By Charles Wade-Palmer
A white cat born with bright blue eyes and no ears looks just his favourite toy seal.
Molly Lichtenwalner, 23, set her heart on adopting a special needs pet and when she found Otitis who has gone on to become an internet sensation, it was love at first sight.
Molly could not believe her eyes when out shopping she spotted a blue-eyed cuddly baby seal toy and had no hesitation in bringing it home for Otitis to play with.
Molly said: “I bought it a couple months after I adopted him. At this point, people were telling me that he looked like a seal, and as I was walking in the mall, I saw the toy in the window.
“I immediately thought of Otitis because not only was it a white seal, but it had the blue eyes. I had to buy it once I saw it because it just reminded me so much of my precious fur baby.”
Molly has registered loveable Otitis who bears an uncanny resemblance to a toy seal as her Emotional Support Animal.
The student reading speech-language pathology in Lancaster, Pennsylvania says cuddles with Otitis has improved her health dramatically.
Molly said: “He loves people and the more people he has for snuggles the better! Nothing is better at the end of the day than coming home to snuggles and unconditional love from Otitis.
“If he had his way, his humans would lay in bed with him all day and just give him love and attention.
“I grew up on a farm with many cats and none of them were ever as snuggly and friendly as Otitis.
“A few years ago, I was in a pretty bad car accident and suffered from anxiety as a result.
“Growing up on a farm, I was always surrounded by animals, and after my accident, I realised just how much animals help me and my mental health.
“I am happy to say that we are both so much happier, and he is even my registered Emotional Support Animal.
“He is doing such a great job that I was even discharged from my doctors because his care is so good! Nothing like animal love!”
Until Molly saw earless Otitis up for adoption online no one had shown any interest in him but now he has fans around the world and will star in a children’s book.
When Molly created @theadventuresofotitis to share photos of her cat with friends and family she had no idea he would become such an Instagram star.
Molly said: “I have been blown away by the response to him online. I thought that his followers would only ever be my friends and family and my friends’ families.
“I always knew that when I was ready for a pet, I was going to adopt a special needs animal. I had lots of experience with animals on the farm and I wanted to give a pet a home that would often be turned away or left in shelters for a long time.
“I inquired about him and found out that others asked about him and his history, but never put in an application to adopt him – I was the first.
“I submitted my application, met him, and brought him home right away and it was the best decision I have ever made.
“In 2016, I finally felt stable enough to care for an animal, so I went on PetFinder and there he was. I immediately knew that I needed to adopt him.
“He immediately approaches new people and gives them lots of head butts and snuggles. He sleeps with us every night and has his own spot in the bed between the pillows.
“My main goal was to spread awareness for special needs animals. I wanted people to see how great special needs animals are because often times they hear the words ‘special needs’ and immediately get turned away.
“They are amazing animals and deserve every chance at a home.
“It has been an amazing experience, and because of his incredible fan base, we were able to raise a successful Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming children’s book.
“I only hope that we have inspired others to consider and adopt other special needs fur babies.”