A little boy in Oklahoma who has two differently colored eyes and a cleft lip now has a cat that looks just like him.
Madden Humphreys has a cleft lip and heterochromia iridum, a condition that makes the iris of one eye a different color than the iris of the other eye. His mom, Christina, belongs to an online cleft lip moms group, and one of the moms in the group posted a photo of a cat that had a cleft lip and the exact same green and blue eyes as Madden.
“This kitty was taken in by a rescue group in Minnesota,” Christina told the website Love What Matters. “We knew immediately that this kitty was meant to be part of our family. Not only does he have a cleft lip like our 7-year-old son Madden, he also has complete heterochromia iridum, like Madden. They were destined to be best friends.” Christina and her family drove from Oklahoma to Minnesota to adopt the cat, who they named Moon.
We had a mini photo shoot in our living room this morning. Moon is proving to be the sweetest kitty, ever. He’s a little nervous as he’s adapting to a new place, but he’s so affectionate, and he LOVES Madden. He’ll come right up, and snuggle in his lap! #nofilter #unedited #1in700 #cleftstrong #heterochromia #maddenandmoon
A post shared by @ maddenandmoon on Mar 26, 2018 at 3:18pm PDT
“We’re usually not spontaneous people, but we knew that we were meant to love this kitty,” Christina continued. “Moon, the kitty, and Madden are the perfect companions for each other. In a word full of bullies and hateful words, we will choose to chase love. I think it’s safe to say that this kitty is love, and was certainly meant to be part of our journey and Madden’s journey.”
Christina says that she’s “stunned” at how it all played out, and she believes that fate brought her son and the cat together. “There’s no other explanation,” she says.
Christina also says that she hopes Moon will help Madden realize that “being born unique is an incredible thing; that he is magic. These two handsome guys truly are a wonder.”
Christina and her family have also created the Instagram account @MaddenandMoon, which features sweet photos of the new friends.
Madden seems thrilled with his new pal — and with good reason. Not only is the cat adorable, but children often tend to view animals more as kindred spirits than adults do, licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Having an animal with the same unique characteristics can give a child comfort and show that she is not alone, he says.
Obviously this is a unique situation, and not every parent can find an animal with the same distinct features or mannerisms as their child. But if your child has a physical characteristic or health condition that makes him stand out, it’s important to stress that it’s normal for everyone to be a little different, Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Don’t deny that there’s a difference, but it doesn’t have to be framed negatively,” she says.
That can mean telling your child that it’s cool to not look or act like everyone else, or that her difference is part of what makes her special. You can also alter a doll or toy to look like your child (for example, coloring in the eyes to match) or, if you come across interesting stories of other people with your child’s health condition or physical traits, share the stories with her. “You can just say, ‘Look what I found! This is so cool!” Mendez says.
While it’s important to teach your child to celebrate his differences, you also don’t want him to feel defined by them. “It’s important to stress that this difference is just one aspect of you,” Mendez says. “Difference can still be normalized.”
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