When Elizabeth Feldhausen, founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, wrote a blog entitled “Anophthalmia, Microphthalmia – Cats Without Eyes? FAQs”, she never imagined the impact it would have on a solo cat across the world. But there was one young kitten in the capital city of Abu Dhabi whose life would be forever altered because of it.
What type of miracle could cause this to happen? That would be a woman named Sarah Jamieson-Storozuk.
Sarah and her family moved from Canada to the United Arab Emirates in 2017. Right away she noticed that there were hundreds of cats living on the streets! There were no established shelters or organizations that would take them in. Many people simply leave their animals out on the streets during the summer while they vacation out of the country. Others just dump the unwanted pets and forget about them.
Animal lovers do all they can for the cats, but there are laws in place that make fundraising illegal.
The fate of these cats is left up to Good Samaritans at their own expenses. TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) programs are in place in some of the larger areas, but there are still costs associated with this that can be overwhelming.
However Sarah vowed to not just try to TNR these cats, she wanted to find them homes off the streets! A few months after arriving, she came across a black Arabian Mau kitten who was dumpster diving for food; not an uncommon discovery. What was different about this cat though, was a large wound on it’s back.
When she was able to get closer to the cat, she noticed that the poor baby didn’t have any eyes!
Sarah was able to trap the kitten and bring it to the veterinarian. She was told that normally cats with this rare condition usually have their eye sockets sewed shut. Unsure if the cat could see at all, she wanted to research the issue before making any decisions. He also needed to heal from the back wound before any decisions could be made.
She named the little boy Asher.
Life became a bit easier for Asher indoors. He loved to play, listen to music and bravely climb his cat tree. Treats became a special favorite for the deserving boy. Still, Sarah’s home was also a very active one. This kept Asher from becoming completely at ease and she knew he needed to find his forever home soon.
She continued her research and that is when she came across Elizabeth’s article. This mentioned cats could live perfectly healthy lives WITHOUT having to have their eyes sockets sewn shut!
Sarah immediately knew she had to find a way to get him to Safe Haven – where he could be with people who knew how to care for him.
But it was half way across the world! Fortunately, she did still have family in Canada that she would be visiting eventually. Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary was only about 600 miles from Toronto, where she and her daughter would be flying to.
She was dedicated to helping the sweet boy and in July 2017, she contacted Elizabeth and Safe Haven directly. After speaking, the women knew fate had lessened the distance between them. The mother-daughter journey eventually turned into Sarah, her daughter, Neve…and blind cat Asher!
They had to get Asher his own passport and make sure all the documentation was in place. The trip is not something as easy as just jumping on a plane. He had to fully heal, get up-to-date on all vaccines and shots, be neutered and micro-chipped.
On July 12, 2018, almost a year later, Asher arrived at Save Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“This little boy traveled from Abu Dhabi to Canada, and then drove through Michigan to Green Bay all in 2 days!”
Asher wore a ‘thunder shirt’ for the trip which acted like a security blanket for him. Sarah said he was great during the long plane ride.
To find the perfect home for Asher, they needed to be picky in their requirements. Being blind and abandoned on the streets, he was not very trusting of other animals right away. With a bit of patience, he may be willing to share his forever human. Children were another obstacle that Asher was better off avoiding. They were too loud and moved to quick for his comfort, usually leading to him attacking to defend himself.
He loved his humans and their attention though. When in his comfort zone, he played like any other “normal” kitten and still loved his music. One has to wonder if his love for song is due to a heightened sense of hearing from his lack of sight? Adorable either way!
It took all of ONE DAY for Asher to find his forever home!
The owner of a local sushi restaurant, Phin Sushi, was happy to provide Asher with all the fresh fish he could dream of! She fell head over heels for the sweet and silly kitten. It didn’t take Asher long to learn his way around her home and happily play with his new toys.
Not only did Asher have a new mom to love him from his boop-able nose to the tip of his tail, he got another surprise. He helped her welcome another sleek house panther kitten a few days later!
Asher looks like he’s going to be pretty accepting of his new friend! <3
Safe Haven wanted to remind everyone that this was a special circumstance.
“Safe Haven WILL take individual cases from out of state, and out of country, that require our medical expertise! We will NOT, however, begin to take large quantities of cats from other states or countries, when there is already an overpopulation problem right here at home in Wisconsin. To each their own. There will never be a shortage on cats! ❤️?”
*Our thoughts and prayers to reopen soon are with the Phin Sushi family after a fire caused extensive damage just a week ago. No humans or animals were hurt in the blaze.
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: Rescuing 2 Cats in Dubai