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She was thrown over a wall in a zip lock bag and left to die, diagnosed with a heart condition and a severe scratch left her needing an eye removed.
But County Cat Rescue, and generous pet lovers who were touched by her story, weren’t prepared to give up on the tiny kitten.
Instead, rescue supporter Joanne Bonner set up a fundraising page and managed to collect the £1,000 needed for her to have an emergency operation.
Now survivor Pearl is bouncing back from her trauma, recovered from the surgery and taking her new life in her stride.
In fact she’s barely recognisable from the frightened little cat who software company project manager Joanne first saw in agony in December last year.
She was visiting the rescue, in the former Barclays Bank on the corner of Spellow Lane and County Road, to help raise funds via her social media.
“They’d had a really bad run of luck just before Christmas, so I decided to do a fundraiser for them.
“I went in to do a Facebook live and that’s when Maria, who runs the rescue, asked me to help out with Pearl.
“Pearl was six months old then but at three months she’d been put in a zip lock bag, thrown over a wall in Walton and left to die. That was how her life started, it was just sickening, but fortunately she was found and brought into Maria.
“She’s a tiny cat and she’s got a skin condition which makes her very itchy. She’d scratched her eye but actually managed to take a big chunk out of it.
“Pearl was due to have an operation on it but it had an infection, so Maria asked me to hold her while she had her eye drops. Two days later I went back in and Maria said Pearl had been hiding in a blanket cupboard. This time, when Maria touched her eye to put the drops in, she just screamed, it was horrific. As she wriggled, she knocked her head against my hand and screamed even more and I could feel the side of her face burning up.
“Maria phoned the vets straight away then she was rushed there by pet ambulance where they said the infection was so bad they were taking her in to have her eye taken out.
“The operation was going to cost £1,000 because poor Pearl also has a heart condition that means she needed additional support while she was under the anaesthetic, plus some time in the hospital to be monitored.”
Knowing how tough things had been for the rescue, especially with its shop closed for long periods during lockdown, Joanne decided to rally some extra support.
“Because I’d been there that day and seen Pearl, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. The rescue relies solely on donations and, even though the vets are very understanding and let them pay off the bills, I knew it would take them so long so I just wanted to do something.”
She set up a Go Fund Me page and within days had reached the £1,000 target.
“I shared it with supporters of the rescue and people I know who trust me from previous fundraisers and we got the money so quickly. A lot of the people who donated to the fund didn’t know County Cat Rescue but they knew I’d seen Pearl and held her, and I was just so grateful for that.
“Her story just got to everybody, and people were so generous. We had some who actually donated twice and one guy gave us £115 at the end to push us up to the total.”
Joanne says Pearl is now back at the rescue after spending Christmas recuperating with Maria, reunited with her furry friends who live there while they wait to find new forever homes.
Pearl herself will be available for rehoming as soon as the rescue can treat her allergies and help her patchy fur to regrow.
Until then, she’s loving life with her cat pals and adapting well to having only one eye.
“She’s always going to be a tiny cat and apparently she won’t grow much, but she’s a feisty little thing,” says Joanne. “It’s amazing to see how well she is now. She’s only got the one eye but it’s a beautiful big eye!
“Pearl’s used up a lot of her lives but she’s making the most of those she’s got left and she’s just gorgeous.”
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