Love should be unconditional. It shouldn’t be based on how someone looks or whether or not the rest of us are pleased by their outward appearance. While we understand that we shouldn’t judge people by their appearances, we don’t always extend that same kindness to animals. Many of us feel sympathy for animals with a cute appearance, but will naturally recoil from animals with deformities or diseases.
A cat named Valentino was as ugly as ugly could be. When he was rescued from the street, he had just about every physical defect imaginable. He was bone thin, covered in mange and suffering from a terrible eye infection. Even the most compassionate of us might have been compelled to stay away from Valentino, since we humans have a natural instinct to distance ourselves from the disease.
However, Valentino was lonely. His rescuers could sense his loneliness. Perhaps he’d been found as a dirty street cat, but there was a cuddly pet inside just waiting to be embraced.
Valentino was taken to a city animal shelter after being rescued from the street. Shortly after, a kind volunteer named Elaine Seamans showed up. As Elaine was passing by Valentino’s cage, the ugly cat that no one wanted stuck his paw out between the bars and reached for her, the gesture accompanied by a tiny meow.
While others might have been too put off by his rough appearance, Elaine felt a deep sadness for the little cat’s plight. She opened his cage and picked him up, taking the cat that no one else wanted into her arms.
She wasn’t wearing latex gloves or protective equipment, but Elaine was too moved by what she felt when she saw beyond Valentino’s appearance to continue to let him sit in solitude. Valentino might have looked like a feral creature, but he melted into Elaine’s arms just like a pussycat. He leaned his head against her shoulder and purred. All along, all he wanted was to be loved. “I had to get him out,” Elaine recalled.
Thankfully, Elaine has friends in high places. Her friend Toby runs Leave No Paws Behind, a no-kill shelter that was happy to take a chance on Valentino. Today, the sweet kitty has received the medical care he so desperately needed.
Now he’s indistinguishable from that ugly cat he once was and is quite the handsome little gentleman. Pass this story along to anyone who might need some cheering up today.