A kindhearted couple adopted a disabled kitten that had been abandoned

When we saw Myrtle on Instagram, we knew we had to feature her! We interviewed her mom Brandi, who works at an emergency veterinary hospital in New Jersey, to learn more about this beautiful one-eyed cat who was born with genetic abnormalities. Not only did we discover that Myrtle was just five months old when she met her mom for the first time, but we also found out about the challenges and joys of caring for a cat with genetic abnormalities. We hope you enjoy learning about Myrtle as much as we did!

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

Meow As Fluff: How did you meet Myrtle?

Brandi: Myrtle was surrendered by her breeder to a vet office that I work with. I went in for something completely unrelated and ended up seeing her in one of the cages.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

She was very sad and depressed. She didn’t seem to have much of a personality or want to interact. Her right eye was ruptured from a bad eye ulcer that went untreated.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

MAF: What made you decide to provide a home to a cat with genetic abnormalities?

B: I rescue special needs kitties semi-regularly. I knew I had the resources due to working for a specialty vet hospital that would allow me to get her the best possible care.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

MAF: Can you tell us the story behind her name?

B: I have a thing for old lady cat names so when I got Myrtle I asked all my coworkers for name options and we narrowed it down to a few options and then voted. Myrtle won.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

MAF: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about cats with genetic abnormalities?

B: People believe that they don’t live normal lives and that they can’t enjoy the same things as other cats.

MAF: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a result of Myrtle having genetic abnormalities?

B: Myrtle has a malformation of her jaw which makes eating food difficult so she requires soft food only. She also does not have the ability to close her one remaining eye so she needs frequent eye medications. Myrtle has little to no airflow through her nose due to malformation so she breathes primarily through her mouth and is sensitive to hot environments. She also has open fontanelles (which are holes in her skull) these are present in all kittens and puppies but should close as they grow, hers did not.

We still have not gotten to the bottom of the reason why Myrtle never grew properly, she is still the size of a 14-week-old kitten and at 1 year old only weighs 4lbs. Due to her small size and breathing issues, she is difficult to do testing on because most tests require more blood than she is able to spare. Although she never grew to the proper size her eyeballs did which made them stick out from her eye sockets. She was running around one day and ended up hitting a wall and re-rupturing her right eye which we ended up having to have removed.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

MAF: What do you wish more people knew about special cats, particularly cats with genetic abnormalities?

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

B: They often are some of the most loving cats you could ever ask for. They are appreciative of your care and compassion and make amazing pets with a little help from great owners that help them overcome their disabilities. As long as you are fully committed and equipped to take on a special needs kitty they are an amazing addition to most families.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

MAF: What are some of Myrtle’s favorite activities?

B: She loves to travel, play with her sisters and go outside in the backyard.

MAF: What does she mean to you?

B: Myrtle means the world to me. Prior to getting her, I lost my amazing cat Gladys who was the center of my world. Myrtle has quickly filled in the spot in my heart that Gladys left behind. Being Myrtle’s mom now takes up the majority of my life and personality.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

She goes everywhere and does everything with me from traveling to our other home in Montana, going to horse shows, attending local fairs, going hiking, and horseback riding. I like to think Myrtle really needed me but in the end, I think I needed her just as much as she needed me.

one eyed exotic shorthair kitten with genetic abnormalities

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