The little black kitten was found in a woodpile outside of a Manhattan art studio. Starving and suffering from an eye condition, the kitten needed a hero. Cue Hannah Erbe, a young woman who was attending an art class the day the kitten was found. She not only offered to catch the kitten but also to get him much needed medical assistance. What the kitten, named Inky, and Erbe didn't realize was an incredible friendship that would form when Inky met Erbe's dog, Jasper.
During her art class, Erbe saw her teacher feeding the little stray kitten. "He was starving and was out eating it. When my teacher led me to him, I was able to corner him and pick him up," said Erbe. It appeared that the kitten couldn't see due to heavy debris in his eyes, so Erbe rushed the cat to the veterinarian's office.
It was there that Erbe found out the kitten was barely three weeks old, was born without eyelids, and was near death. "He was close to death when he was found, nothing but skin and bones, totally blind from all the discharge and debris in his eyes. My vet calls him a miracle kitten," Erbe recalled.
Inky was born with Feline Eyelid Agenesis, a congenital defect where the upper eyelid never forms. The kitten couldn't close his eyes when he blinked, and dirt and hair were constantly getting into his eyes, causing infections and discomfort. "When we cleaned his eyes for the first time, he just stood and stared at his paw like he had never seen it before," Erbe stated.
To correct Inky's condition, he needed to have cryotherapy surgery. Erbe stated, "Cryotherapy will permanently kill the hair follicles around his eyes and eliminate the painful hairs that are growing into his eyes, ultimately saving his vision."
In Erbe's home, with his eyes now cleared, Inky was a bit overwhelmed. But luckily for him, there was a beautiful soul more than happy to help him adapt to his new home: Jasper! "I remember that the first time they 'met' was from under the bathroom door, they could smell each other. Jasper is always near me and used to lay outside the bathroom door while I sat in there with Inky for hours, helping him get used to being around people," said Erbe.
Slowly, as Inky grew stronger, he overcame his initial fear of the dog. After Inky's surgery, Jasper became protective and comforting toward the cat. "After his eyelid surgery I had to watch them very closely because Jasper wanted to lick his face, and Inky wanted him too," Erbe said. "Jasper has been such a comforting presence to Inky as he heals."
Erbe wonders if this friendship was meant to be because Inky and Jasper have so much in common. "They are both rescues and have matching colors. They are both confident and very sweet and affectionate. They follow me around together, so they are almost never apart," she stated.
Although Inky's vision will never be perfect, he will always have loyal Jasper to help him out around the house. "Inky lets Jasper lick his head and face, and Jasper lets Inky rub on his neck," said Erbe.
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