Nancy Hutchinson is the president and founder of Michigan Cat Rescue. She just happened to be visiting a kill shelter in May 2015 when she noticed a blue-eyed kitty on death row.
Hutchinson saw something in the quiet senior cat, and decided to pull him from the shelter and foster him herself until a suitable adopter could be found.
His name was Apollo and he had lost his elderly owner – a woman who had raised him since he was a kitten – when she was confined to a nursing home. Now he was a senior himself, trapped in a bustling animal shelter with an uncertain future.
Upper respiratory infections are highly infectious and quite common among cats from high-volume shelters. Apollo’s illness was so severe that his left eye eventually ruptured and had to be surgically removed despite aggressive treatment.
Apollo had lost one of his most beautiful features – his gorgeous, ice-blue eyes. Since many adopters choose their new pets based on looks, Hutchinson grew concerned for his chances of finding a forever home. He already had one strike against him – his age. Now he had a second strike.
During an adoption event, Hutchinson witnessed a heartbreaking scene when a woman approached Apollo and thoughtlessly announced what she thought of him.
“He was sitting in a cage and she told him to his face that he was ugly.” Hutchinson told The Dodo.”I truly believe that he understood her because he put his head down. I could tell that he felt bad and it made me cry.”
Hutchinson tried everything she could think of to find the perfect home for the cat she had fallen in love with. She admits to thoroughly scrutinizing each adoption application that comes in for one of her cats, but says she does so to ensure they remain safe, indoor pets.
Nineteen months rolled by before a certain adoption application crossed Hutchinson’s desk and instantly caught her attention. The woman’s name was Denise. She was single, in her mid-fifties, financially stable, and lived quietly with no other pets.
“I don’t know what it was, but I just started crying and thought, ‘This is the one,'” Hutchinson told The Dodo. “I called her and said, ‘We’ve been waiting for you for so long to come along.’ We both started crying.”
When Denise met Hutchinson and Apollo there were even more tears. The “ugly” and “unadoptable” cat had finally found his match.
Hutchinson emphasizes that although Apollo found his happy ending, thousands more special needs cats are still waiting. She told The Dodo:
“They’re not perfect cosmetically, but they have beautiful hearts, beautiful souls and truly deserve a second chance.”
H/T to The Dodo
Featured Image via Michigan Cat Rescue