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The 12 Cats of Christmas: Helen Yeller, Rescued in a Snowstorm

We check in with a dainty kitty with a huge meow, who was abandoned in a blizzard in NYC.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Dec 19th 2014


The year is coming to a close, so what better time to take a minute to look back on the most adorable, heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking cats of the year? That’s exactly what we’ll be doing with the 12 Cats of Christmas. Today we recall the story of a beautiful kitten who was feared blind and ditched in New York City.

4. Helen Yeller

At the top of 2014, a savage snowstorm wreaked havoc across New York City. One of the weather’s dinkiest victims was a three-week-old black-and-white kitten, whom it was suspected was thrown out of a car window and left to perish in the icy conditions. But just as things were looking bleak for the kitty in the blizzard, a kindly passerby scooped her up and took her to a nearby vet’s office; then a local burlesque artist named Legs Malone entered the scene and offered to take the tiny cat home.

“She had neurological damage from the extreme cold, which resulted in her being 90 to 95 percent blind, and [it was predicted] that she would probably never recover her full sight,” recalled Legs Malone when we covered the case back in August. Despite her ocular issues, the kitten seemed to possess a sterling set of lungs and was fond of meowing like a champion from day one. Fittingly, she was given the name Helen Yeller.

As Helen began to acclimatize to her new digs, a miraculous stage of her recovery took place: Legs noticed that she was beginning to see. Soon, the kitten would even begin to hunt the devious laser pointer and prove adept at skipping around objects on the floor. These days, Helen’s vision is said to falter only in low-light conditions.

Perusing regular updates on the Instagram that Helen shares with her rescue sister, Jane, it seems Ms. Yeller has now bloomed into a professional nap artist. She has perfected a variety of slumber poses, from the adorably awkward leg-out-of-the-cat-bed to some high-level coordination moves that are pulled off in tandem with Jane.

Sometimes the kitties we profile for Catster’s Monday Miracles series can provoke heartbreaking reactions, but the story of Helen Yeller shines like a bright light of hope. Consider it a warming tale for this season of goodwill.

Enjoy the rest of the 12 Cats of Christmas on Catster:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.