the Fearless, Earless Kitten
By Eileen Mitchell, San Francisco Chronicle
February 25, 2009
In today's hectic world, finding quality time to spend with a loved one
can be a challenge, especially for a single parent with a young child.
But not for Melissa Webb, a bookkeeper, and her 9-year-old daughter, Lexy,
an aspiring veterinarian.
When the Kingsville, Texas, pair adopted an abused kitten whose ears had
been sliced off, they were inspired to write a touching children's book
titled "Zoe the Earless Kitten." Today, mother and daughter visit
local elementary schools, sharing Zoe's experience and teaching children
the importance of kindness to animals. They also hope their story will
encourage the adoption of animals that appear less than perfect.
"About three years ago, my daughter, Lexy and I adopted an abused kitten.
Someone had cut off her ears when she was only two weeks old and then threw her
in a dumpster to die. She was rescued by our local animal rescue, Animal Rescue
Kleberg (ARK) in Kingsville, Texas.
"They doctored up the little tabby and our next door neighbor, who works
for ARK, fostered her until she was well enough to be adopted. One day, our neighbor
called us over to see this poor kitten with no ears. When my daughter and I saw
her, it was love at first sight. We both cried because of the pain she must have
endured, but we knew instantly that we could give her the love she so desperately
"Lexy and I wanted to learn more about animal abuse and find out if there
was anything that we could do. We decided to write a book about our kitty's experience,
and see if we could get it published, and we did! Our book, 'Zoe the Earless
Kitten' is available online and in some bookstores.
"In recent months, we have been visiting schools to talk about Zoe and animal
abuse. The children love the book. We tell them what happened to Zoe, and how
they should never ever hurt an innocent animal, and the children vow to us to
never hurt animals. They are also really inspired that someone close to their
age wrote a book.
"Lexy and I also stress that we didn't choose Zoe just because we felt sorry
for her, even though that was part of it. We chose her because we knew that just
because she had no ears didn't mean she didn't need to be loved like any other
animal. We use this as an opportunity to teach children that we are all different
on the outside, but we are all the same on the inside.
"Despite her horrific abuse, Zoe hears just fine. However, when she lost
her ears, we suspect she may have also lost some of her marbles! Our crazy cat
loves doing crazy things, like being carried upside down, eating ice cream, and
playing dead when we tell her to leave our bird alone. She also loves jumping
in the tub when Lexy is taking a bath, then racing through the house and getting
everything wet before returning to splash in the tub.
"Our home is filled with eight loving pets: one bird, three cats and four
dogs. Zoe has just recently learned how to growl like her canine brothers and
we are now waiting for her to start barking.
" This has been a wonderful adventure for Lexy and me, and we hope to continue
it long into the future. Zoe the Earless Kitten is going to become a series of
books about her different adventures. We love sharing Zoe's happy ending and
how wonderfully she has made it through this tragedy."
Getting to know Zoe
Meet Zoe at www.zoetheearlesscat.com and
don't miss the Blog link, which features a brief video of Zoe and the rest
of the Webb tribe.
The Infinite Cat Project
Presented by Mike Stanfill, Private Hand