Meet Willow, a stray cat with “Down’s Syndrome” who was found wandering the streets and was rescued from being put down.
Lori Farris, a 50-year-old special needs teacher, was walking down the street when she came across the little, battered-looking cat.
Lori brought the small cat home with her after she followed her to her car and called her Willow after the street she was discovered on.
“One day when I left a student’s house there was a tiny, dirty kitten on the doorstep and she followed me to my car,” recalled Lori.
“I took her home and cleaned her because she had fleas and a bloody nose.”
When I took it to my veterinarian a few days later, I discovered it was a five-week-old baby female.
“The poor thing had eye infections, fleas and intestinal parasites but the vet thought she seemed healthy other than her face and mouth – she said it was like feline Down Syndrome.”
“The vet said that the shelter would surely euthanize her since she wasn’t ‘pretty’ so I decided to keep her.”
Willow, who is now four years old, lives with Lori at her house alongside her canine best friend, Ella the Boxer.
“Ella and Willow got on from the day they met,” Lori added.
“When I first brought Willow to the house, Ella was so interested by her and eventually built up the courage to come see her.
“Willow gave her a bit of a swipe and a playful bite, and they have been inseparable ever since.
“They eat together, play together and even sleep together.”
Willow has grown from her humble origins to become a social media icon with 249k Instagram followers.
“Willow loves wearing her different flower hats and her Instagram has had a great response,” says owner Lori.
“I think people like her because she’s a symbol of love, kindness and being beautiful even though looking different.”
“I’m OK with people saying that she’s weird looking because she is but I don’t like when people call her ugly, retarded or gross.”
“She’s a wonderful little cat in every way and I’m so glad she’s in my life.”
We like a good underdog story. Willow, keep shining!