A Tale of Two Kitties: Cal and Portobello’s Journey Home

March 7, 2017

 “Overall, they are doing extremely well and I think are very happy in our home!” –Jennifer Y. of New York, NY

Sometimes, certain adoption stories stick with you—a reminder that for every animal, there is always hope for a perfect home. For two sweet cats named Cal and Portobello, this was most certainly the case. Upon their arrival at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) in August 2016, it was clear that one-year-old Cal and three-year-old Portobello hadn’t had an easy life. The pair came from a large hoarding case, in which more than 20 cats were rescued from tragic conditions and heartbreaking neglect. The ASPCA’s veterinary team worked quickly to help them. Upon initial medical examination, it was clear that both cats were suffering from severe ocular disease and later, both tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Disease (FIV). Though FIV can be dangerous and harmful to a cat’s health if not properly treated, it is completely manageable when the cat is given proper care.

The veterinary team then made the difficult decision to remove both Cal and Portobello’s eyes to prevent them from any further pain or discomfort. Fortunately, everyone remained confident that the two would make full recoveries and move on to live comfortable, happy lives despite the tragedy they’d experienced. After their surgeries, the orange-and-white cats recovered separately, and were transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin their searches for loving, caring homes.

Early on, Portobello bonded with another cat, and was adopted with his new friend less than a month after arriving at the Adoption Center. Sadly, this adoption wasn’t the happy ending everyone hoped to see for Portobello. The adopter brought him back alone just days later, telling us that he was concerned that he would be unable to fully care for a special needs cat. 

Despite these tragic pitfalls, Portobello never lost his spirit. Everyone at the Adoption Center noticed how sweet and affectionate the young cat truly was, and after another month went by, something remarkable happened: Portobello was reunited with Cal.

After months of being apart, the two shared a heartwarming reunion and were bonded once more. Shortly after, sisters Kimberly and Jennifer Y. came into the Adoption Center, looking to adopt a new pet after the passing of their beloved family dog.

“Since we live in the city, we were looking for a pet that wasn't as high maintenance as a dog but still fun and affectionate,” Jennifer tells us of their decision to search for a cat. As they toured the Adoption Center, Jennifer and Kimberly didn’t know what to expect, but they’d only ever planned on finding one furry feline friend. 

Cal (Left) and Portobello (Right).

“We had no idea when we went to the ASPCA that we would adopt two cats at once,” she explains. “We were in the process of looking at one very sweet cat, but when we turned around and saw Cal and Portobello in the glass enclosure behind us, we knew these guys were for us.” 

In that instant, it became clear that the two sisters were the ideal match for the two brothers. “Together, they are a good balance of what we were looking for in a cat, and their personalities are pretty complementary,” Jennifer says. “Portobello is laid back, relaxed and very sweet. Cal, since he's younger, is much more playful and active. Despite their being blind, they're so sweet and trusting—not to mention that they're both so cute!”

Jennifer tells us that after bringing Cal and Portobello home, it took some time to get used to life as a foursome. 

“Since we're first-time cat owners, it took a little adjusting on our end, but the cats acclimated very quickly,” Jennifer explains. “It's impressive how blind cats are able to find their way around so well.” Jennifer says that now that they’ve all fully settled in, Cal and Portobello feel right at home. They’ve even pinpointed their favorite, coziest spots in the apartment, and have found that they prefer cardboard boxes to play in rather than the beds Jennifer and Kimberly bought.

Cal and Portobello’s road to adoption was challenging, but thanks to Jennifer and Kimberly, their past trauma is now nothing more than a distant memory.