UPDATE: Discarded in the Trash, Kitten without Eyes Gets a Holiday Miracle

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How a kitten without eyes brought a family together

Hours before the sun came up, Alanna Lundin and her three children arrived at OHS and began to wait. They knew they needed to arrive early if they wanted to have a chance to adopt the sweet little blind kitten named Ilene that been featured on the news.

Alanna is no stranger to helping pets in need. For the last nine months, her family has fostered dozens of kittens and puppies who were not quite ready for their forever home. “We’ve taken care of bottle babies, puppies recovering from surgery, and animals that are too young to be at the shelter,” says Alanna.

But there was something special about Ilene.

“When we saw her story on the news, it broke our hearts,” adds Alanna.  “The kids were the ones who decided that we needed to adopt her. They wanted to shower her with love and give her a family.”

Alanna and her teenaged children were also drawn to Ilene because they understood how being part of a loving family could help heal the deepest wounds.

Three years ago, Alanna was introduced to her then foster children. The three siblings, age 10, 11 and 14 had been the victims of unthinkable neglect. But Alanna was determined to help them overcome their painful past and start a new chapter. With love, patience, the help of experts and the support of Alanna’s community, the children began to transform.

Alanna thought the family might benefit from having a pet in the family, but decided that fostering would be a great option. “I wanted to teach the kids and show them how we love animals and people,” says Alanna. She credits their experience as an OHS foster family as the catalyst for helping the children blossom.

“Fostering the animals brings them so much joy,” notes Alanna. “OHS has helped us become a family. It is a privilege that we are trusted with these baby animals. We learn a lot from them.”

Last month, Alanna adopted her three children who are now teenagers. Bringing Ilene into the family represents a special milestone for this new family. “This is the first time, as a family, that we have picked a pet to adopt,” notes Alanna.

When Alanna and her children finally had the chance to meet Ilene that Saturday morning, it was love at first sight. ““There were so many tears on the way home,” says Alanna. We were so excited.”

Ilene is settling into her new home and joins three other cats who were adopted from OHS. “Adopting this special kitten has been a good thing for all of us.”

This holiday season, your gift has the power to change a pet’s story. Plus, all donations will be matched up to $50,000, courtesy of the Willard L. and Ruth P. Eccles Foundation!


Original story of Ilene, Dec. 13, 2019

It’s hard to imagine the pain and fear this kitten endured. She was found soaked by the cold rain, wrapped in a bag in a pile of trash. A good Samaritan heard her cries for help, wrapped her in a t-shirt and brought her to the local animal shelter in Madera, CA.

The tiny kitten was named Ilene. Despite all she’d gone through, she started purring and soliciting affection the moment she was rescued.

While Ilene’s story began at a small, crowded shelter in central California, thanks to a partnership between the Oregon Humane Society, Madera Animal Services and PetSmart Charities, she was transported to Oregon. With the new Cat and Kitten Intake Center at OHS, the shelter is able to save more feline lives by accepting large transports of cats and kittens from underserved communities.

“When we got the call to help with Ilene, we immediately said ‘yes,’” says Mia Heaslet, OHS Second Chance Program Manager. “We are fortunate at OHS to have a great medical team who are well versed in unusual conditions.”

“It’s likely that she has a condition called microphthalmia in both eyes and was already blind,” says Dr. Maia Titcomb, OHS veterinarian. “This condition is usually caused by a congenital defect in cats, but can also be due to trauma or infection.”

Ilene received surgery this week to treat the eye area and prevent any future infections. “Not being able to see has not slowed Ilene down a bit,” added Dr. Titcomb. “She is a happy, playful kitten.”

Ilene was adopted on Saturday, December 14.

 “The resiliency of this tiny kitten and the compassion of the people who saved her are inspiring,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO. “The next step for this special feline is to spend the holidays with a new, loving family.”

This holiday season, your gift has the power to change a pet’s story. Plus, all donations will be matched up to $50,000, courtesy of the Willard L. and Ruth P. Eccles Foundation!

Your gift saves lives. Please give today and help a pet in need.

33 Responses to “UPDATE: Discarded in the Trash, Kitten without Eyes Gets a Holiday Miracle”

  1. Don bacon

    Is she still up for adoption

  2. Tabitha Roberts

    I would love to adopt her! Please email me with information on how much, and I will come pick her up tomorrow when she is available.

  3. Mary Millard

    Beautiful Ilene looks very much like the blind kitten I adopted from OHS back in the early 2000s. Does anyone there remember “Angel”? Erika Sims, you likely will! She was a purrfect kitten; I wish I could adopt Ilene now too!

