Last fall, Karen Collins found herself living on her own after separating from her partner of many years. There was an empty place in her heart. When a friend contacted her with an opportunity to foster kittens found on a farm, she jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, all of them had developed severe eye infections and required a lot of care.
“Arthur’s happened to be the worst,” she recalls. “The infection was so bad, I don’t think he could see at all at that time …They decided to remove both of his eyes. It was a really rough recovery—a lot of late nights rocking him in my arms to get him to settle down, a lot of visits to the ER, a lot of close calls.”
Between his expensive medication and vision impairment, Arthur was considered unadoptable. But Collins couldn’t bear to see this lovable little kitten without a home.
“He really gave me a sense of purpose during a difficult time for me,” she says. “I wake up every morning to little Arthur’s kisses; he’s got his little face in mine and kisses my nose. He’s gotten used to sleeping with me every night.”
Minnesota Monthly readers, web visitors, and social followers took to Arthur just as quickly, crowning him the winner of its second annual PetFest competition. PetFest is made possible by Nutrisource, a company committed to supporting animals everywhere. In the Twin Cities, they fund the Facility Dog Program at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. The program’s 2-year-old golden retriever, Rocket, provides support and comfort to children and families during the most stressful moments of their care.
At 7 months old, little Arthur is thriving and has become a little mischief-maker. “You’d never think he was blind,” Collins says, since his other senses are so finely tuned. “Even though he can’t see, he doesn’t have any problem getting into trouble…The other day I came home and the dishwasher’s open, and he’s licking the plates. Once in a while he’ll run into something, so then you’re reminded that he can’t see, but he navigates life as if he can.” Because he can’t see, Arthur’s toys are all very sound-based, so he loves anything that makes noise or crinkles.
Despite all the challenges he’s faced, Arthur is an easy-going cat. “I say his mantra in life is ‘Wherever I go, there I am,’” she continues. “His demeanor is so sweet. I’ve never heard him growl or hiss, and he loves to snuggle and give kisses.”
Collins can’t emphasize enough what a blessing Arthur has been for her. As a rescue cat, Arthur was given another shot at life, an opportunity that not everyone would have given him. “I can’t imagine [Arthur] not being around. The rescue really provided that life for him.”
To learn more about PetFest, see the 2020 winner, and find more adorable pets, click here.