[Vision2020] Caturday (March 23, 2019)

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Sat Mar 23 05:51:07 PDT 2019

Sunglass Cat shows us why we need to adopt animals with special needs, just in time for Caturday.

Courtesy of the Metro (London, England) at:



Meet Sunglass Cat – the cat with a rare eye condition and 400k Instagram followers

Born without eyelids and unable to produce tears, she needs them to protect her sensitive eyes from dust and debris and the elements when she goes outside. 

Her blingy eyewear and accessories are real conversation starters that only help her profile.

‘Everyone always stops to talk to me about her sunglasses or to take pictures,’ says Karen McGill, who rescued Bagel from a shelter near to where she lives in Los Angeles, California. ‘Most people laugh and think it’s cool, but then I have to explain that it’s a necessity.’ 

As soon as she saw the tiny gray-and-white kitten Karen was smitten. ‘She stuck her paw out. She was very cross-eyed and so cute,’ she remembers. ‘It was love at first sight. I knew she was special.’ 

She originally meant for the cat to live with her daughter, but she had many issues and almost died after she was rescued.

Karen had to nurse the very underweight kitten around the clock, sleeping on her daughter’s apartment floor and spoon-feeding her baby food every half hour to help with her digestive problems. 

Since Bagel had so many health issues Karen kept the kitten herself, taking her to work and everywhere she went. ‘I couldn’t leave her for a moment because she had real bad separation anxiety,’ she says. ‘

However, I didn’t know about her eye condition until she was about four months old. At time we were living on a boat in Venice Beach and I was taking her to the beach every day, unaware that she couldn’t develop tears. I noticed she was keeping her right eye half closed often. I took her to an eye specialist once I discovered she had an issue.’

Bagel had three eye surgeries before she was a year old to freeze her eyelash follicles to stop them growing straight into her eyes, which could damage her cornea and over time lead to blindness. 

“ I have to give her eye drops several times a day and pluck out a few rogue lashes that grow inside instead of along the normal lash line,’ explains Karen. ‘She will eventually have another surgery, or I’ll keep plucking the lashes out as long as she lets me.’ 

After that first surgery, Karen and the vet came up with a brilliant idea to create fitted, feather-light sunglasses to protect her eyes. She reveals it took Bagel some time to get used to the glasses, but now she’s happy to wear them since she associates them with comfort. The sunglasses come off so that Karen can wash her eyes. 

But whenever Bagel is outside she always wears her flashy shades, making her the coolest cat on the block. 

In addition to her eye condition, Bagel is unable to regulate her own body temperature, so Karen began dressing the tiny kitten almost immediately after adopting her. 

“We were at the beach. It was 80 degrees, and Bagel was shaking. So I bought a cute little dress. The next day I took her to the beach and she was fine.

‘She has overcome so much in her short life,’ says Karen, who says she wants to let people know that animals with disabilities are just as deserving of loving homes – yet they are always the first ones to be euthanized for being “unadoptable”. 

‘I wanted to put her on social media to show how amazing she is,’ she says. 

Inevitably Bagel became a sensation seemingly overnight, seducing and abandoning in bits of silk and satin, her rhinestones and her cuteness. 

Now she’s living the American dream, traveling across the nation using her mega-star wattage to shine a light on adoptable animals with special needs.

In the US, the most recent shelter animal euthanisation rate is over 1.5 million, of which over 60% are cats. Only a couple years ago, that figure was closer to 8 million. 

Since last year, California, where Bagel lives, pet shops are only allowed to sell animals from shelters or other rescue organisations, which is amazing, and inevitably other states will follow. 

Usually animals with special needs and aggressive dogs (or rather, scared dogs) are the first to be put to sleep, along with kittens and puppies. 

In America, kitten season is called the killing season (in most public kill-shelters, kittens, especially motherless ones, aren’t even given a chance to be adopted because they take up more resources). 

‘She is the most loving, kindest, gentlest cat you’ll ever meet. She brings so much joy and has touched so many lives,’ says Karen. 

Bagel could win the title of world’s busiest cat, certainly. She has melted hearts on Animal Planet as ‘America’s Next Cat Star’ contestant, appeared on best-dressed pet lists for her killer style and at multiple festivals and fundraisers to promote the wellbeing of animals everywhere: the Salvation Army at Christmas; feline film festival in LA; an animal-rights march in NYC; the Haute Dog Halloween Parade in Hollywood. 

Bagel lives in a multi-cat household with five other pampered felines, but runs the manor as the self-appointed alpha cat. Mostly Bagel prefers hanging out with her dog mates, going hiking and swimming with them, and being leader of the pack.

‘She loves traveling, riding on planes and trains, being pushed in baby swings, going to new places and meeting people,’ Karen says. 

Of course, she is well aware of her fabulousness. ‘She really enjoys a fuss, getting constant kisses and cuddles,’ says Karen. ‘She’s a real diva who must have her own seat wherever we are, and especially when riding on the New York subway and meeting her public. She adores being carried and, if she knows that her stroller is around, refuses to walk on her leash.’ 

Bagel and Karen hope to encourage more people to adopt animals with extra needs to prevent them having their lives cut short. 

‘If I didn’t adopt Bagel she probably would’ve been put to sleep,’ says Karen. She’s incredible and amazes me every day. 

‘I can’t imagine life without her.’


Photos . . .

Sunglass Cat has a rare condition that means she has no eyelids and is unable to produce tears

Sunglass cat is a real cool customer

Sunglass Cat had many issues and almost died after being rescued – but is now a famous feline influencer with half a million followers on Instagram

As a kitten, Bagel needed round-the-clock care

Sunglass Cat has trouble regulating her body temperature too, so wears little outfits to stay warm or keep the sun off

At the beach


“Caturday” by Linus Petit

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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