Veterinarians are still working to determine if Murdock's eyes are completely gone or abnormally small (a condition known as microphthalmia), but either way Murdock was born with the condition and he won't ever be able to see.
OCAS posted a photo of Murdock to its Facebook page Wednesday around 5 p.m. and hundreds of people commented from all over the world wanting to know more about the handsome tan-and-brown-striped feline, plus more than a thousand people shared the image hoping someone would step up and adopt him. His Internet fame caught the attention of Orlando resident Kelly Melchiorre, so she went with her 1-year-old son Danny and her 5-year-old daughter Brenna to the OCAS shelter bright and early Thursday morning.
“I saw the post last night and the second I saw the picture I knew I had to have him,” Melchiorre said, adding that she was drawn to his cute face and the fact that he has special needs.
Murdock's size -- 1.13 pounds -- means he's too small to be adopted right out, instead he's part of the shelter's "foster to adopt" program, so his new family will be required to bring him in every two weeks to see a vet and make sure he's growing properly. Once he reaches two pounds, he'll be able to be neutered and officially adopted.
Melchiorre and her family are excited to bring Murdock home where he'll be able to make friends with their 4-year-old cat named Evie and 1-year-old basset hound-black Lab mix named Buddy. She says that there may be some challenges, but she's excited to watch Murdock grow up.
OCAS Program Manager Diane Summers said Murdock is sweet and friendly just like any other kitten, although he has been a bit weary of being at the shelter, especially with all the loud noises.
Melchiorre recognized the 2-month-old kitten's mellow nature right away. Murdock wasn't fearful and didn't meow or act scared during their initial meeting.
“As soon as you hold him he just melts into you,” she said.
For anyone thinking about bringing home a blind pet, Summers recommends starting the animal in a small bedroom or bathroom so it can get used to the new surroundings, then introduce the animal to the rest of the house. It's also best to not move furniture around too much and if you have other animals, consider putting bells on their collars so your blind pet will know where its friends are.
OCAS is currently running a promotion where military families can adopt any pet for free through the month of July, otherwise it's $55 for dogs and $40 for cats, which includes a spay or neuter, microchipping and the standard tests and vaccinations.