Our story involves three loving kittens, Vlad, Nico, and Zara. These Three Musketeers aren't ordinary felines as they were all born with a rare condition called Eyelid Agenesis which means they don't have normal eyelids and because of this, they aren't able to blink properly. Cats suffering from Eyelid Agenesis often develop ulcers because the hair around their eyes rub on the corneas with no eyelids to protect them. Dry eyes is another painful side effect, requiring eye ointment to be administered three times a day.
The poor kittens were strays and eventually brought into an animal control center before Cattails Feline Rescue (CFR) quickly took them in. Due to their medical condition, Vlad, Nico, and Zara all needed extra care so they were placed in a foster home while they awaited their surgeries. CFR told ISF why they knew these lovable kittens were so special right from the start, “These three kittens are very active, friendly, and sweet. Despite their disability, they are normal crazy kittens!” They went on to say, ”Even though they would have to have reconstructive surgery and would never look like completely 'normal' cats, their unique appearance will make them more special to the right adopter”.
Eyelid Agenesis is rare and requires specialized surgery so the medical procedures haven't been performed often. The surgery often involves removing some tissue from the lips and “flipping it up” to make new eyelids. Even after the procedures are done, the cats still require daily monitoring and care for six weeks. CFR contacted ISF to see if we could assist with the costs of the health and recovery of these adorable kittens and we were so happy to extend a helping hand! Although all three of our furry friends had Eyelid Agenesis, each case was a little different.
Vlad needed more tissue for his eyelids so he had three long incisions on each side of his face after the surgery. He had some swelling after surgery, but he still was happy, playful, and 'snuggly'. The procedure was an instant success and he was more comfortable and able to blink his eyes even through the initial swelling.
Zara's eyelid defects weren't as severe as Vlad's so she was able to have a less invasive procedure performed. After surgery, she had some minor complications because of tissue swelling and scarring, requiring a second surgery which corrected the problems.
Now we come to Nico. Sweet little Nico had a Heart Murmur in conjunction with his Eyelid Agenesis. He was placed on medication to help his heart pump more effectively and was scheduled to see a cardiologist before his surgery was planned. Unfortunately, Nico passed away suddenly of complications from his Heart Murmur. CFR told ISF, “It was heartbreaking for all involved. He was a very playful and active young cat [and he] just died suddenly. Although his life was short, he was very loved”. It's always incredibly difficult to lose a loved one, furry or otherwise, and we're glad that Nico was in a loving and caring place when he had to go.
We are extremely happy to report both Vlad and Zara are doing very well in their forever homes! Their surgeries were successful, and they now have working eyelids, allowing them to be happier and more comfortable, just like young cats should be. They were both adopted by their foster mom who had cared for them since they were first rescued. We're told, “They are very playful young cats and are always found snuggled up together!”
By Brandy D. Anderson
Edited by Bob Stone