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Wilson Was Blind and on Death Row, Then He Got 3 Big Breaks

Saved by a New York rescue and fostered by Beth Stern, this "precocious" tuxie got a loving home.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Oct 10th 2016


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Wilson is proud to call himself a “perfectly imperfect cat.” It’s a plaudit he’s come to own by virtue of going through life without either of his eyes. The rest of his back story is equally notable, as he escaped being on a “to be destroyed” list and also wound up being fostered by Beth Stern, the proudly cat-obsessed wife of the radio and TV personality Howard Stern.

Here’s how Wilson did it.

When he was just 10 weeks old, Wilson was picked up as a stray and taken to an Animal Care Center in Brooklyn, New York City. After inspection, it was discovered that he was suffering from ruptured eye globes that probably were the result of an untreated infection. Because of this condition, he was quickly doomed to the center’s euthanasia list.

Thankfully, at the last moment the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, New York, stepped in and saved Wilson. This kitten underwent a bilateral enucleation, which removed his eyes, and he was later fostered by Beth Stern.

At this point, a woman called Noelle enters the story. She found herself randomly checking out Beth’s Instagram page.

“Beth shattered the crazy cat lady stereotype, and I wanted to know more about her work with kittens and cats,” says Noelle.

She noticed that Beth’s resident cat, Bella, was a blind Calico.

“I was amazed by Bella’s intelligence and ability to know her surroundings,” Noelle says. “I wanted a Bella of my own.”

The next part of the tale writes itself: After Beth posted about “a little blind guy in need of a home” during the summer of 2015, Noelle applied to adopt the kitten … who was Wilson.

Recapping Wilson’s eye operation, Noelle says that his untreated conjunctivitis placed pressure on his eye globes which ultimately caused them to rupture.

“As one would imagine, this condition is extremely painful for the kitten and required complete eye removal,” she says.

Since recovering from his surgery, Noelle says, Wilson has bloomed into an “energetic, precocious, and lovable cat.” She adds that he has developed an expert ability “to know exactly what is going on around him, which is truly remarkable.”

These days, Wilson lives with four other cats, and Noelle says he has integrated into the family just like any other seeing kitty. He eats from the same bowls as his pals, becoming a self-sufficient cat who has mastered the terrain of his forever home.

“I make no special accommodations for his special needs,” says Noelle. “He doesn’t need them.

“I guess he has the house mapped in his head. He runs in open areas and is slower and more careful in rooms with furniture. He has a keen sense of hearing and smell — I can never sneak up on him, and he always knows when I am near.”

While Wilson has happily moved on from his recovery time in the “cage-free, loving environment” that is Beth Stern’s home, Noelle says that he’ll forever remain grateful for the way Stern helped him get a fair shot at life.

“Beth is the real deal,” she says. “She cared for and nurtured Wilson until the day she handed him over to me. Beth is and will always be a part of Wilson’s life — after all she is his fairy god (foster) mother.”

Check out more of Wilson’s antics at his Facebook and Instagram pages.