It was a cold December day when Mandie, who already has three cats and a dog of her own, had to stop her car suddenly to avoid hitting the small calico kitten wandering aimlessly by the roadside. When she approached to assess the situation and get the kitten out of harm’s way, she realized that Darlene, as she came to be named, couldn’t see. Her eyes seemed small, and they were matted shut with yellow discharge. She was very friendly, though, and seemed to appreciate having a kind person stop to help her.

Unsure what to do with a sick stray kitten, Mandie interrupted her errands and drove straight to the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga where her three cats receive their medical care. When the veterinarian examined Darlene she found the kitten’s fur had been shaved all over and her whiskers had been cut short. Darlene also had signs of severe upper respiratory and eye infection. Her left eye was closed completely, and the socket was sunken. Her right eye was barely open, and there was so much discharge and cloudiness that the globe of the eye could barely be seen. Both Mandie and the kitten clearly needed help, so the doctor offered to keep Darlene at the Cat Clinic until her medical situation could be fully assessed and treatments started to address her health problems. Mandie, the doctor and the clinic staff also began to make a plan to find a safe and permanent home for this kitten in need.

With time and the right medications and nursing care, Darlene’s respiratory infection cleared, and she was examined and treated by a Board certified veterinary ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, both of her eyes had been so badly damaged that they needed to be removed to help prevent future complications. Another local veterinarian agreed to do these surgeries at a significantly discounted price, and she spayed Darlene at the same time. Darlene’s recovery at the Cat Clinic was quick, and then came the best news of all—Darlene went to her new forever home. She was adopted by a wonderful family who has had blind cats before and so understands their special needs. She has children, other cats and a dog to play with and lots of love and attention.

Many people were involved in helping Darlene along her path from illness and homelessness to health and a family. Over $700 in private donations from seven different donors went toward her medical costs, and her surgeries were discounted by almost $250, not to mention the services of the veterinary ophthalmologist which were given at no charge. The Alice Fund, with the help and generosity of its supporters and contributors, will cover the remaining medical bills. Thanks to everyone who came together to help this kitten in need, Darlene can now look forward to a happy and healthy future in her new home.