One-eyed Persian seeks an angel.

My name is Grape and, as you can see, I have only one eye. Honestly, I don't miss it much and I can't even remember life before losing it. You see, a little over a year ago, I was brought into the SPCA in Oakland as a very young kitten (approximately 6-8 weeks in age). Somebody found me homeless, helpless and blind in one eye. I can't remember what happened to me (and I'm really glad that I don't), but all I know is that my left eye was severely traumatized, necrotic and unrecognizable as an eye. In fact, it looked like a huge, black grape, hence my name. I can thank the foster care guru, Joseph, for that. What a clever one he is! :) But I digress...

The doctors determined my eye was not savable, and therefore removed it to give me the best quality of life possible. I would have preferred they not neuter me at the same time, but I guess I can't complain when they did everything they could to save my life.

The people I encountered at the SPCA were the nicest people I have ever come to know. They pet me, they "oooooh" and "awwww"d over me, they instantly loved me and, best of all, THEY FED ME!! One thing I will never forget is the woman that literally screeched at me and said "OH MY GOD!! He's so cute, I want to eat him". She really scared me! And because I stopped eating and lost weight after I had the surgery, she took me into "foster" care. Now she's my mom.

I am a carefree kitten at heart. I always have been and always will be. But my mom? She's another story. She worries about me all of the time, especially now. Unfortunately, my remaining eye has developed a corneal ulcer that has been treated for 3 weeks now but has not improved. After seeking specialty care at an ophthalmologist, it has been determined that I have something called feline corneal sequestrum. I'm not good at explaining the details, but basically I have dead corneal tissue that needs to be removed before my ulcer can truly heal. The dead tissue on my eye runs pretty deep so they may have to use my own conjunctiva as a graft to fix the defect. Good news is that my ulcer will heal a lot faster and I won't have to worry about my eye rupturing. Bad news is if they have to use my own conjunctiva, it will partially blind me. My peripheral will be my only source of vision. But with every surgery, there is risk and we won't truly know what were dealing with until they get me under anesthesia.

I know my mom loves me and wants to do everything she can to save my eye, but my surgery is expensive and I know she can't do it alone.
Because she is in the middle of getting out of credit card debt (and will be debt free in June of 2015...hooray!) she is not allowed to apply for loans or credit cards. She is due to get some money back from Uncle Sam soon, but it won't be before my surgery. My surgery is January 2nd. She can be a very proud person and has a hard time asking for help, but she really does need it.

I wish I could talk so I can tell her that no matter what, I will be ok. I have a brother and sister that will help guide me by using my other four senses. Not to mention there are a lot of familiar voices in her life (at work, home and derby) that will comfort me. I'm young and have a lot of life to live.

Thank you for reading my tiny tale. And thank you for loving me :)


And now, a word from my mom:

From the deepest part of my heart, thank you all so much for the support and love you have all given me. Thank you for the texts, the messages, phone calls, hugs....I am beyond grateful! I don't know how I got so lucky in life to know so many wonderful people. I know it's crazy that a person can invest so much of their heart into a furry creature, but my heart absolutely bursts and breaks for Grape. He is like no other animal I have ever known. My other cats hate him because of it ;)

I understand if you are unable to donate. It's a lot to ask and it's around the holidays. Your kind words and encouragement have filled me with so much hope, that alone is enough.
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Amber Ybarra 
Oakland, CA
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