Donny was discovered as a kitten wandering around a parking lot, unwell and in dire need of assistance. He was rescued by the North Shore Animal League America in New York, where employees worked tirelessly to rehabilitate him. Unfortunately, Donny’s eyes were undeveloped and useless to him, so his saviours decided to have them removed.
Not long after his surgery, it was discovered that Donny also suffers from cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological condition that causes him severe balance issues. The blind, wobbly cat was put into a foster home with Beth Stern, an avid fosterer, to wait for his forever family to find him. While it can sometimes be harder to find homes for special needs animals, it didn’t take long for the perfect person to stumble across Donny.
Susan Smith was scrolling through Instagram in March 2016 when she saw a post about Donny and instantly fell in love with him. Even though she and her husband weren’t looking to adopt another cat, they decided to go and meet him anyway — and when they did, they immediately knew he was coming home with them.
“He was wobbling and bumping into things but just kept running around,” Smith told The Dodo. “He would fall down but get right back up with the most incredible spirit I’d ever seen. Life had thrown him a double whammy but he was the happiest guy we’d ever met. That was a Friday night and I picked him up on Sunday morning.”
From the minute Donny arrived at his new home, his mom could tell there was something special about him. Right from the very beginning, he’s been the most loving, gentle cat, and always shocks his family with how laid-back and happy he is.
Despite everything he’s been through, he seems to have no idea he’s any different, and powers through each challenge life throws at him as if he never noticed it was a challenge to begin with.
“He has no awareness he’s different,” Smith explained, “so he does what everyone else does, which includes going to the highest perch on the cat tree and then tumbling off when he wants to come down.” “That’s why I’ve got cushions and mats all over my floor.”
He’s at the front window when he hears me arrive home from work, then he falls on a mat and waits by the front door.”
Everyone who meets Donny comments on how easygoing he is, so his mom decided to try enrolling him as a therapy cat. She knew he had the right temperament to be handled by people and hoped the role would be a good fit for him — but could have never imagined just how much he was meant to do this.