Darling Truffles the Glasses-Wearing Cat Helps Kids Not Be Afraid to Look Different
Danielle Crull first spotted a spunky and playful tiny tuxedo kitten wandering behind some buildings at a church camp. Nestled deep in a forest, the camp had numerous stray cats, including many pregnant ones. This little kitty was a stray offspring.
"The church camp is great about finding homes for the kittens, and all of Truffle's brothers and sisters had homes but her," Crull tells Daily Paws. Only 3 months old and likely part Maine Coon (there are a lot of this breed in this area, apparently), Crull loved her personality and knew she had to bring her home.
From the start, Truffles seemed interested in learning new things. Crull says she was quite smart and totally in love with treats, so she started training her to do tricks.
Crull, ABOM, is a master optician and owner of A Child's Eyes in Mechanicsburg, Pa. When Truffles was about 6 months old, Crull tried putting her in glasses—not that she needed them. She says she had the crazy idea that maybe Truffles would be her assistant to help children feel more comfortable wearing glasses, eye patches, and other corrective eyewear.
"So I went about fitting her with glasses like I would any child in my office. I got the proper size, then adjusted and customized them until they seemed comfortable," she says. "Turns out this was acceptable to her!"
At first, Crull made some teaching videos with Truffles, such as how kids could take care of their glasses. And the bespectacled kitty was quite a hit with her officemates. But when a 3-year-old girl was shy about putting on her glasses, Crull says Truffles assumed a new role: glasses fashion model. Once Truffles had her glasses on, the young client couldn't wait to put hers on, too!
Surprised at how quickly the little one was comforted, Crull says Truffles is now her secret weapon to put children at ease. "If the child is crying, they always stop and usually let out a little giggle, too. The kids love that Truffles has a pair of glasses just like their glasses," she says. "Once the kids are comfortable, it makes it so much easier to talk with the parents about their child's visual needs."
Truffles lets kids know they're not alone taking on these new changes, and judging by her fan mail, they're really attached to this special kitty—some even make up songs about her! "I think kids relate to her because she's small just like them, and cats don't have an agenda: they just want to be friends," Crull says. "She has friends with glasses, friends with eye patches, and friends with both." When one youngster found out that Truffles was raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, she even went so far as to start a lemonade stand and donate some of the profits to Truffle's efforts.
RELATED: Amid Pandemic, Henry Wee Wheels is a Confidant for Kids
Parents love the relationship, too, because Crull says when their children watch Truffle's videos and decide to wear their eye patches or other corrective options, she knows what a difference it will make in their vision.
Watch as Truffles decides on her style for the day!
Crull firmly believes that none of this would be possible without the trust she and her patient kitty have. "Cats are not just pets. They really have a purpose, and it's such a joy to see Truffles fulfill hers," she says. "I had no idea when I brought her home what a treasure she would be. I'm just so happy that she can reach the hearts of kids all over. Her message has always been love, acceptance ... and fashionable eyewear!"