Man Finds A Kitten Outside His Garage And Realizes He's A Little Different
"We think the mom maybe felt comfortable leaving [the kitten] with us.”
Last June, Joshua Hiebert was cleaning up his garden in Tampa, Florida, when he spotted someone huddled in his driveway.
“As I was walking back to the house, I noticed this little lump of an orange kitten sitting up against our garage door,” Hiebert told The Dodo. “He was in the sun on the concrete, and it was, like, 90 degrees outside.”
Hiebert checked the area, but there was no sign of the kitten’s mom, so he quickly took a video to show his husband, Jose Tortolero. Hiebert knew that a feral cat colony lived in his neighborhood and had tried to be kind to them when they were around.
“We’d fed them before, so we think the mom maybe felt comfortable leaving [the kitten] with us,” Hiebert said.
Once Hiebert opened the garage door, the kitten stumbled inside and crouched in a corner. “He was very weak,” Hiebert said. “He couldn’t even really keep his head up, and we realized he wasn’t really engaging with us. Like, if we moved, he didn’t seem to be bothered either way. But we attributed it to the fact that he was very dehydrated.”
When Hiebert and Tortolero offered the kitten a bowl of water, they noticed that he dipped his paw in and tapped the water before he drank, as if testing its depth. That’s when they realized the little orange kitten was blind.
The couple rushed to the pet store for supplies and hand-fed the kitten, who seemed grateful for the meal and a comfortable place to sleep. The next day, the kitten, whom they named Whiskers, was full of energy.
They brought Whiskers to the vet for a checkup, where he was given eye drops, eye lubricants and antibiotics.
Though Whisker’s eyes started to get better with treatment, he’s almost entirely blind, only able to see changes in light and movements. His dads still hope his vision will improve with time and care, and are doing everything they can to help him.
Now, at 6 months old, Whiskers is an energetic and independent kitten, who loves to play with his dads and his two dog siblings.
“He’s the sweetest,” Hiebert said. “He’ll never put his claws into you when he’s playing. He’s very gentle.”
“He gets excited every time he’s done eating,” he added. “He gets the zoomies and runs around the house.”
While Whiskers still has some healing and growing to do, he’s happy as long as he’s near one of his dads. And Hiebert and Tortolero are grateful to share their life and home with him.
“We love him so much,” Hiebert said. “He’s definitely part of the family.”