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  • Mom, PhD

Chewy: Athena the Cat

I had the pleasure of working with animal rescuer Rachel Roszkowski for this article for Chewy's blog, Pet Central. Thanks for sharing your story, Rachel! Here's the tagline: "When Rachel discovered a blind, stray cat on a Sandals Resort, her honeymoon quickly became a cat rescue mission."


"Rachel decided to name the tabby Athena, investing in her the attributes of the Greek goddess of war and wisdom. She and John traveled two hours north to Montego Bay to find a vet willing to treat Athena. There, Rachel says they discovered that the cat had a condition called eyelid agenesis, meaning she was born without eyelids, and that she had clearly never been treated: one eye was shriveled in the back of her head and the other was in poor health. She was a completely blind cat. And then another devastating health blow: Athena tested positive for FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus, the feline equivalent to HIV."

"Transitioning from tropical Jamaica to urban Chicago was going to be a shock. Rachel says she prepared by designing an ad hoc tropical haven in her bathroom to mimic Jamaica’s climate. She bought sand and put it in a sandbox, creating a mini beach where Athena could rest. She ran the shower regularly to maintain a humid climate. She says she even considered buying some fake palm trees to complete the space. These creature comforts were crucial for Athena because within a week of arriving in her new home, she underwent an operation to have her one eye removed."

Many thanks to Ciara Lavelle and Jamie Cuccinelli at


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