Meet Jerry (aka Big Brother Jerry)
How old are you?
I turned 13 years old on August 11th.
How did you pick your mom?
Mom came into the Wisconsin Humane Society on a Friday night, two weeks after I turned 7 (August 2006). She had just lost a boy kitty named Max. Max had been buddies with a girl kitty Mom had named Mitzi. After Max died, Mitzi tried to be buddies with my big sister Minnie Pearl. Minnie Pearl was not happy about it, so Mom was looking for another big brother for Mitzi. Mom says I was the only cat who was awake that evening. MOL! There are holes toward the bottom of the doors to the enclosures at the Humane Society and mom stuck her fingers through the holes and I rubbed my face on her fingers. She didn’t even look at any other cats that night. They let me out of the enclosure and I walked around and I wasn’t scared of anything and Mom liked that about me too. She held me on her lap for a while, and I went home with her that night. I felt at home right away.
According to your facebook page you had Iris Melanosis, what is it ?
My left eye had some brown spots on the iris. When Mom took me to a vet a few days later for a free exam, she asked the vet about the spots and the vet told her not to worry about them. Just over a year later, Mom took all of us to our regular vet for our yearly checkups and she was concerned about the spots. She told Mom to monitor them so they don’t get worse. Mom looked at photos of me when we got home and she could see they were getting worse. Mom took me to an animal ophthalmologist who tested my vision to make sure I could see out of both eyes. He recommended that my eye be removed in case it would become cancer. It would be similar to skin cancer in humans, but in my eye. My eye was then sent to a specialist at the vet college in Madison Wisconsin who did pathology on it and he said it had not become cancerous yet.
How long did the surgery take to remove your eye?
Mom took me to the vet on a Wednesday night for blood tests, and she left me there. I had the surgery the next day (Thursday). Mom was supposed to pick me up on Friday afternoon, but then we had a snowstorm that day and when Mom called the vet they told her she could come right away to pick me up. I was in the hospital only two nights, including the night before the surgery.
How long did it take to adjust to life with just one eye?
I was kind of sick from the anesthesia for a few days after the surgery and my mom never saw evidence that I even noticed my vision was different.
Was your mom scared and worried about the surgery?
Yes, she was scared. It was major surgery. But it all turned out fine.
How did your big sister and little sister react when you were well enough to see them after your surgery?
Mom kept me in the front bedroom for a few days after I came home and she slept on the futon in that room with me. I didn’t see Minnie Pearl for a while, but mom let Mitzi come in the room because she was my buddy. They didn’t seem to react to me any differently than they did before my surgery.
Has anyone figured out why your whiskers break?
No! It started happening after my surgery. Mom asked the vet and she said that I am probably running into things now but mom has never seen me do that. It’s a mystery. I don’t always have broken whiskers, but it happens on occasion and when it does I have two or three broken whiskers.
Do you have any words of advice for other pet guardians whose pets may have to face the same type of surgery?
It was a major surgery, and there is always worry with that. But the main thing I want people to know is that I get along just fine with one eye. No adjustments had to be made for me. I still like to look at birdies and squirrels through the window.
Do you accept any fanmail?
Yes, you can stop by and say hi on my facebook page.
Do you support a shelter/rescue or case, if so may I have the link?
We support the Wisconsin Humane Society because that is where I and my little sister Zoe are from. We donate money and things from their wish list to them. (http://www.wihumane.org/).
We also support the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center (http://www.milwaukeearc.org/)a bit. Mom has given them money and supplies a couple times. They had a kitty earlier this year with a neck injury, and my mom sewed a fabric collar to help her neck heal because the kitty was scratching her injury.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to tell people that even though I have only one eye, I do not feel disabled. My life is the same as any other cat.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Jerry and his mom for answering the questions. After finding out that Zoe Blue is his sister I had to ask her for an interview as well, her article will be published on November 17th.