One-Eyed Cat Helps Cartoonist See Clearer

With a little help from Duncan, his adopter drew herself a whole new life.

Sara + Duncan

When you make the decision to adopt a cat, it’s easy to envision the ways they’ll enrich your life. It’s fun to watch them play. They’ll do cute tricks for treats, and make you laugh. They’ll snuggle with you…sometimes. They’ll definitely use all of the toys and cat-specific devices you buy for them, right?

"Could you ever imagine that adopting a cat would lead you to move 800 miles, go back to school, and begin an improbable career-changing journey?"

Could you ever imagine, though, that adopting a cat would lead you to move 800 miles, go back to school, and begin an improbable career-changing journey that will test the limits of what you are capable of? Duncan, who has been an extraordinary cat from day one, inspired me to become extraordinary, too. All in the name of animal rescue.

Duncan has lived up to his description as “really, the best cat” (a note from his rescuer) since the first day I met him at KittyKind. I knew when he was returned by his first adopter that he would be the metaphorical rug that ties the room together in the lives of myself, my husband, and our resident cat Ike. The adopters said they decided they weren’t ready for kittens, but I’ve always believed it had something to do with the things that make him unique. Duncan only has one eye, a constant wheeze, and gets a bit sneezy due to a latent Feline Herpesvirus infection he acquired early in life. It’s never been much of a problem, except that he sometimes leaves “gifts” for us on our walls and furniture.

When Duncan joined our family, I was trying to become an illustrator and cartoonist. Taking my career to the next level, however, was not going well, and I was growing frustrated. I started volunteering at KittyKind in 2010 as a photographer, taking pictures of the adoptable cats. As time went by, I became more and more involved in operations and cat care, and found that I absolutely loved it. It became a running joke with the other volunteers that I was a cat whisperer, mainly because I was willing (and perhaps crazy enough) to handle some of our more stressed and upset cats. After a lot of personal deliberation, I decided that I wanted to change careers to something that would benefit animals—especially those that had a rough start, like Duncan did.

As difficult as it was, I went back to school at 28, completed the many STEM pre-requisites I had missed by going to art school, and applied to veterinary school. After three years of hard work, I was admitted to Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine this past spring. I like to think that I got this far because of the amazing animals that inspired me along the way. I plan on becoming a shelter veterinarian when I graduate, and I can’t wait to start changing the lives of animals like Duncan, who need a little extra help getting back on their paws.

Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Sara Lindo won Kitty Kind, Inc. in New York a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.