Between Bellis, Dean, Pirate, Sam and Waffle, we’ve had quite the parade of zero- and one-eyed cats this year.
The latest optically-impaired angel to stroll onto the scene is quite the little wonder. Friends, I introduce you to tiny Flora.
Our little flower was found by a kind-hearted older farmer, who was worried when he saw how emaciated she was, and how “not-right” her eyes seemed. He was surprised and quite thankful when he found out that such an “imperfect” kitten could, through a series of events, make her way to Tabby’s Place. I trust that, when he took a gander at the cast of characters in our lobby (sometimes known as the Island of Misfit Toys), he realized the beautifully imperfect Flora would be in excellent company.
Despite being grievously underweight and the snack of chewing lice, Flora was a wee firecracker from her first moments at Tabby’s Place, giving the farmer and Denise each a good nip with her teensy teeth. But as soon as the little one settled in with her adoring foster mama, Kelly (one of my personal heroes for her patience with cats good, “bad” and wacky), she became the love-bug I had a feeling she’d be from the moment I laid eyes on her.
Although, as you can see, Flora’s eyes look quite worse for wear, she is able to see us with one of them. While the left eye appears to have been ruptured some time ago, and will need to be removed, Flora’s right eye is doing a fine job of letting her find the food, loving arms and endless world of playthings she seeks. It’s a bit too soon to say whether this remaining eye will have some long-term scarring or if that will improve as she grows, but our vet expects that Flora’s vision will be at least as good as that of Pirate, and likely far better. It’s a joy to see that, as Flora puts on much-needed weight, her eye looks progressively healthier and less sunken.
As our little girl blooms, a few friends have asked about her name. When it comes to kittens, we sometimes take turns naming them at Tabby’s Place, but more often than not it becomes a free-for-all, with the whole staff calling out possibilities while cooing at the new addition. (Actual recent example: “Cheerio?” “Cheerio sounds like a girl.” “How about Oatmeal?” “I like Cheerio better than Oatmeal.” “I love Oatmeal?” “How about Maypo? Anyone remember the Maypo commercial? Maypo is a great name.” “Umm…how about Cheerio?” “Waffle?” “WAFFLE!!! That’s it!”)
I actually had the honor of being the one to call out “Flora” a few minutes after meeting our spunky little survivor, and I’m grateful it was a unanimous hit. She is named after one of the wisest and loveliest ladies I ever met. The human Flora was a dear friend at my old church. She was about 80 years old, 4’9″ tall and from the Caribbean, and had lived a hard life with much pain, physically and otherwise. Yet she was consistently one of the most joyful human beings I have ever had the blessing to know. Nobody sang with more joy or rejoiced from a deeper place in the heart than Flora the human bean. I want to be like her when I grow up! I want Flora the cat to live a life of such unsinkable joy.
With the amazing Kelly as her loving foster mama, a flock of adoring fans, and that huge spirit in her tiny body, our little flower is off to a very strong start.