“Unfortunately, the prognosis for survival is grim,” the emergency vet solemnly stated as she examined the scrawny days-old kitten.
Sarah Kelley, a foster mom with Sparkle Cat Rescue in Glen Raven, North Carolina, knew it didn’t look good when the kitten had been brought in. Filthy, starving, covered in fleas and suffering from a massive internal parasite infestation, he was barely clinging to life. But Sarah felt strongly that there had to be a reason he’d been the lone survivor when his mom and litter mates were attacked by some kind of animal.
“You’ve got a purpose, little man,” Sarah whispered, naming the tiny furball King. “Keep fighting.”
And with Sarah’s love and care, he did fight, growing stronger by the day. But at about three weeks old, Sarah began to notice King didn’t react to sounds. And tests confirmed her suspicion: King was deaf.
It caused a bit of worry about how many families would want to adopt him, but then Sarah remembered a former rescue resident, Bomba, who like most white, blue-eyed kittens had also been born with a genetic defect that causes deafness.
He’d found a loving home with a woman who’d already had another white deaf cat, Snow. I wonder if she’ d be willing to take King too? Sarah mused.
To Sarah’s surprise, when she reached out, Christina Moody shared she’d been following King’s progress on Sarah’s Instagram. “There’s just something about him. I feel like he belongs with us,” she said, agreeing to adopt King.
A fated family.
From the day Christina brought King home, the three deaf cats got along. King immediately became one of the boys, happily joining his brothers in play. But, just a few months later, Christina’s joy turned to sadness when Bomba passed away of an undiagnosed heart condition. Not only was her family devastated, but Snow was heartbroken.
Bomba had been his constant companion for two years, and now Snow was inconsolable.
Christina feared he’d never be himself again. But then she watched in awe as King padded into his brother’s kitty condo and curled up beside him. I’m here for you, he seemed to say as he snuggled close to Snow. King never left Snow’s side and, soon, Snow was happily chasing King around the house again.
Today, a year later, the two deaf cats remain inseparable and bring smiles to the thousands who follow them on Instagram. “King truly was meant to be in our family,” Christina smiles. “We found each other just when we both needed love most.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.