Adopter sees underdog kitten as a champ

Kelly Burkhart holding Trinna the black kitten in front of a yellow wall
Trinna arrived at Best Friends with a painful eye condition called entropion, but Kelly looked past that and adopted her.
By Tracy Blowers

Don’t you just love an underdog story or, in this case, an “underkitten” story? When Trinna and her three siblings arrived at Best Friends in Northwest Arkansas from a shelter at the height of kitten season, she certainly had her share of challenges.

Not only did she have entropion, a condition that causes her eyelids to grow inward, but she’d also been exposed to ringworm, which meant she would have to be quarantined for two weeks to avoid any possible spread to fellow felines and people.

[Cat Ringworm: Diagnosis and Treatment]

Let’s just say two weeks of alone time isn’t exactly this kitten's cup of catnip tea. “She is a social kitten, so it was not fun for her,” says Sarah Lorenzen, medical coordinator who notes that Trinna will eventually need surgery when she’s old enough.

Once Trinna’s quarantine was up, she couldn’t wait to go to the kitten room. She especially enjoyed playing with the jingle balls and climbing the towers. “Trinna loved people and romping with the other kittens,” says Sarah. “Even after her vet visit and all the drops and ointment for her eye, she never shied away from people.”

While Trinna seemed content at the lifesaving center and got along well with the other kittens, the team hoped she’d soon find a person or family that saw what a sweet and fun-loving cat she is, despite her medical challenges. As luck would have it, that person was on his way.

Looking beyond a kitten’s eye challenges

Kelly Burkhart came to the lifesaving center looking for a kitten to adopt, and he picked one who really needed a friend (or perhaps it was Trinna who picked him). Visiting the kitten room, he wanted to see which one was most interested in him. At first, Trinna stayed back, waiting patiently, and didn’t come right up to him. “But then, after all the other kitties left me alone, Trinna walked up and was the most loving out of all of them,” says Kelly.

Even though Kelly knew full well that Trinna’s needs were greater than many of the kittens available, he chose her. From the moment he met her, he was devoted to doing whatever she needed.

Play, rest, repeat

Trinna is settling in great and thriving in her new home. “She is spunky and full of life and has grown so much,” says Kelly. Fortuitously, there’s even another cat named Kittie around to play and romp with whenever she wants, and her favorite activity is playing hide-and-seek and wrestling with her new sister.

Trinna even uses her black fur to her advantage by hiding in dark spaces where Kittie can’t see her. Then she’ll jump out and tackle her. They play together, and then they jump on Kelly’s lap to take a nap.

[Tiny but mighty: a kitten’s journey]

Kelly has made sure that his brand-new family member has her favorite things. He has a seven-foot tower that satisfies her love of climbing and napping on the top level. Moreover, she is positively obsessed with mealtime. He has an automatic feeder, and even when Trinna is in a deep sleep on top of the tower, the second she hears the feeder, she sprints to the dish as if she was never asleep. “She is just a positive little nugget, and I’m so glad she found her perfect home,” says  Sarah.

Trinna will have eye surgery to correct her entropion soon, but until then, Kelly will keep her comfortable with prescription eye drops. The duo works together as a team at eye drop time, with Trinna lying down while Kelly administering the medicine.

You could say that Kelly is Trinna’s superhero and that Trinna is the underdog kitten who won.

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