Homeless Kitten Born Without Eyelids Gets Lifesaving Surgery in Boston

The world can't get enough of little Phil.

Phil is a homeless kitten born without eyelids. All photos provided by the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center

Phil is homeless kitten born without eyelids. All photos provided by the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center

UPDATED 12:05 p.m. January 8:

Phil, the homeless kitten who was born without eyelids, and his feline best friend, Vixen, have been adopted and are going to a “loving home,” says Rob Halpin, the Angell’s public relations director.

The two cats were separated for weeks while Phil was in recovery, but had a heartwarming reunion when they were placed together again.

The cats were adopted by the Vazirani family. The Brookline residents have two children ages 4 and 5.

Sarah Vazirani and Maxx (left), age 5 and Dia (right) age 4

Sarah Vazirani and Maxx (left), age 5 and Dia (right) age 4

Check out the video and the original story below.


Original story:
This week, a homeless kitten named Phil received lifesaving surgery at the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain. He was born without upper eyelids and would have gone blind had he not received the surgery. The successful procedure was paid for by Spike’s Fund, which provides emergency medical treatment for homeless animals living in the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center.

But this heartwarming, local story doesn’t end there. News outlets around the world have picked up Phil’s tale. In fact, the Daily Mail published a feature about the kitten Friday.

It all began when the MSPCA’s adoption center manager, Alyssa Krieger, came across Phil and his BFF, Vixen, at the Boston Animal Control shelter in Roslindale in November. “I was immediately struck by Phil’s personality, in addition to the unusual situation surrounding his eyes,” she says. “Even though his lack of eyelids caused painful irritation, he was still a typical and playful kitten. We were eager to get him back to Angell where we knew he could get the operation he needed to save his sight.”

Phil and Vixen chillin'

Vixen and Phil chillin’

Dr. Martin Coster, an opthamologist at the Angell, agreed to perform the surgery to repair the condition—known as agenesis—by using a unique form of surgery. “A cat’s upper eyelid is very similar in form and function to the tissue in their lip,” he said. “By taking some tissue from Phil’s lip and attaching it to the muscles that enable him to blink, we can, in effect, reconstruct his missing eyelids.”

Coster says that the surgery went well and Phil is recovering nicely. “I expect Phil to recover completely and there’s no reason to believe he won’t have a long and healthy life,” he says, adding that the pain and discomfort of Phil’s condition will finally be resolved.

Dr. Coster performing surgery

Dr. Coster performing surgery

The two cats will be placed up for adoption in the next couple of weeks. Krieger says that she is intent on placing both cats into the same home. “They are the best of friends and, especially at this delicate stage of Phil’s recovery, we want to do all we can to keep the two of them together,” she says.

To donate to Spike’s Fund click here.

If you want to adopt the pair, email adoption@mspca.org for more information.

Phil is happy and playful after surgery.

Phil is happy and playful after surgery.