Last November, a kitten named June turned up as a stray in Hout Bay, a town in Cape Town, South Africa.
“She was brought in … by a member of the community who had found her, and I think her mum had been killed,” Holly Gilbert-Jones, a volunteer at Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG), told The Dodo. “There were no brothers or sisters.”
The DARG team immediately noticed that June was a little different — she’d been born blind, although June didn’t seem fazed by this.
“She obviously has no understanding or idea that she was any different than any of the other cats,” Gilbert-Jones said. “She would be zooming up and down the hallway.”
Gilbert-Jones fostered June for several months, and she fell in love with her during that time. Not only was June full of energy, but she craved love from everyone she met.
“There’s something about her,” Gilbert-Jones said. “It’s like she radiates this joyful energy from her. Everyone who sees her just kind of falls in love. She has this gift of winning people over.”
Soon June stole the hearts of Andrew Duff and Rebecca Warner, who’d seen a post about her on Facebook and decided to adopt her without even meeting her first. When they went to pick her up, they knew they were making the right decision.
“From the word go, we fell in love,” Duff told The Dodo. “She curled up in my arms, and I gave her a nice cuddle, and since then, we’ve been very, very tight. She’s very loving — she’s probably the most loving animal I’ve ever come across.”
As they drove home, June climbed into Duff’s arms and snuggled into him.
“She just curled into his neck and stayed there,” Warner told The Dodo. “On the way home, I got a little tag that said ‘Daddy’s Girl’ because I realized, ‘Well, that’s it. He’s become hers.’”
Two individuals who weren’t too keen on June were Duff and Warner’s other cats, Leia and Leeloo.
“We were a little bit worried about June integrating with them, and the first couple of weeks, there was a lot of hissing and chaos,” Duff said.
But June eventually won Leia and Leeloo over as well.
“She was determined to be with them, and was very persistent about playing with them,” Warner said. “Now they’re very much sisters, and they love each other.”
Beside her obvious love of her family, June loves going for walks on her leash and harness with her family.
“She’s braver than our other two cats,” Duff said. “Despite the fact that she can’t see, she just goes. She leaps off things and figures things out. We’ve taken her on holiday before, and within a couple of minutes, she’s completely mapped the new space.”
“When we take her for walks, it’s amazing to see her react to sounds,” Duff added. “She’ll hear a bee around the flowers, and she’ll leap at it. Or she’ll hear birds and suddenly turn.”
Duff also explained that June has helped Warner and himself learn to be more mindful and enjoy the present moment.
“When she walks, she has to sniff everything,” Duff said. “The outside world is quite large, so you have to have patience. It’s actually quite wonderful because it calms us. I think she teaches us.”
Neither Duff nor Warner could imagine their lives without June, and they love everything about their little blind cat.
“She’s absolutely perfect, every little inch of her personality,” Duff said. “I never met an animal so loving and so happy and so resilient. She’s the most loving little creature.”
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