It’s heartbreaking to imagine the suffering Ilene went through. But thanks to donors, she got a second chance at life.
It was a rainy evening in central California when a good Samaritan heard the faint cries of a kitten. The tiny feline was found stuffed in a bag and tossed in a pile of garbage. Something about her eyes didn’t look right, and she obviously couldn’t see. But from that moment, it was clear Ilene was determined to survive.
Rescued from the trash
Ilene’s rescuer wrapped her in a t-shirt and rushed her to the local animal shelter, where she was given the name Ilene. As soon as she was dry, warm and fed, this sweet girl purred nonstop and sought attention from everyone she met.
That shelter is one of the Oregon Humane Society’s 85 Second Chance partner shelters. The Second Chance program saves even more lives by transporting pets to OHS from underserved communities with too many pets and not enough resources.
In addition, with OHS’s new Cat and Kitten Intake Center, launched in July 2019, the shelter can accept large transports, saving more lives. In 2019, 1,066 feline lives were saved because of the Intake Center.
Also, OHS is able to care for pets who need complex medical treatment. So the California shelter called on OHS to take Ilene as part of a special transport.
A special surgery
When she arrived at OHS, Ilene was finally able to get the treatment she needed. After a thorough exam, she was diagnosed with microphthalmia in both eyes. This meant that she had two small eyes that didn’t work. Ilene probably had the condition because of a birth defect, although it can be caused by trauma or infection.
The only procedure to treat the eye area and prevent future infections was a bilateral enucleation, which is an operation to remove both her malformed eyes. Many shelters are not able to perform this surgery. But thanks to donors, animals can receive expert care at OHS’s Holman Medical Learning Center.
The surgery was a success, and Ilene rebounded quickly. She learned to use her other senses to get around, and her friendly and fearless personality continued to blossom.
Ilene’s new family
In the meantime, Ilene had become a media star. Her story of survival charmed people all across the nation. A wave of adoption inquiries came in, including from as far as Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
But Ilene went home with a family very close to OHS.
Alanna and her kids had been fostering animals for OHS for almost a year. They’d cared for pets recovering from surgery and animals too young to be at the shelter.
The family had been through a lot and understood how a loving home could heal the deepest wounds.
So when Alanna’s kids heard about the rescued kitten on the news, they knew they needed to adopt Ilene. The kids wanted to give Ilene the loving home they’d found themselves.
Ilene has settled into her new home and joins three other cats adopted from OHS.
Every day, pets in need are counting on you. Donors saved Ilene’s life, and you have the power to save even more.
A donation of any size will make a difference:
- $10 can vaccinate 6 shelter pets.
- $25 can feed 3 shelter pets for a week.
- $50 can transport a pet to OHS through Second Chance.
- $100 can provide lab work for 5 sick shelter pets.
- $250 can feed 1 shelter pet for 6 months.