During a visit to a local animal shelter in May 2015, Nancy Hutchinson, founder and chief of the Michigan Cat Rescue, stumbled upon a blue-eyed cat on the verge of euthanization.
In this elderly, tranquil feline, named Apollo, Hutchinson saw potential. She decided to intervene, rescuing him from the shelter, and opted to become his foster caregiver until a fitting home could be found.
Apollo’s tale was tragic. His elderly owner, who had cared for him since kittenhood, was moved into a nursing home, leaving him behind. Now an aged cat himself, Apollo found himself in the chaotic environment of an animal shelter with a future hanging in the balance.
Apollo was unfortunately stricken with an upper respiratory infection, a common and highly infectious condition among cats from crowded shelters. The severity of his illness led to his left eye rupturing, despite earnest treatment efforts, and ultimately necessitated its surgical removal.
With the loss of one of his striking ice-blue eyes, Apollo’s prospects of adoption became even bleaker. A significant number of adopters make their choice based on a pet’s physical appearance, and with his age already counting against him, Apollo now faced another challenge.
During one adoption event, Hutchinson was witness to a distressing incident when a woman, without thought for Apollo’s feelings, called him “ugly”. Hutchinson recounted to The Dodo, “He was sat in a cage, and she told him to his face that he was ugly. I’m convinced he understood because he lowered his head. It was clear he felt upset, and it made me weep.”
Hutchinson put forth every effort to secure the perfect home for Apollo, a cat she had developed a deep affection for. She acknowledged her rigorous scrutiny of every adoption application she received, justifying this by her commitment to the cats’ safety and indoor living.
Almost two years passed before an adoption application piqued Hutchinson’s interest. It was from Denise, a single woman in her mid-fifties, who led a quiet life with no other pets and had a stable financial situation.
Hutchinson expressed to The Dodo, “I’m not sure why, but I just started to cry and thought, ‘This is it.’ I called her and said, ‘We’ve been hoping you’d appear for a long time.’ We both cried.”
The meeting between Denise, Hutchinson, and Apollo was emotional. The cat, previously labelled as “ugly” and “unadoptable”, had finally found his perfect match.
Hutchinson emphasizes, while Apollo has found his happy ending, there remain thousands of cats with special needs still waiting. She expressed to The Dodo: