Feral Kitten Finds Family To Accept Him, Special Needs & All

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on June 23, 2017

Note to readers: some photos in this story show Inky’s medical condition. 

When Inky arrived in this world he already had three strikes against him. He was born the only black kitten to a feral mother. While survival rates vary by location, many feral kittens die or disappear within six months of their birth. Even if they make it to a shelter, black cats like Inky are less likely to be adopted. Rounding out his trifecta of bad luck, Inky suffers from a rare genetic condition called eyelid agenesis that causes impaired vision and a unique physical appearance.

The odds were definitely against him, but Inky soon found a guardian angel.

A post shared by Hannah Erbe (@inky_no_eyelids_andjasperdog) on

Hannah Erbe comes from a family of animal lovers. They have three rescue dogs, two rescue cats, two parrots, five leopard geckos, two sugar gliders, one bearded dragon, one European giant legless lizard and some fish!

A post shared by Hannah Erbe (@inky_no_eyelids_andjasperdog) on

Erbe is an artist specializing in animal sculptures. One day her mentor showed her a litter of feral kittens next to her art studio. The woman was feeding the mama, but the kittens – one in particular – didn’t appear to be doing well.

A post shared by Hannah Erbe (@inky_no_eyelids_andjasperdog) on

They all had severe conjunctivitis, and the littlest one – the “black sheep” – was weak and not growing at the same rate as his littermates. Inky was so sick that Erbe was able to pick him right up while the other kittens scattered.

At home, Erbe gently cleaned away the dirt, debris and discharge from the tiny, flea-infested kitten’s face. That was when she first noticed that Inky’s eyes were oddly shaped. She did some research and her veterinarian confirmed that the kitten had eyelid agenesis. The condition occurs more often in feral colonies due to inbreeding.

A post shared by Hannah Erbe (@inky_no_eyelids_andjasperdog) on

Despite the stress of their first day together, little Inky began to bond to his new owner right away. The same filthy cat that had bit her hand in defiance when captured now fell asleep warm, happy and with a full belly on her lap!

With all the crusty debris removed from his eyes, Inky began to see the world for the first time. He stared at his tiny paws in fascination and seemed shocked by the presence of his skinny black tail. When he was old enough, Cryotherapy was performed to remove the hairs growing into his eyes and reduce chronic inflammation.

Inky will always look different and he will never have perfect vision, but he is happy, mischievous, brave, naughty, cuddly and energetic – just like any other cat! His favorite activities include mock-attacks on the family fish, ambushing the furry pets, learning new tricks, and visiting people in the bathroom – whether they like it or not.

I love climbing!! #climb #kitten #cats #fun #inkythenoeyelidscat #blackcatsofinstagram #eyelidagenesis

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Erbe hopes that Inky’s story will inspire others to take a chance on a special needs cat. Whether they have eyelid agenesis, a missing limb, or some other ailment, special kitties give just as much love and need you twice as much!