On Wednesday, December 28, 2005, a kitten was born in Redmond, Oregon. What made this one different than any other was its appearance. It was born with a rare medical condition called cyclopia, leaving it with just one eye and no nose. Although it survived for only one day, it quickly became a famous kitten who was given the name “Cy,” short for Cyclopes.
On January 6, 2006, this photo of Cy was released. After it was shared on various websites, many viewers believed the image was a hoax. With Cy’s eye wide-open, many thought it was photoshopped.
How could a one-day-old kitten already have its eye opened? Cats are usually born with their eyes shut for the first week or two of their lives. The reason is because in cyclopia cases, the eyelids are generally absent.
Many sites around the Web wrote about the one-eyed kitten, including Yahoo News, where Cy was a top story for an entire week.
CY was a female kitten who’s owner was Traci Allen. She stayed up all night long caring for Cy as she fed her liquid formula through a syringe. She continued to take care of her the next day until she died that evening. After Cy died, Allen immediately placed her in the freezer.
How The Associated Press Proved The Image Was Not A Hoax
Thanks to The Associated Press, the image was proven to be genuine. AP regional photo editor Tom Stathis said he took extensive steps to confirm that Cy was not a hoax.
After viewing the images from Allen’s memory card, Stathis concluded that fabricating them in sequence and in the camera’s original picture format, from the varying perspectives, would have been virtually impossible.
To prove Cy was a real cat, a photographer from the Associated Press took her to a veterinarian for inspection. Karen Laidley, DVM, declared the deceased animal was a real cat.
The vet also declared that the body had not been tampered with and was in its natural newborn state. According to Laidley, cylopia affected other elements of the brain and tissue that led to Cy’s eventual death.
Never-Before Seen Photos Of Cy Alive
These pictures were taken by Traci Allen when Cy was alive. They were never released on the Internet until now. Each were seen by The Associated Press when they requested Allen’s memory card. Cy was one of two in the litter. Tubby was Cy’s normal and healthy sibling.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Offers Allen $500
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! were the first to show interest in purchasing Cy. Surprisingly, they offered her just $500.
CY Finds A New Home
Although Allen turned down Ripley’s Believe it or Not! offer of $500 for Cy, she was happy to sell her remains to museum owner John Adolfi, of Granby, New York.
Adolfi said the kitten was meant to launch another debate about how science and religion intersect. He wanted to use Cy as an example of negative mutation that he believed would prove that mutation could never have fueled a positive concept like evolution of the species.
Allen said she liked Adolfi’s religious reasons for wanting to purchase Cy. “We didn’t want Cy becoming a joke or part of a personal collection,” Traci Allen said. “But John was so heartfelt, you could tell he was genuine and sincere.”
Allen also said one thing’s for certain: “I’m not going to put it on eBay.”
On March 13, 2006, Cy arrived at John Adolfi’s door
It didn’t take long for popular media outlets to share the story of John’s new famous cat, and his plan to put Cy on display in his new museum. For several years, Cy was displayed in a glass jar at the Lost World Museum.
The Embalming Process
In order to preserve Cy’s remains, Adolfi’ took her to Krueger Funeral Home in Mattydale, NY.
Cy Is Listed For Sale On eBay
After owning the famous one-eyed kitten for several years, John Adolfi decided it was time for her to find a new home. Cy was listed on eBay.
When I first came across the eBay listing, I was skeptical on whether this was the real Cy I had read about over a decade earlier. In November, 2018, I contacted Adolfi myself. After explaining to me exactly how and why he obtained Cy, Adolfi said, “The story went viral. It was amazing!”
I really wanted Cy to be a part of my collection of oddities. I went ahead and contacted Adolfi again to make the purchase. A few days after Thanksgiving, Cy arrived at my door.
How Much Did Adolfi Pay For The One-Eyed Kitten?
Though Adolfi never revealed how much he payed for Cy, he told me he payed $5,000.
What Is Cyclopia?
Cyclopia (also called cyclocephaly or synophthalmia) is a rare birth defect that causes the eye to be centrally placed where the root of the nose is normally located. Cases of cyclopia generally include missing eyelids, and a nose that is absent or in the form of a tubular appendage located above the single eye.
The abnormality results from a rare form of holoprosencephaly, which is a failure of the embryonic forebrain to develop properly into two hemispheres.
Though cyclopia is an extremely rare birth defect, it has been observed and documented in a variety of species (e.g., a piglet, goat and even a shark), including humans.
3 Other Notable Cases Of Cyclopia In Kittens
Cleyed the Cyclops
Nearly seven years after the birth of Cy, another cyclops kitten was born. On October 10, 2012, Cleyed the Cyclops was born with no developed nose, and an eye located in the center of the forehead. Sadly, the kitten survived for only a short time.
Two Bizarre Submissions To Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
In 2016, an image of stillborn cycloptic kitten was submitted to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. It was part of a litter of 6.
Just six days after receiving a submission of a stillborn with cylopia, they got a second submission of another cat with cyclopia. It had one large eye in the center of its head, no developed nose and a severe underbite. The kitty only lived a few hours.
Read the full story on Ripley’s.com.
For an article on humans with abnormalities, visit our post titled: “10 Deformed People (Shocking Images & Footage).”
What She Looks Like Today
The story of Cy continues…. After having 2 different homes over the last 13 years, my home will be her final resting place. I plan to keep Cy as a special part of my oddities collection for the rest of my life. When I pass away, my children with take care of her.
One thing’s for certain:— she is in good hands.