After stumbling upon Myrtle’s Instagram profile, we were immediately intrigued and decided to feature her on our platform. We reached out to her mother Brandi, who works at an emergency veterinary hospital in New Jersey, to learn more about this beautiful one-eyed cat born with genetic abnormalities. Through our interview, we discovered that Myrtle was only five months old when she first met her mom, and we also learned 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!
Fluffy asks, “How did you meet Myrtle?” and Brandi responds by saying that she encountered Myrtle when the breeder surrendered her to the veterinary office where she works. Brandi stumbled upon Myrtle in one of the cages while visiting the office for an unrelated matter.
She appeared to be extremely unhappy and despondent, lacking a significant amount of personality or motivation to interact with others. Her right eye had suffered a rupture as a result of an untreated ulcer.
MAF: What motivated you to offer a home to a cat with genetic abnormalities?
B: I have a tendency to rescue kittens with special needs occasionally. Since I had access to the necessary resources, thanks to my employment at a specialized veterinary hospital, I knew I could offer her the best possible care.
Could you tell us how you came up with her name?
I have a soft spot for giving old-fashioned names to cats, so when I adopted Myrtle, I asked all my colleagues for name suggestions and we narrowed it down to a few options before voting. Myrtle emerged as the winner.
MAF: What are some common misconceptions that people have about cats with genetic abnormalities?
B: Some people believe that cats with genetic abnormalities cannot live normal lives and cannot enjoy the same things as other cats.
MAF: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a result of Myrtle having genetic abnormalities?
B: Myrtle has a jaw malformation that 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 medication. 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.
Do you have any interesting facts or insights that you wish more people knew about unique cats, especially those with genetic abnormalities? Let’s share some knowledge about these fascinating felines!
These cats can be some of the most affectionate feline companions you’ll ever have. They appreciate your care and compassion, and with the help of great owners who assist them in overcoming their disabilities, they make amazing pets. If you’re fully committed and prepared to take on a special needs kitty, they can be an incredible addition to most families.
MAF: What activities does Myrtle enjoy?
B: Myrtle loves to travel, spend time with her sisters, and go outside in the backyard.
MAF: How important is Myrtle to you?
B: Myrtle is incredibly important to me. Before adopting her, I had lost my beloved cat Gladys, who was the center of my world. Myrtle has quickly filled the void in my heart left by Gladys. Being Myrtle’s mom now takes up the majority of my life and personality.
Myrtle is my constant companion, accompanying me wherever I go, whether it’s traveling or spending time in our other home in Montana. She joins me for horse shows, local fairs, hiking trips, and horseback riding excursions. Initially, I believed that Myrtle relied on me, but eventually, I came to realize that I relied on her just as much as she relied on me.