Onyx was found as a stray with her kittens, and the whole little family was brought to Butler County Humane Society, where the kittens could get the care they needed until they were old enough to be adopted. Everyone knew the tiny, adorable kittens would be adopted quickly — but had a feeling that for their mom, it might take a little longer.
Onyx was born with a cleft palate. The shelter had a vet come by and check her over, and it was determined that she doesn't need surgery. Occasionally, when she's eating, a piece of food will get stuck and she'll have a sneezing fit until it comes loose again, but other than that, her cleft palate doesn't affect her at all. It just makes her look a little different.
Because of her unique face, most people seemed to shy away from wanting to adopt Onyx — except for Cindy Houk.
Houk had only been working at the shelter for a few weeks when Onyx arrived, and as soon as she saw her, she knew she wanted to adopt her.
"[I] instantly fell in love with her the first time I saw her," Houk told The Dodo. "I have two special needs children and I just have a special place in my heart for anyone with special needs. There was just something so beautiful about her sweet face."
Houk knew that Onyx was meant to be a member of her family. Unfortunately, new employees at the shelter have to wait 90 days before they're able to adopt. In the meantime, Houk visited Onyx every day, falling more and more in love with her with each visit, and just hoped that it was meant to be.
As the days went on, no one seemed interested in adopting Onyx. No one could see how special she was, but Houk just took it as a sign that she was supposed to be the one to take her home.
"I showed cats to many people who wanted to adopt, and there wasn't once that anyone wanted her," Houk said. "It was heartbreaking, but at the same time, I was thrilled knowing my time would come and I could take her home.”
As the 90-day mark got closer, Houk took her kids in to meet Onyx, and they immediately fell in love with her too. To them, her special needs weren't a deterrent. Her unique face was a reason to smile. To Houk and her family, being different has always been beautiful.
"After my daughter, who has down syndrome, met Onyx, she came home and told her Dad that Onyx needed to be part of our family since she had special needs too,” Houk said. "I just needed her, knowing that she needed a good family that would love her exactly the way she is."
Finally, the wait was over. No one had applied to adopt Onyx, which meant that Houk could officially welcome her into her family. Onyx has been in her new home for a few weeks now, and she's absolutely loving it. While she was at the shelter, she was a bit shy, but as soon as she stepped foot in her new home, her personality came bursting out, and she's now the most playful, vocal cat around.
"She never stops talking," Houk said. "I absolutely love it! She is extremely playful. She is happy first thing in the morning when she sees us. It is such a good feeling. We have five other cats, all rescues, that she has to play with, plus a big, fun dog. We plan on spoiling Onyx for the rest of her life. To my family, she is absolutely perfect!”
Most people passed by Onyx because of her differences, but for her new family, they wouldn't have her any other way.
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