Do you know what Otitis is?
According to a cursory web search, it’s a medical condition that happens when a middle ear infection by a virus or bacteria makes the area behind the eardrum become very inflamed.
It’s also a condition that can apparently affect cats — and in one severe case it ended up with a 10-year-old white Domestic Shorthair losing both of his ears. But now that this feline chap has found his forever home, he’s reclaiming the name Otitis and using it to run to social media fame.
Before recounting Otitis’ story, first let’s take a look at our distinctive looking champ.
Going back to the beginning, Otitis — or Branco, as he was known in those days — developed a bunch of extremely painful cysts in both of his ear canals around a year ago. After his then-owners took him to a vet, who discovered that the condition was untreatable and that the cat would require an operation to remove his ears. Yep, all of his ears. And on both sides of his head.
Unfortunately, his owners at the time decided that they couldn’t afford the surgery.
With that, Otitis was handed over to the Feline Rescue Association of Baltimore, Maryland. Representatives from that rescue organization stumped up the money for his operation and secured a safe foster home for this now earless kitty.
At that point, Otitis made his debut on an adoption listings website.
Enter Molly Lichtenwalner, a 23-year-old college student who was somewhat feline obsessed. With Molly’s parents having cared for a deaf sheepdog in the past, she decided that adopting a special-needs kitty was the way for her to go. Having lost his ears, Otitis was obviously now deaf too.
You guessed it, Otitis and Molly’s paths crossed when she chanced upon this earless wonder online. After musing over the idea of applying to adopt him for a couple of months, Molly made the formal move to bring the cat into her life in March of 2016.
She also renamed him Otitis, after the condition that had bestowed him with such an eye-catching look. (Well, technically he suffered from Otitis externa, but let’s all agree that Otitis is a lot snappier to say.)
Molly’s reasoning for renaming him was that without his condition, she’d never have met Otitis.
Now that Otitis is happily living it up in his forever home — much of which seems to involve the pursuit of paper bags — he’s taken steps toward becoming a social media star. An Instagram account set up in his name rapidly began to attract followers once Molly started posting up pictures of Otitis.
After gaining 6,000 fans, Otitis was offered the chance to pose with a 6K crown — although it’s a safe bet that this earless marvel will hit more than 10,000 followers before long.
Check out more of Otitis’ world at his Instagram account.