his condition. Bocelli was two years old and born blind according to the vet. Since he was already neutered it was assumed he once belonged to somebody.

The Van Wilpes were told surgery could help this sweet blind stray and increase his chances of survival as well as his quality of life. Normally, the family wouldn’t think twice about helping Bocelli, but at the time they were already paying expensive vet bills to keep their own family cat comfortable and stable as he was being treated for a growing terminal cancer. The Van Wilpes had a hard decision to make, as they couldn’t stand the thought of Bocelli wandering the streets blind and terrified.

Instead of sending him back out to fend for himself, the Van Wilpes opened their doors and reached out to ISF for some financial assistance. Other than the news of having his eyes removed and stitched shut to avoid infection, Bocelli checked out good with the vet. He has received his rabies shot, tested negative for feline leukemia & aids, and was given an antibiotic and lubricating eye drops plus oral antibiotics for his infected eyes. Surgery was necessary to avoid chronic infections from occurring in Bocelli’s eyes.

ISF answered the Van Wilpe family’s request with financial assistance toward the eye surgery. The Van Wilpe family sent an update stating Bocelli had his surgery and is doing well. Since he was completely blind prior to this, he didn’t have to adjust to losing his vision. “He is finding his way around the house, just a little less active as the pain medication makes him sleep more,” Kim Van Wilpe stated. It turned out Bocelli’s eyelids were growing inward and causing chronic infections. His eyes were so far recessed behind irritated eye tissue the vet had a hard time finding them.

“Thank you very much for helping us with Bocelli,” Kim Van Wilpe said, “we love him so much and more and more each day!”

Written by Whitney Norton