  4. Bekah Yoder

    We are interested in adopting Ilene 🙂

  5. Annie O'Connor

    I currently have a blind cat who needs a friend! I live in CO but would gladly give this little lady a loving home!

  6. Suzan Hilkey

    I am interested in adopting Ilene.

  7. Kaurie Clough

    How would I find out if this would be a good fit for this kitten in my home

  8. Cherie

    I would like to adopt Ilene. I’ve had animals and pets my entire life. My cats have always been indoors to keep them safe.

  9. Manuel

    Is she still available for adoption?

  10. Dee

    I adopted a blind kitty, Daredevil, from OHS in 2015. She a healthy, happy, affectionate purrball today. I hope Ilene finds her home soon!

  11. Kathy Forest

    I have two rescue kitties aged 4 and 5. But I would take Ilene if she doesn’t find a “very good” home. I had two other kitties that I got when they were kittens. My little boy Casper died at the age of 16. And my Katie lived to be 21 years old.

  12. Dave & Jennifer Dahlberg

    We want to adopt Illene!

  13. Donna Thorpe

    I am sure you have had a lot of interests in adopting Ilene. I am curious how well she will do with other cats? My husband and I and our fur babies, would love to give her a permanent home in time for the Holidays!
    Thank you for your time!!

  14. Ruben

    What’s the fee I want to take her in to my home I also live in tx

  15. Ruben Alonzo

    I want to give her unconditional love I want her to know that she not alone

  16. Casey Csaszar

    Hello! I am seriously interested in adopting sweet Ilene. We have a loving home, with 2 adult rescue cats (Pete and Penny, brother and sister) that would love to have Ilene in their life. I am a stay at home mom that could provide the extra attention Ilene needs.

    Please let me know what I can do to find out more about the process, or if we could come visit her. Thank you!

    Casey Csaszar

  17. John TranetzkiTranetzki

    Is Ilene still available for adoption. We are interested, already have a blind kitty.

  18. Patty Nelson

    Is Ilene still in need of a home?

  19. April Korsmeyer

    I live in Illinois but will gladly take her. I currently have 2 blind cats. My first one is 7 1/2 years old. He was found in my barn in a litter of feral cats. I brought him inside and bottle feed him so she didn’t hide him. My second one is 8 years old. He was an outside cat here on the farm until I seen there was vision problems. He is now an inside cat. The vet thinks maybe he had some type of CVA type incident and lost all blood supply to his eyes. They are both happy and healthy furbabies! Please contact me if we can make this possible for her!!

  20. Althea Holland

    Is Ilene still up for adoption? I live in South Carolina and would be interested in her adoption. I have had a special needs kitty in the past.

  21. Darlene

    I don’t know how people can be so mean.

  22. Andrea Rothenburgh

    I live in Pennsylvania would it be possible to adopt Ilene. I have always adopted rescues. I would love to give her a happy loving home for the Holidays, will there be an adoption fee? I would love to hear from you. I saw her and my heart swelled and connected. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you

  23. Julie Kalegi

    So happy to see Iilene has been adopted. Even though I live in Seattle, I would have driven to Portland to scoop up that little Love Bug. She is adorable and will be a great addition to a family. I hope whoever adapted her has a ton of love and affection for that little girl. She deserves it. Thanks OHS!!!

  24. Darren Criss

    Would love to take Ilene in & give her a new home

  25. Leanne Nielsen

    Loved this story and am so happy she got adopted quickly. I wanted her but I live in Wisconsin! 👍🤓

  26. Judy ReedGreen

    I would love to adopt that fur baby but I’m on the east coast. My husband and I are both disabled but fairly independent. We did have 5 cats in our household but now down to 2 cats. One is outside and one is inside and about 18 yrs. old. Both are short haired domesticated cats. Its probably impossible because of the cost of transporting the cat to be able to adopt that beautiful kitten.
    I just had to tell you my little story.

  27. Trish Bell

    I would love to adopt this poor blind/eyeless kitty! I love special needs pets! I have a cat with downsyndrom and 1 with only 3 legs. (He was attacked by the vet thinks an owl when he was a baby) it doesnt slow him down! Please if this kitten needs a home and there is no one willing to take her, I will travel from SC to come get her! She is purrfect!

  28. Ricky

    Is the cat still available?

  29. Victoria Hampton

    Thank you all for asking about Ilene. She was adopted on Saturday morning.

  30. Jane Sullivan

    Tiny love!!!

  31. Diane

    Yay for Ilene. I am so happy for her. I would have taken her in a heartbeat. Wonderful news. Home for the holidays.

  32. Gail

    I am so happy she was adopted!!!

  33. Jennilee Featherkile

    So happy to hear she’s been adopted by an amazing family. I wish them the best!

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