A North Carolina woman is offering a special kind of love this Valentine's Day.
WSAV's sister station WNCT covered the story, and as Reporter Brandon Goldner found this woman's love for one certain kind of animal is not just a one-day event.
Barbara Miller has a 1,000 square foot room in her house devoted just for her cats is an escape from a discriminating world.
“Most people see them as unadoptable,” Miller said. It's a surprising statement from Miller considering these cats seem like any other “normal” pet. But Miller's cats aren't normal. Almost all of Miller's 21 cats are blind.
Many of them live in “The Magoo Room.”
It's named for a blind cat Miller and her then-husband adopted 15 years ago. She was named Magoo after the near-sighted cartoon character. “She was the most sturdy, normal, active, loving kitty you could imagine,” Miller said.
What miller couldn't imagine was how Magoo would give Miller a new purpose in life. “I wanted to prove as much as possible that these are perfectly normal kitties,” Miller said.
She started The Magoo Room in 2003 to provide a permanent home to blind and other special needs cats.
The pet adoption site Pet Finder reports in a 2012 survey of shelters that “less-adoptable” pets like those with special needs take four times longer to get adopted. In the same survey, 12 percent of shelters say pets with medical needs are the hardest to adopt making them more likely to be put down.
There are various reasons why people may not adopt special needs animals like blind cats.
Some have high medical costs, and their appearance turns off many adopters.
But they can still perform “normal” cat functions.
They can jump, climb heights and navigate tight spaces. It's those abilities Miller wants people to see…to realize these cats are just like any normal cat.
“These are adoptable animals. They don't have to be put down in shelters,” Miller said. “They do have the same, loving affectionate nature that sighted animals do.”
To fund The Magoo Room, Miller sells used books on Amazon and eBay.
Viewers can donate their used books at 209 Commerce Street in Greenville. Books can be left in the building's foyer anytime during the day.
Miller asks people do not donate Reader's Digest Condensed books, encyclopedias and textbooks published before 2005.