Karen Hemza of St. Anne, Illinois, has been trapping and rescuing stray cats for over twelve years. She’s seen a lot in those twelve years, but Stevie the cat brought a whole new challenge to her operation.
Stevie, a six-week-old kitten, came under Hemza’s care. He’s a mix of yellowish-brownish, and Henza describes him as playful. At first glance, Stevie seems to be a normal cat.
But Henza learned otherwise when she took him to the VCA-County West Animal Hospital in Kankakee. It turned out that Stevie had been born without eyelids. He can’t blink or close his eyes, and has to squint to block out excess light. Explains Henza, “Stevie’s eyes would just get drier and drier. He would rub them. It would be a matter of time until he couldn’t see anymore.”
Luckily for Stevie, he was taken in by Momence foster pet parents Joelle Warwick and Samantha Rich. Warwick and Rich apply drops to Stevie’s eyes every three to four hours. Stevie is a willing patient and quickly goes back to playing after receiving his eye drops.
A surgery intended to repair Stevie’s eyelids would give him a chance at a recovery, but the surgery is rare and expensive. Luckily for Stevie, a surgeon at Purdue is willing to do the procedure, and gave Hemza a good rate for the surgery.
“They gave us a real good price, but we still need to raise some money,” explained Hemza. “People who love cats or people who know what it’s like to have eye problems can just donate to Sunrise Center Animal Rescue. The surgery is set for Dec. 8, and we’re going to need almost $1,000.”
Stevie will continue his treatments with Warwick and Rich until his surgery date arrives. If all goes well, Stevie could have a chance to experience what it’s like to have eyelids. Once he’s recovered, Stevie will be put up for adoption, like all of the other cats that Hemza rescues.