To look at a picture of Otitis, you’d think his image had been Photoshopped. You know the feature where you can shave inches off your waistline and thighs? Well, it looks as if someone has done the same thing with a cat except they’ve trimmed off the ears to give him an almost alien look. The thing is, Otitis’s image hasn’t been tampered with or manipulated. He really is missing his ears, and as neatly as if he’d never been born with them, from the looks of things.
Suffering from a condition known as Otitis externa, Otitis — which is how he got his name — had to have his ears surgically removed. Since this put him in the special needs category, it was unlikely the otherwise normal animal would be adopted anytime soon. That is, until Molly Lichtenwalner came into the picture. Molly had been involved in a serious car wreck that left her with anxiety. Because of this, she decided to adopt an animal to try to help her cope with the symptoms presenting themselves.
Special Needs Pets
Her first thought was to adopt an animal with special needs. “I grew up on a farm and always had animals around me that gave me so much happiness. I helped train my parents’ deaf Old English Sheepdog, and when I came across Otitis, I just knew he was meant for me. I always wanted to adopt an animal that was older and had some special needs; the ones the least likely to find a home (unlike kittens),” Lichtenwalner revealed to PEOPLE Pets.
In a moment of inspiration, Otitis’s new mom decided to begin an Instagram account for the cat in order to foster interest in others for the adoption of animals that are statistically harder to place. Let’s face it, very few people are willing to adopt special needs anyone or anything. So far, at least part of her plan has worked. Otitis now has over 16,000 followers on his @adventuresofotitis account, and his fans all adore him. Hopefully, this will broaden people’s perspectives on special needs animals and adoption.
Lichtenwalner also has a book in the works with Otitis at the heart of it, It’s her hope that the story will teach children how his differences make him unique and that they might be able to learn to embrace their own differences. She’s said, “He has been nothing but amazing. He immediately adjusted to his new home with me and he truly saved me from my own anxiety. He loves to play and snuggle, and nothing is better than coming home to him and experiencing true unconditional animal love. I didn’t rescue him, he rescued me.”
With the desire of promoting acceptance and awareness, funding for Molly and Otitis’s book is being handled through a Kickstarter campaign, if you’d like to contribute.