PALM CITY, Fla. - A Treasure Coast cat with a rare birth defect now has a fighting chance thanks to some incredible help from volunteers. Sauron, the 6-month-old feline, was born without eyelids.
"I saw the triangular eyes, but mostly I saw his personality," said Roxie Smith of Port St. Lucie who is fostering Sauron. "Just how sweet he was; how loving he was." For an unknown reason, Sauron's eyelids never developed.
"The hairs were rolled down and they were rubbing his eye every time he blinked," said Smith of the cat's painful irritation that could eventually lead to blindness.
Smith and Leslie Thomas, a fellow volunteer at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, stepped in to help.
"He was in pain but cats hide their pain really well," said Thomas.
Resources for a condition like Sauron's simply did not exist at the Humane Society. "I've been doing this for fifteen years and I've never seen a cat with this type of condition," said Operations Director Candice Veach.
This cat needed help quickly. "I would have done just about anything to get the money to have him repaired," said Smith.
It was a long shot, but they reached out the University of Florida veterinary school in Gainesville - and it worked. Expert surgeons volunteered their time and used Sauron as a teaching tool to show more than twenty veterinary students how to operate on such a delicate patient.
Doctors used tissue from the corners of the cat's own mouth to make it happen. "Took the tissue, moved it up and sewed it in place to make eyelids," said Smith.
The procedure would normally cost thousands of dollars but instead just took two cat lovers with the vision of giving Sauron a better life.
Soon, Sauron will be adoptable from the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast. For more information on adopting this cat or one of the many other animals currently at the Humane Society, click here .